Erin’s STWM training, Days 28-33

The construction near my house is never-ending. Photo by graphicmatt

The construction near my house is never-ending. Photo by graphicmatt

No posts this week! Sorry! It’s officially the fall season at work and there’s so much to do!

Here’s what I did this week, fitness-wise:

Monday: 20 minutes of yoga in my kitchen. I did a hatha flow class and it felt good to give my body a good stretch after the race.

Tuesday: 20 minutes of power yoga in my kitchen in the morning. It was a level 2 class and I found it difficult to follow the instructions for some of the more advanced poses, like Bird’s of Paradise. But it was nice to work up a sweat in 20 minutes. After work, I did an 8k tempo run. It took 45:37, which is pretty fast, but I stopped at a million lights.

Wednesday: Yoga for runners in my kitchen. This training cycle has been all about my quads. They are so tight and sore and I don’t know what’s up.

Thursday: Gentle kitchen yoga in the morning, speedwork after work. I did a 5k pick-up run. This run kicked my ass. My splits were 4:22, 5:15, 5:09, 5:02 and 4:44. The first one seems like a giant lie, though. I don’t know what went on there.

Friday: I did nothing. Unless you count catching a cold as doing something.

Saturday: I did a easy 30 minute run that felt sloggy and slow. I was still stuffed up and headachy from this cold I acquired, but I think the fresh air and exercise helped a bit.

Only the long run left this week!

Sister Act: Erin’s Island Girl half marathon relay


On Sunday morning, I got up early and met Jill at the Toronto Island ferry dock. It was race day!! It was mine and Jill’s second time running the Island Girl Half Marathon Relay. Last year, we ran it in 1:54:55 and came 13th. We had an eye on a top 10 finish this year, but since we’re deep in training, didn’t want to race all-out. Who knew what the day had in store?

It was very, very cold, that’s for sure. Jill ran the first leg and I froze waiting for her. The sun was out for a bit, but once we swapped and I was running, it alternated between being misty and threatening rain and it being sunny and freezing. But you can’t control the weather.

Once we slapped hands, I took off. My first kilometre was fast (4:57), but I knew I couldn’t hold it. I tried to keep my pace between 5:15 and 5:30. After the second kilometre (5:16), my quads felt dead. I’m not sure why, it was an easy week for me, training-wise. Maybe the speed work on Wednesday took more out of me than I thought. At the 20:00 mark, I decided to do 10 and 1s and keep my running pace as close to 5:15 as possible. I felt the breaks would be the only way I could sustain such a quick pace. (Kilometres 3-5: 5:28, 5:44, 5:16).

At the halfway point, I felt exhausted. The race is a loop around the island and at 5k intervals you pass through the crowd. It’s a smart race design if you like cheers, but I can only imagine how boring the complete half must be. I high-fived Jill, powered through the water station and took a quick walking break before hitting the boardwalk. I lost a lot of time n the boardwalk (or so I tell myself). The mist made the wood slippery, so I didn’t want to run all out. Once you’re off the boardwalk, you’re through a few cottages (props to the cottagers who sat in their yard and cheered runners on) and loop back to the finish. (Kilometres 6 & 7: 5:38, 5:17). I felt really good kilometres 8 and 9 (5:51, 5:38) (this makes me think I really am a distance runner if it takes 8k to find my groove) and powered home.

I hit 10k in 54:54, (5:43) a time I’m pleased with, but it meant sub 55:00 for my entire 10.5 was out of reach. Oh well. I ran my part of the race in 1:01:41 last year. 56:32 certainly tops that!

And we came in 10th place! Hurrah for that!

Last year's photo. Shhh, don't tell.

Last year’s photo. Shhh, don’t tell.

Jill’s Marathon Training Week #12

So what was supposed to be a scale back week turned into a “where the hell are we, and how to we get home?!” kind of run. Julie and I completely lost our pace group and took a slight detour on our 23k route… one wrong turn, man. One wrong turn! But on the bright side (I guess) we now know where the Downsview Airport is.

