Category Archives: Blog Posts

Week Two: Run 3

21.8km – 1:55:25
Crisp morning run along the lake. My longest run ever. Had to push past 21k to give myself a new distance record. When I first started this journey I was breaking PR’s weekly, I miss that feeling.

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Taper Week 1

8.3km – 45:00
Good run on the mill!

Taper Time!

I had one more long run of 20k planned for this morning. We’ve been battling the stomach flu for the last 4 days and it’s left me with a slight cold. I also tweaked my groin a little playing hockey last night. So I made the conservative decision to ditch my last run and swing right into my taper for the race. I’m going to keep up my mileage for the next week and then slow down a little to rest up for the race. I’m feeling ready to get a new PB. The weather in Florida has been in the high 20’s and is showing this tread continuing until the race day. That will be 50 degrees warmer than my last long run. Wow!

That’s all I have to say now. I’m going to stay positive and eat well for be next two weeks and then rock a new PB!

Oh ya…I signed up for a couple new races. A half marathon in London on April 27th and a 5k in Goderich on May 11th that I’m running with Megan. I’m excited to see her get back into running!

Keep on moving,

JA

Strong finish?

Good Morning,
I woke up very early this morning to a sick little boy.  The Flu has struck our house.  Everyone is doing ok but now its time to see if our healthy eating and flu shots can keep it at bay.  With only two weeks to my race, its not the best timing to come down with a sickness but I guess its better then right before we leave for our trip.  I’m always looking on the bright side!

So I’ve worked my way up to a 21k long run and about 40km training weeks.  I’m feeling a few aches and pains but for the most part I’m injury free.  KNOCK KNOCK.  I have one more long run this weekend and then I’ll start to taper for the race.  I’m still going to log 25-30k weeks throughout my taper.  I had a hard time dropping mileage last time around, I felt anxious and shugglish when it came to race day, so I’m going to attempt a different tactic.  More mileage, lower my caloric intake and Carb load 2-3 days out from the race.  That should help with the shugglishness (I don’t think thats a word haha).

I have booked a massage for next week to try to work out some of the tight areas before the run.  I’ve been trying to focus on stretching and even doing a little yoga throughout my program and its really been helping.  Its hard to tell if I’m just in better shape or its the changes that I’ve made this time around, but I’m feeling more flexible and fewer injuries.  I have a DVD called “yoga for runners”  that I’ve done a few times and its taught me some moves that I’ve tried to do daily to keep loose.  I would love to be able to get up early and do some stretching and yoga before my day starts but unfortunately thats not really in the cards right now.  My early work schedule and squeezing in runs before the family wakes up takes priority over stretching! I have made it a rule to sit on the floor instead of the couch at night when watching TV.  It reminds me to stretch and keeps me moving a little because its not very comfortable.

I’m off to take care of my sick little man and try to get a run or maybe a cycle in this afternoon.

Keep on moving,

JA

Crunch Time

I’m all healed up from getting four wisdom teeth yanked from my mouth. That wasn’t a very fun experience but I’m glad it’s over. I went for a slow run last night and it was the first time I’ve ran in 10 days. I felt pretty flat and slow but that’s to be expected. I have 3 more long runs to complete in the next two weeks and then taper time for the Marco Island run. I’m pumped for this next race.
I really need to bare down and focus on clean eating before this race. It’s been difficult over the last few weeks with my teeth coming out. I need to starting eating more greens and less carbs for the next month to get down to my race weight. This will help with recovery and preparation for the run. Eating a vegetarian diet makes it’s easier to recover and helps maintain a good weight muscle balance. That’s something I never really thought about throughout my life. When training for running, you need to be aware of your muscle mass. It’s a proven fact that the lighter you are the faster you can move yourself. I read once that for every pound you lose, you will cut 3-5 seconds per kilometre.
I have 11 runs in the next 13 days.
I’m excited and hope the weather cooperates for me!

