Sunday, July 22, 2012

1 week until Kamloops!

1 week today is my 4th race of the year! Just shy of 2 months ago, I, somewhat on a whim, registered for the half marathon race that's part of the inaugural Kamloops Marathon event weekend after meeting some wonderful people from Kamloops via Team In Training. It was one of those serendipitous moments, going for a training run with the group, and meeting someone awesome the same age as me, with very similar running goals, running pace, and who just happened to need a running route for the following day. I needed to do a run of the exact same distance, and so we connected to run together. The rest is history - now we have a race together, one week today. It's going to be real fun!

The Kamloops Marathon is a new race, to benefit the Thompson Rivers University varsity team, the Wolfpack. It is a flat and fast course in a beautiful city in a very hot region of our province. I'm thankful the race will start at 6am to help us beat the heat. But regardless, it's going to be gorgeous and sunny. The race directors are awesome people, who've been working very hard to make this event a success. They also work diligently on a trail running series in the BC Interior and they've done a great job adding on this new challenge to their plate. The race finisher medals are really beautiful, there are weekly prize draws, and it sounds like the entire event weekend will have lots going on with a 5K and 10K on the Saturday, and a marathon and half the following day - Sunday. I've only briefly visited Kamloops a couple of times, so this will be a great way to see the city and visit with a new friend. In addition to that, I'm going to spend the Saturday there representing Team In Training at the community BBQ and running expo where we'll have a booth. It's going to be so much fun!

I'm not sure what kind of time we'll be running for. I've not "tapered" at all or worked on speed much since the half marathon last month; my focus has been on improving overall fitness and getting into higher weekly mileage in my build-up to the next marathon. So if anything, I've been working harder than race effort leading up to the race. I'm kind of tired yet feeling great at the same time! I'm sure the excitement of the race atmosphere and running with a friend will make for a great race experience, regardless of finish time.

Since my last posts about my conscious effort to get stronger and less prone to injury, I've gone to see a personal trainer at the Steve Nash Fitness World in North Vancouver. Thursday was my first session, which was mainly for assessment purposes and for my trainer to get a better idea of what my current wants and needs are. That didn't stop her from working me hard though, man oh man, did I feel the burn, in a very positive way. She wanted to see how far I could go, and so over time I'll be able to track my progress by seeing how much further I can go. In the meantime, she's designing a catered strength training program for me that I can work on independently, incorporating at least 2 days a week at the gym in addition to my outdoor running. I'll be learning the program starting tomorrow at my next session. I'm excited at how this will help me be stronger, fitter, faster, able to hold better posture, be even more confident, and capable of reaching my fitness goals. Stay tuned for updates!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A special interview with Tanja!

I'm excited to announce that I have another interview to share! Like Monica, my good friend, Tanja, recently ran her first ever half marathon at the recent Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. We ran into each other very soon after her quick arrival at the finish line. She was absolutely glowing - I've never seen such an amazing smile on her face and it's a smile I'll never forget. It was a beautiful reminder to me of why I love running.

So make yourself comfy and enjoy another great read! Here is the lovely Tanja!
Tanja and I with our race bling!
ZJ: Again, HUGE congrats on the awesome race! You set a goal, you achieved it, and kicked butt! For me it's so nice to witness - another reminder of why I love running, and how it can transform. Seeing your giant smile reminds me how good running makes me feel, but more so, how achieving a goal makes me feel. There are times when training is hard, I'm too tired to lace up, and contemplate making excuses to not work out...being reminded of how positive running can be (or sport in general!) is something we can all use. Including me! No matter how much a running nerd (or "runnerd") I am, there are still days when I need a reminder. :-) I think my readers would appreciate a fresh story - one not about me,  but about someone I care about - YOU!

TB: Congrats to you on your run too! You looked AMAZING! It was hilarious how much I hated running when I started - the first 6 weeks sucked. But once I got to the last 3 months, I loved it. The high you get at the end of a run is tremendous ... I have a hunch that you know what I mean.

ZJ: Oh I sure do! No other workout gives you the same feeling! So tell me about your running or general activity level before you decided to train for a half marathon.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Excited for change!

In my most recent blog post, I spoke about two different experts that I have consulted recently. First of which were the Peak Centre for Human Performance. About 10 days ago, I went in for my fitness assessment, and yesterday I spent an hour with a sports physiologist, Lewis, who explained everything to me very clearly. Essentially, I'm doing a lot of things right in my training, but I've been making the same mistakes that about 75% of runners make. If I keep it up, I'll plateau in my fitness for running, rather than improve. We went over my training plans for the upcoming marathon. At my current level of fitness, I'd be able to finish a marathon in 4:23. With some tweaks to my training plans, setting a goal of 4:15 is very realistic. I couldn't be more excited to try out these changes and reap the rewards. And thanks to the folks at the Peak Centre, I now understand the science behind it. What's great about the assessments is that it's not someone giving me generic training insight, but it's specific training advice based on my specific body, and how it functions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This blog post is neither here nor there

Unlike posts of the past, this one has no real topic. I have just realized it's been a while since my last post. I have much to say, it's just not focused into a neat little package like usual. So please excuse the lack of focus, and my lack of topic.  Despite how "positively" I've described my post, I hope you still read it :-) I will be giving hints at some of my upcoming blog post topics so do read on!

Since the recent race, I took a few days rest and then jumped right back into training. It has been going well. It had been going well. I am not sure how I should phrase it (ie., what verb tense), but I'll get into why in a second. I have my next race coming up in just under 3 weeks, the Kamloops Half Marathon and I'm super excited. Then on top of that my next marathon is in October. While that's a while away, I'm anxious to build my mileage up slowly so that my bigger training runs get done comfortably. So yes, I jumped back into training, and all went well.