Surfs up marathon number 3


Yup, it’s true. After dropping the hint last week it’s time I came out with it – I signed up for my third marathon! But I have to honest I actually made this decision before running the Paris Marathon. I know. Something must have told me Paris wasn’t going to be good, that and I knew deep down way before race day I was going to run another marathon. 2015 seemed like the time to do it and with the right invitation and the right race it didn’t take much to convience me. Julie must have caught me on one of my “low days” either way we are running the Surf City Marathon together on February 1st.

Training abroad came with many highs and lows, but one very low in particular was missing Julie (and Erin too of course). I didn’t have my partner in crime to run horrific Sunday mornings with, or climb Poplar Plains a million and one times, and worst of all I didn’t have my running buddy to run for beers every Thursday evening. When Julie posted she was looking for someone to run the Surf City Marathon with her I jumped all over it. I had too. I wasn’t going to put myself through another marathon training alone.


Oh how I've missed this face.

Oh how I’ve missed this face.

It also seems to me that everyone I know has or is running a second or a third marathon sometime soon. I don’t want to be the only one who’s not. Erin got into New York and ran the Ottawa Marathon. Julie ran the Goodlife full back in May and is running the Berlin Marathon next month. I’m sure Andie is running more races than I can count, and that goes for Alice too. I know for a fact Alice has been very busy. Charlie is running her first official Ironman very, very soon. And that Shannon (my best pal and old roommate) is a mega tri-ATHLETE now! Knowing, seeing and hearing about all the training going on around me is super contagious. If you have a competetive nature just ask what your friends are up to. That should be enough to get you running again. It was for me at least.

I did debate whether or not to run my third marathon this fall – this was back while I was still traveling – it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that August is upon us I’m glad I decided against it. There are a couple of races close to home I do want to run however – Maritime Race Weekend, the Valley Harvest Marathon (I hope Erin and I will run this one together!) and the PEI Marathon to name a few – instead I have a half in October to run and I probably should find a second half to run or another race of some sort before 2015 rolls around. It too will be here before you know it. Ah! I shouldn’t say that!

In the end I realized wanting to squeeze in another marathon because all my friends were doing it was silly of me. Having the Paris experience behind me now my sights are set on running a good race at the Scotiabank half back in my homeland of Toronto. It’ll be nice sticking to something I know I’ll enjoy (and can do) this fall. Then it’s all California after that. Me and Julie and 42k of oceanic views. I honestly can not wait.

This reunion is only a matter of time.

This reunion is only a matter of time.

Ah, California. It’s been calling me back since my one year anniversary of my Yoga Teacher Training. For some reason it came up a lot. Especially on the Camino, but that goes without saying, a lot came up on the Camino. But those trusty arrows ayways pointed in the right direction looks like they were directing me back to the sunshine state.

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Sunday

Sunday is long run day! After sleeping for 12 hours, I felt better, but not amazing. After some mind games (“you can always run in the evening!”) I sucked it up and headed out. I was told to run for 90 minutes, and did the same thing as last week: 15 and 1s, with my running pace between 6:00 and 6:30.

Even though I left at 8:30am, it was too late to beat the heat. It got HOT. I decided to run to the beach, as it was a breezy day and there are lots of fountains along the path there. It was gorgeous at the beach, but the heat really got to me by the end. I ended up going about 1k shorter than I hoped because I was meeting a friend at the Leslieville Farmer’s market at 10:30 and didn’t want to be late.

13k in 1:25:50.

Then I got an ice pop. AMAZING.

I’m always glad to get runs over with. I need to remember that every time I convince myself I can do it later. It’s part of the reason Saturday was a bust. Oh well.

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Saturday

We went to the park today. This photo is not from that day, but it involves a park! And a dinosaur!

Today wasn’t supposed to be a rest day, but it was. I woke up with a vicious headache. By the time it had settled enough to run, it was the middle of the day – and it was hot, hot, hot. I thought I could maybe run in the evening, but headache returned and I became so exhausted that I went to bed at 7:30. I think the 6am wake-ups this week caught up to me.