Keep on moving,
JA

Long time no see…

Its been a while since I’ve had a chance to sit down and blog.  Our lives have been pretty chaotic with a newborn and two year old ravishing the house.  Things are starting to get under control though.  It took a little while to get everyone in a routine and the family running in sync again.  My running has been less than stellar over the last few weeks.  I have missed lots of runs either because I just couldn’t get away for a run or the weather was so nasty and cold that I didn’t want to venture out into the wild.  Starting this week I plan to bare down for the last five weeks and push my training to where it needs to be for a successful run in Florida.

I have a few problem areas that I’m working on right now.  I hate calling them injuries because thats not really what they are.  My right foot has developed a pain under the ball of my big toe.  We had a family doctors appointment for the newest addition to our household which I high-jacked to asked the doctor a few questions about my foot.  He sent me for X-rays but I still haven’t heard anything back on them.  Its not bothering me enough to effect my running but I’d like to get it checked out now incase the prognosis is to take some time off.  If I wait until closer to my run it might effect my training and thats a bummer.  I also made an appointment with a foot specialist to have them analysis my foot and stride to see if Orthotics could remedy the problem.  I think I might be worrying too much about it but I’ve always tried to listen to my body and correct things before they blossom into real “Injuries”.

Overall I’ve been feeling good this time around.  It’s been difficult to get out due to the snow and lack of cleared sidewalks.  I’ve talked to so many people that say how much they love running in the winter.  I agree its nice to be cooler on tough runs but I think I’d take the odd hot afternoon run over blowing snow and freezing cold temperatures EVERY run.  Its starting to wear on me a little and makes it difficult to motivate myself.  I long for the calm summer morning that I can head out before the sun comes up and then watch a beautiful sunrise on the horizon.  The sounds of the waves hitting the sand and the seagulls squawking at me as I run towards them.  The feeling of the warm southern breeze rolling off the lake to cool me down.  I live in the perfect climate to run in the summer.  But I cannot say the same for the cold grey days of winter in Bruce County.

Only 47 days until Florida.

Keep on moving,

JA

Welcome baby Callan

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I broke my golden rule  yesterday, I skipped a long run!  BUT for great reason, we welcomed a healthy baby boy into the world.  Callan David was born yesterday weighing 8 lbs 2 oz and happy and healthy!  Megan was absolutely amazing. It amazes me how much strength and courage she pulls together in the midst of so much pain and uncertainty.

I was in charge of fuelling and coaching for this baby.  For our first baby, we had a rough go in the hospital.  We had to stay for 4 nights because of some minor issues and by the last day we were all a wreck.  Lack of sleep, poor nutrition, substandard sleeping conditions, and a newborn is not a fun combination.  I blamed a major part of these issues on a poor fuelling strategy.

I would never claim to know what delivering a baby feels like but I equate it to running a race.  You have training, a plan, the event, and recovery.  We had a plan and good training but then, like most races once you get into it, everything you’ve planned for goes out the window.  You need to adapt to what your body is telling you and continuous change your tactics to get to your end goal.  In the end your success is measured on your outcome and not how you got there.  Like a race, you need to have an open mind to change your strategy on the fly.  Callan came fast and furious and we really didn’t have much time to think of anything.

We are so happy to have another little man to love and spoil.

Maybe I’ll slip out of the hospital for that run later today, stay posted.

Keep on moving,

JA

Bring on 2014

Happy New Year!

I’m super pumped for 2014.  A new baby is soon to be here and really looking forward to continuing my new endeavours that I began last year.  I managed to get out for an early morning run today and it was amazing.  This was likely the first time since I was around 16 that I was physically able to exercise after a New Years Eve.  Some might think that I’m getting old and just don’t have anything to do on New Years but this was completely MY doing.  We had a nice quiet night in watching the world ring in the new year.  I loved every minute of it.