We're so lost! Last spotted running along Downsview Subway station...

We’re so lost! Last spotted running along Downsview Subway station…

While my life during this week was still completely swamped with TIFF things I was (somehow) feeling good about running. Not for the whole entire week sadly. After the disastrous 32k run on Sunday I thought I will never run again. So Monday clearly I didn’t! This was a day off from movie festivities – I did have an event that evening – but I took full advantage of an afternoon off and went straight to Kula to wallow in my running sorrows. Tuesday was an actual full day off from movie things and parties. I met Julie to run a Tuesday evening run with the Running Rats. Some of you may have heard of these guys. Despite what people may say, these runners are fast! Our marathon coaches have always encouraged us to run with this group where a bunch of it’s members are in my clinic. It made sense I suppose. Julie has gone out with the Running Rats a few times now, I suppose I should give it a try. Having routes of different distances allows you to pick how far you want to go. Where is was Tuesday and Tuesday’s are 6k day, Julie and I opted for the 7k route. However, the route wasn’t to our liking… it was hot and humid and TIFF has taken over downtown! So no, running along Wellington to Queen St. W. to wherever in the west end of the entertainment district did not sound fun. In good ‘ol Jill and Julie fashion we made up our own route ran down to the waterfront trail then back to the store for a total of 8k. Yay us!! But little did we know karma would come to bite us in the ass later this week.

Wednesday was a bit of a downer day for me emotionally and being the baby that I felt like this day I didn’t run and I didn’t go to yoga. This did not up the situation. But Thursday I did get up and ran a 12k hilly route! I was beyond proud of myself not only because I did it, but also because I felt great! It rained on me the whole time and I totally didn’t care. Me and my legs were working together and booking it the whole it. It was wonderful. Again maybe a little break from the clinic and the demanding schedule I’m expecting of myself got a little overwhelming. I took some time for myself and practiced Thursday evening and Friday morning. Saturday I ran and practiced! It was a bit of a Color Me Rad / Penelope PR reunion. Jewels was teaching, Tiffany and I practiced, and Myles (hi, Myles!) played the guitar. It was super lovely. Live Music class are the best – look for them on the MYD new schedule. I will learn to teach to music. It will be grand!

Then came Sunday. As I said earlier this week was supposed to be a scale back week, but clearly that did not happen for poor Julie and I. I was a little disappointed when we arrived to clinic to find out the 4:30 did not have a pace leader. So Julie and I decided to go with the 4:15 and drop back if necessary. Well dropping back if necessary would have been nice.

See for yourself. Please tell me this route is not that easy to find your way around! Or is it just me?

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The clinic took off, as usual, on a route through to Cedarvale Park where the Terry Fox Run was taking place. I am totally familiar with this route and love running it, but not during another race! It was crowded and people did not seem impressed with us running in the opposite direction – but quite frankly I wouldn’t have been either – but wherever it was that we finally exited the park, well that’s when I was running on unfamiliar territory. With the 4:15 group still in sight, and the 4:30 gone from us completely Julie and I had a bit of a sense of where we were going. But then we lost them! The 4:15 group completely disappeared from view and we had no idea how! Did they pick up the pace that quickly? Serioulsy?! So Julie and I were left to fend for ourselves, with a tiny map in hand we managed to navigate our way though the industrial parts of very north Toronto to Duffern Street. As we were supposed to. It was there the mist up happened. But let me reiterate, Julie and I were alone! Alone left to fend for ourselves and still super confused as to where the 4:15ers went.

Long story short Duffern Street does eventually end… at Downsview Airport! I know. I’m not entirely sure how Julie and I didn’t realize we were going in the wrong direction sooner, but when you’re running that far north in an area that is not, well, Toronto, I’d say it’s easy to get ridiculously lost! It was Julie’s phone and Google Maps that helped get us home, otherwise we’d probably still be running… I kid you not.

An epic run of this nature called for some serious pancakes and lots of coffee. But perhaps something a little stronger could have aided the situation even more.