This means I miss my tempo run this week. It’ll be the first work-out I miss. I hope it’s not the first of many.



NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Friday

Did the 7:15 morning flow class at Yoga Tree again. I felt tired and sluggish, but my whole body felt better after class. I need to keep reminding myself how much I benefit when I do yoga regularly when I’m training for a race. I know it means compromising something else, like strength training, but I really want to get through this training cycle injury-free. Yoga will help me do that.



Finding Adventure in Digby’s Outdoors

Me and the CARP gang! Thank you Stacey for the only picture taken this day.

Me and the CARP gang! Thank you Stacey for the only picture taken this day.

My how time flies (It’s the middle of August already!) We say this all the time and it still shocks us when we look at a calendar or stop to think what day of the week it is, but what exactly are we doing about it? I know I can say nothing really. And that’s no good considering the travel adventure I was just on.

I haven’t been doing much outside of working and the (very) little running I’ve been doing. After last weeks banter about being home and blah blah blah. Enough of that! Come on Jill, Nova Scotia is pretty great and you are failing to see it! So that was that. Everyday is not going to be great, and that’s okay. Training programs have their highs and lows – have you been following Erin’s NYC marathon training? – this is why they last so long. Probably not, but thankfully I’ve picked up a bit of momentum having begun my running training and with a little help from my friends. Yup, Erin won’t be the only three time marathoner. Mine isn’t until February 2015, but I’ve signed up for another marathon nonetheless. If I’m going to sit around and be a lump on a log that’s no one’s fault but my own. Now that I have a new running goal, reunited with some old pals, and of course the amazing support at the Y, I feel back on track.

I hadn’t realized how many of my friends are around. This is great news for my social calendar. My university friend Katie (hi, Katie!) is from Annapolis Royal, it’s a 30 minute drive from Digby. Her and her new husband are living in Bedford (another NS geography lesson it’s about a 2 hour drive from Digby) and planned an outing to go Tidal Rafting the weekend before the August long weekend. I hadn’t seen Katie in years! I needed to go. Plus what in the world is Tidal Rafting anyway? I will explain all in a post to come. But just know it’s awesome. This post is about another adventure we went on.  A tree topping, zip lining adventure!

Upper Clements Park is Nova Scotia’s version of Canada’s Wonderland. Well… it would be if Canada’s Wonderland had one roller coaster made of wood, some bumper cars and a giant maze. And that’s all. But they do have the Flume Ride, another park attraction. You have to think small scale here. But as a kid it was a great place. The face painting, the cookies as big as your face, and candy apples were the highlight for me. And you’d usually spot a pirate or two around the park. They were of course very cool.  But for years this would be a place I’d abandon. I had zero interest in going as a teenager I out grew the rides and the childlike fun, and now I don’t have kids in my life to share this experience with. Little did I know the Park also grew up. Now there is an Adventure Park.

Katie introduced me to her formal colleagues at CARP (Clean Annapolis River Project) and they invited me to the Adventure Park. I’ve seen zip lining in Costa Rica, but never dared to give it a try. This time I had no excuse.

The park is divided into Games (aka. obstacle courses) and Zip lines. Calling these things Games is supposed to give them a fun non competitive approach but these things are not easy! Don’t be fooled by the swinging steps and tight wire walking, my arms and balance were tested big time. If you’re a bit afraid of heights that will disappear once you try to pull yourself across a rock climbers wall of over a ladder of some sort. They make you work for the fun that’s for sure. If you’ve never done something like this before (that was me too) there is a full hour of training before you enter the park. Billy was our guide. After what we could assume was a late night for Billy and a long day ahead, he managed to shake the monotone directions and showed us a good time. If Billy happens to be your guy, ask him how the burger and beer competition went. If the zip lining didn’t scare you that just might.