2014 means a lot to me.  I made a lot of changes last year but now comes the time that I will make or break them.  The honeymoon is over per say and its time to bare down and carry through on my goals.  I don’t see this being a problem because I’m totally in love with the new me!  I’ve been writing about some improvements that I want to make next year, so here are the rest of them.

Improvement #5:  BECOME A BETTER VEGETARIAN

This goes right along with eating less processed foods but I wanted to give that one it’s own category.  I’ve been eating vegetarian for over six months now and there are a few things nutritionally that I could improve on.  I want to review my supplements and change to more vegan friendly versions.  I currently take a multivitamin, B12, Omega 3-6-9, and Vitamin D.  I also wake up to a Vega One shake and supplement with Vega Sport Protein after runs and workouts.  I was taking the vitamins prior to eating vegetarian so I’m sure I get many of these vitamins and minerals from the increased vegetables that go along with the new diet.  I have always believed that covering all my bases with supplements was wise but I’v been doing some research that suggests it could be causing more work for my body to get rid of the excess.  I’m planning on focusing on my diet and then slowly taking away some of the supplements and see how I react to it.

Improvement #6:  BE MORE POSITIVE EVERYDAY

This one is pretty self explanatory.  I’m a good tempered positive person by nature but there’s times that I dwell on the negative.  I’m going to work on staying positive!!

Improvement #7:  MORE TEA AND LESS COFFEE

Megan and I have started drinking tea in the afternoons that we are off together!  She bought me a tea cup and some tea’s from David’s Tea and I’m hooked.  I like the variety and the fact that I can get some health benefits and a warm cup of goodness without having to over-caffeinate myself to death.  Since I gave up alcohol, I find my go to drink at restaurants is coffee and some days I drink 4-5 cups and find it hard on my system.  From this day forward I’m a Tea drinker (I’ll still having a morning coffee to get the blood flowing though).

Improvement #8: READ 3 BOOKS

I’ve never been a reader.  In high school, I listened to books on tape to write book reports for english…haha.  Last year I picked up a few books about running but didn’t really get into them.  I want to take up reading both for enlightenment and relaxation.  Last night, I ordered two new books to get started on; Chris Hadfields new book and Eat & Run by Scott Jurek. Wish me luck with this one!

So to recap here is my list of improvements in its entirety:

1. Eat less processed foods
2. 10K race in 40mins
3. Half race in 1:35
4. Complete a marathon
5. Become a better vegetarian
6. Be more positive
7. Drink Tea
8. Read 3 books

Now that I have all these fancy improvements written down its time to get down to business.  The key to having a successful year is just to keep on improving, whether its in your work, family life and sporting events, just keep getting better!  And thats my ultimate goal for 2014!

Keep on moving,

JA

Happy Boxing Day!

I didn’t get a chance to blog on Christmas day because I was hard at work instead of enjoying St. Nick.  We had a great christmas and got spoiled as usual.  I managed to get two runs in over the last two days on the treadmill.  I kind of re-kindled my relationship with it.  I tried a couple of very specific workouts and listened to music which took away the painful monotony I usually suffer from on the mill.  I’ve been thinking more and more about speed vs distance and what kind of running I’m interested in.  When I started running I was keen on running a full marathon.  I’ve come to realize that you need to focus your training on a specific aspect in order to be successful at both.  I still want it all speed and distance, so I’m going for it.  haha  This leads me into my improvements for next year that I started last post…

Improvement #2:  RUN A 10K IN 40 MINUTES

Last year I ran four 10K races as sort of a warm up for my half marathon.  The first race was Huntsville and I was solely focused on finishing the race in one piece.  I didn’t really have a race strategy or know much about fuelling or pacing.  I ran three other 10K’s and each one improved my finish time and I learned lots about pacing and race strategy.  My PR is 48:53 which I achieved at the Oasis Zoo run in Toronto.  I plan to run some 10k’s throughout my training for the longer distances.  I really like the distance because its long enough that you need to fuel and pace or you’ll crash and burn but short enough that you can push yourself to the end if you crash early.  I need to focus on speed work more this year.  It hurts but its worth it!