Erin’s STWM training, Days 25, 26 & 27

I have no photo and no catchy subtitle today. I am a failure.

On Thursday, I ran 8k. I ran it the morning before work, less than 25 hours after my speedwork. I felt slow and sloggy, but I am pleased with the 52:49 time.

On Friday, I did nothing. I slept in instead. It was delightful.

On Saturday, I was supposed to go for a 45 minute run, but it has rained all day. Since I have a race tomorrow — the Island Girl half-marathon relay — I don’t think forcing myself through 45 minutes of running in the rain is worth it. I went to core yoga in the morning with JK instead. Anything that involved putting my forearms on the ground hurt my shoulder, which was a surprise to me. I tend to sleep with my shoulders all bunched, like balls of stress, but it might not be that. It might be from the time I fell off my bike last winter. Who knows? Bodies are weird.

Island Girl tomorrow. Andie told me to aim for a sub-55:00 finish. Eeeeeek.


Erin’s STWM training, Day 24: faster, faster, faster

On Wednesday night, I had my first real speed workout in what seemed like forever. 10 minute warm-up, 5×1000 (with a goal time of sub-5:00) and a 10 minute cooldown. Thanks to my fancy watch, I decided to skip the track and head to the Don Valley trail — a place I knew I could run entire kilometres without interruptions.

I only kept track of my splits. Running this fast was no fun. I felt like I was pushing myself as hard as I could and was checking my watch every 10 seconds to make sure my pace was sub-5:00. I did it, barely. Here are my splits:

1. 4:56
2. 4:39
3. 4:40
4. 4:42
5. 4:36

But now my coach thinks I’m ready to run my 10.6k leg in sub 55:00 at the Island Girl this weekend. I think she’s crazy.

I finally ordered new shoes: Mizuno Wave Inspire. I’ve never had Mizunos before, but I’ve hear good things. Now that my runner’s knee has disappeared, I’m reluctant to go full-out minimal. I’m keeping the Newtons around for the tempo runs and short runs and will use thee puppies for the longer stuff. That’s what I’ve done for the past month or so and it seems to be working out. I’ll keep it up until my knees (or some other to be determined body part) begins to disagree!


Erin’s STWM training, Days 22 & 23: need more sleep

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After an excellent week of fitness, this week hasn’t started off so hot. Monday was a legit rest day, and I took it happily. I also had a fancy author dinner thing to go to that night (my friend David was one of the authors. His new book is about running. You should read it, it’s adorable), which threw everything off. Note to people: don’t host wine-infused good times on a Monday.

I overslept on Tuesday and missed my morning window to workout. Work was insane and I came home grumpy and exhausted. Doing speed work was out of the question, so I forced myself through a yoga podcast and a pilates podcast before I “helped” Matt steam clean the carpets. (He rented a large machine. It makes a loud noise. But now our carpets look great!)

I didn’t get to bed as early as I wanted to, but what can you do? I just hope I can hit reset on Wednesday. Jill and I have a race on Sunday!




Jill’s Marathon Training Week #11

Another week down, another week that was a fail (seriously, not another week!…). After taking on a new job I knew my life (and my training) would take a back seat, but I didn’t think it would to the point were I’d do nothing. At all! Okay, so this week I did get out for my long run – the longest run of my entire life! But it just didn’t feel complete. It was a tough one emotionally for me to grasp, full of heartache and despair (for reasons other then my lack of running). But good thing I was all kinds of work busy because I didn’t have too much time to dwell on it.

Ya, that smile is totally fake. I wanted to die.

Ya, that smile is totally fake. I wanted to die.

With Monday being a holiday, and failing to run the full 29k for week 10’s long run, I made plans with Jewels (yes, the Jewels from Jewels and the Holi-grams) to meet her for a quick run between her Monday morning classes. From the studio we ran down Bathurst through Fort York along King then to Jewel’s apartment for a grand total of 2.5k. It was just what Jewels wanted to get her going. I then stuck around for her 10am class. It was just what I needed. I spent the rest of my Monday not doing much of anything until going back to the studio to work and practice again. It was a good way to spend the last day of the long weekend.