Zip lining was the best part. The fast moving, freedom you feel when you’re flying through the forest was amazing. Each Game had a small zip line to the end the course, but the second half of the park is all zip lining. The Adventure Park is one the best in the province and I can see why. All the grown up fun to be had is worth a second or third trip. Just make sure to bring your gloves unless you want some “kick ass” callus. If that’s the case, join the club.

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Thursday

I got up in the morning and double-checked my planned workout. It was AMAZING to see 3-4 800s and not the 4-5 800s I had originally thought.

I ran to Riverdale Track and did my splits. Instead of timing my breaks, I walked a lap around the track. This was probably longer than the breaks I’m supposed to take, but I don’t like fully stopping when I run sprint repeats.

My splits were:


Not too bad.

After work, I plated softball. I went 0-4: fly out, fly out, ground out, ground out. I think I’m ready to go pro.

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Wednesday

3x1000s were on the schedule today. When I have 1000s, I like to run to Corktown Common, then run km splits on the Don Valley trail. That’s what I did this morning. (Side note: as someone who hates running in the summer, I am so grateful for the cooler weather we’ve been having.)

My splits were:


I have no idea what happened with that first one, it felt a lot faster than 5:33. As for the second two, I wanted to puke the whole time. I’m not used to running that fast, I think my Tuesday rest day really contributed to that.

Tomorrow, 5x800s. My life is so glamorous.

On Instagram, I’ve noticed everyone has fancy photos with their running data on them. I must know more about this. Anyone have a program they particularly like?

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Tuesday

This ended up being a rest day, surprising no one. It wasn’t planned that way, I swear. I had a speed workout to do, but when I woke up, I still didn’t know the details. So I spent the morning puttering about and assessing my legs. They were still in rough shape after Monday’s bike ride. By the time I got the workout emailed to me, I had to leave for work. And I had plans after work, which meant no workout on Tuesday.

Long weekends. They ruin everything.

I have my weekly workouts now, though. So I’m going to shift a few things around. Wednesday & Thursday – run. Friday – yoga. Saturday & Sunday – run.

It means back-to-back speed workouts on Wednesday and Thursday, but what else can I do?

NYC Marathon Training Week #3 – Monday

Mondays are cross-training or rest, depending on how I’m feeling. This Monday was also a holiday, so Matt and I hatched the ambitious plan of biking to the Scarborough Bluffs and back.

Halfway there, it started to rain. We decided to power through, though. And, as a I stood at the edge of a cliff in the pouring rain, I realized this is EXACTLY what I was doing on August 4, 2013 – when I hiked the East Coast Trail with JK.

I guess this should be a new Erin Balser tradition.

It cleared up by the time we biked to the park, so we did all the trails and decided to get a quick bite before we headed back. Expect, the rains came down. Hard. And they didn’t stop. We finally caved and biked home in the rain.

40k in 3 hours. My legs feel like rubber. I’m not sure if running tomorrow is a good idea.



NYC Marathon Training Week #2 – Sunday

I woke up to pretty great running weather for August: not too hot, not too humid and not too sunny. I decided to do 15 and 1s and when I ran tried to keep my pace between 6:00 and 6:30. That’s exactly what I did. I know my coach is trying to wean me off walking breaks, but I find if I don’t have scheduled breaks, it’s easier to convince myself I deserve a break right this second, which is hardly ever the case. This plan seemed to work, I kept a pretty steady pace the entire run.

I ran the trails on Leslie Spit, and not the main path, for the first time. I recommend this – they are well-maintained gravel trails that bikes can’t use. I felt like I was completely lost in nature while running them.

Something in my inner thigh twinged at about 1 hour in, but it felt okay when I ran. It just hurt when I walked. So weird. I’m going to ice it and take it easy for the rest of the day and tomorrow.

14k in 1:31:17. I think I’m in decent shape to break 1:30 at Midsummer’s in two weeks.

And then I went to the Leslieviller Farmer’s Market and had a grapefruit ginger ice pop and it was the most delicious thing ever.