Improvement #3:  RUN A HALF MARATHON IN 1:35

I’m planning on running three half marathons next year.  The first one being in Marco Island Florida in March.  I haven’t decided on the next two races yet, but I’m throwing around the idea of one out west but with a new baby on the way, its all up in the air now.  I’d like to have at least two months in between each run in order to recover and peak properly for the races.  Its important to build on your training in between each race but there’s a fine balance between rest and training.  After my half in October, I took two weeks off running and than another two weeks of “fun” runs before starting another program and it seemed to work well.  I had a few pressing injuries that healed up nicely after rest and stretching.  I ran the Scotiabank half in 1:47:40.  I feel like a pushed myself to the limit in the race.  I was starting to get some leg muscle issues in the last km or two and had to really bare down to finish.  I thought during the race that I started too slow but its really tough to tell as I finished strong but completely out of gas.  Cutting 13 minutes from my time is daunting but I’m up for the challenge.

Improvement #4:  COMPLETE A FULL MARATHON

I’m still not convinced that I have what it takes to run a Full marathon.  It’s one of those things that I believe anyone can complete if they run slow enough.  But I don’t have that slow pace in my blood.  If I’m going to run it I’m going to run it my absolute best.  I’m planning to Run the Toronto Scotiabank Marathon in October.  Although, I did put my name in the NYC marathon lottery, so if I’m successful at that we will be off to NYC in the fall.  I’m planning to start training in July and run my third half marathon in the middle of the program.

2014 is going to be a wild ride.  A new baby and lots of running….I’m super excited and maybe a little nervous!

Keep on moving,

JA

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Continuous improvement in 2014

As the year comes to an end, I’m starting to reflect on the past year and plan for 2014.  I feel like 2013 was a big year for me.  I made a few changes that are going to impact the rest of my life.  I took up running and as a result dropped about 25 lbs.  I started eating vegetarian.  I quit drinking and smoking.  Directed my focus on whats important in my life: my family.  Most imprortantly I have changed the way I think about life.  I used to believe that life was something that I was a part of and I was just along for the ride.  Over the last 6 months, I’ve realized that its way more than that.  That I can be or do anything I want.  That the people around me need to be embraced and are not just scenery.  I’ve made a vow to myself for continuous improvement and to never let myself get stagnant again.

I decided to do a series of posts about my goals for next year.  Here goes…

Improvement # 1  EAT LESS PROCESSED FOOD

As I said above, I started eating vegetarian on July 1, 2013.  At first it was part of my training plan for the Scotiabank Half last fall, but I decided to stick with it.  Its makes me feel soo much better, it was easier than I thought it would be and its made training and recovery better.  I like the concept of not eating animals, but it isn’t the main reason I’m eating vegetarian.  At first it was the novelty of it that made it interesting.  After a few months that faded and now its a little more difficult to think of things to eat and cook for the family.  I like to cook for our household, so it was a bit of a shocker when meat was taken off the menu.  Being an athlete you need to consume a lot of calories to fuel your workouts.  Its challenging to ensure you are always getting the right nutrients and have food available to eat when you need it.  I’m starting to get better at it and making sure I plan out my eating in advance.  Next year, I want to focus on eating cleaner and less processed food.  Its easy to just grab something pre-made and eat it on the go.  I’m gonna focus on eating more whole foods and less processed.  Trying to plan out meals and make snacks at home instead of buying snacks on the go.  There is a great web series at http://www.thriveforward.com by Brendan Brazier (An ultra-marathoner and Triathlete from the West Coast).  It discusses the benefits of clean eating and incorporating plant-based nutrition into endurance training.  Check it out!

Wish me luck…this will be a challenge in our busy lives.

Keep on moving,

JA

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