Then the craziness of TIFF struck which meant little time for running, let alone even think about practicing. My week flew by and before I knew it, it was Thursday. I didn’t run Tuesday or Wednesday, missing a very hilly and very long route (sorry, Julie!). This was not a good thing at all. Somehow (by luck or by chance) my Thursday night was free and I managed to meet the clinic for the 8k familiar route to Cherry Beach and back. Lucky for Julie and I this run actually felt good. Nick, Julie’s boyfriend, joined us this evening (hi, Nick!) and now we’re convinced he’s the reason we ran fast.

Friday and Saturday passed in a blink of an eye – again no running or yoga took place. But knowing Sunday was the day I had to run 32k there was no stopping me from missing this run. Nothing! That was until I woke to a tireless bike. Why people steal I don’t know, but to steal someone’s mode of transportation is beyond me. I felt broke (and still do). With my back tire gone from my bike I wanted to cry. There was nothing I could do. But thankfully Julie said she’d wait for me at the store, I jumped on the streetcar and still made it in time. The run was awful. With my heavy heart weighing me down and the lack of running this week and the week before, my legs were tired. I was slowing down and fading fast. I had cramps in my tummy and felt uncomfortable for the majority of the run. But somehow I pulled myself together and got through it. Julie was a star this day. See her run like a champ kept me from stopping completely. But I did it. I’ve pasted the 30k mark and ran farther then I’ve ever have in my life. That’s something to be proud of, right? Despite the terrible training week. Once TIFF is over and my life is back in order I will stop making up excuses and run! With less then a month to go, what other option to I have?! None really.

Erin’s STWM marathon training, Day 21: To market, to market

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After meeting up and running together to the Brickworks Farmers’ Market, Kendal and I decided to make it a double-header and run to the Leslieville Farmers’ Market together on Sunday. I had 18k on my schedule and Kendal had 10-12k, so I ran the 7k to her house to make up the difference. We ran down to the beach, through Ashbridges Bay Park and over to the market to complete the run.

I’ve only ever run the full Ashbridges Bay Park once before and I forgot how pretty and peaceful it is. Toronto’s parks are like this unending surprise, there’s always more to discover and explore.

I felt strong throughout this entire run, but we did stop three times for some water and some stretching. 18.2k in 1:57:03. It gives me hope sub-2:00 is doable, even though I’m still not 100% these days.

Erin’s STWM training. Days 17-20: Taking it easy

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I’m settling into a routine now: run, yoga, run, yoga, run.

On Wednesday, I did morning yoga.

On Thursday, I ran before work. When I left the house, it was raining, but by the time I was done, It was fine. 4.64km in 30:11.

On Friday, I did morning yoga.

On Saturday, I met my friend Kendal at St. Clair station and we ran the ravine to the Brickworks farmers’ market. It was a perfect fall day, sunny but crisp and cool. We took it easy and finished about 6.5k in 42 minutes. I forgot to turn my Garmin on until after we started running, but I let it slide. Kendal had a watch and kept track. My the end of the run, my calf was tight. I think I need to do more yoga.

That’s always the answer, isn’t it?

Next week, I have a free trial to the gym in my building, so I’m hoping to add some rowing and pilates to the mix. I think I could feel stronger, so I’m going to work on that.



Erin’s STWM training, Days 15 & 16

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On Monday, I did 20-minute yoga in the morning and the evening. I think it’s helping, as overall, I feel less tight and stiff. Here’s hoping this continues. It might even be helping the knees.

On Tuesday, I ran in the morning, in an attempt to avoid the heat, as summer is back in Toronto for a few days. It worked, sort of. It was the sweatiest run I’ve had in a while. It was supposed to be “difficult, but manageable” but when my overall pace came in at 6:15 per kilometre, I was disappointed. I felt as though I was running faster than that.

Was it the humidity? Or am I just getting my hopes up?