Erin’s much-needed update

So I took a blogging break. I did for a whole bunch of reasons — running wasn’t inspiring me, work was overloaded and I was unsure what blogging about my workouts was doing for me. I even stopped updating DailyMile in an effort to think about what online tools were really working for me — and which ones I didn’t care about. Running is getting better and work is slowing down. So it’s that third one I still need to think about some more. I’ve also come to the realization that the best running blogs, blogs I like, have a ridiculous amount of photos and selfies. This is something I am terrible at and do not like doing. So I need to think about that element of this whole blogging thing for a little while.

Meanwhile, stuff has happened. Let’s put it out there.

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1. I ran Around the Bay in 2:59:15.

I really wanted to break 3 hours, and I did. I was convinced it wouldn’t happen, because my training hasn’t been as diligent as it was last winter. But I am a better runner than I was a year ago and I am doing a lot more speedwork, so it looked like it paid off. The course was different this year, with the first 10k being hillier and more boring than last year’s. I like it less, but what can you do? The weather was perfect and my pacing wasn’t bad. This is a PR by 8:30 on a course that’s arguably more difficult. Can’t complain about that. I had to book it for the final kilometre to reach my goal, but I did! Hooray for that!


2. I ran Around the Bay in borrowed gear.

Matt and I went on vacation the week before ATB. The plan was to go straight to his parents’ house from the airport, because they live closer to Hamilton than we do, and his mom and uncle were running ATB too. Wins all around! Except….the airline lost our luggage. In it was all my running gear, except my shoes and Garmin (which were in my carry-on). I was wearing a sports bra and Lulu leggings, which could be used for the race. I had to borrow the following:

  • hat
  • water bottle
  • short sleeve top
  • long sleeve top
  • socks
  • fuel
  • ipod
  • gloves

It all worked out, since Matt’s mom is a hard-core runner. I was most worried about the socks, but I finished blister-free. Hooray for that! Oh, and we got our luggage back 3 days later.


3. March Madness was AMAZING this year.

5 games in the first round went into overtime. Almost every game I watched was decided in 5 points or less. NCAA March Madness is the most perfect tournament. I only wish someone would broadcast the women’s games in Canada. Even just the Final Four.


4. I am learning to not hate the treadmill.

I don’t love it. But I can use it. I find it’s especially useful for speedwork or tempo runs — you can set the pace to exactly what is expected of you. And it’s enabled me to get these workouts done in the morning, at the gym, instead of building a trip to Monarch stadium in the evening into my day, which is a huge bonus.


5. The Raptors are the best.

This was the first year I followed the Raptors closely. I picked the right year to do so! They are a tough, gritty, imperfect team that is a bright light in Toronto’s professional sports. (It looks like Toronto FC is going to be the other one this year! Finally!) I am also understanding sport fandom culture in a new, weird way: it’s so much fun to debrief about the games with my co-workers who are also Raptors followers. (Now, when will Toronto get a WNBA team? I think we could support one.)


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6. I got into the NYC Marathon.

I signed up on a whim after I read on a blog that lottery registration was open. I knew it was ridiculously hard to be accepted this way, and figured I’d just sign up every year and I’d get in sometime in the next decade. I did NOT expect to get in on my very first try.

So on November 2, 2014, I will run the largest marathon in the world. It’s going to be insane.

I have decided my only plan for this race is to be fit enough to enjoy the whole thing. I don’t want a time goal to detract from this experience.

With that in mind, I need to get my ass in gear for Ottawa, because it’ll be a hell of a lot easier to not care about my time in NYC if I get a great time in Ottawa. I feel like sub 4:00 is an aggressive, but doable, goal.

So that’s what’s been going on in my life, running-wise and sport-wise. The yoga has taken a huge step back, priority wise. But now that work is slowing down, it is spring and the vacation is out of the way, I can re-prioritize accordingly. Yoga, blogging, gardening, sunshine.

It’s going to be a good spring.




Sister Act: Around the Bay

Me (with Erin and Andie) after the race!

Me (with Erin and Andie) after the race!

Now that you all heard Erin’s side of the story, it’s my turn to share mine.

I, too, ran around a Bay! And was it awesome! The race itself was awesome, the fact I actually survived was really awesome. The not being able to walk afterward, well, that part was not so awesome. But it was totally worth it.

Months and months ago when my dream for 2013 was to run a full marathon with Erin she decided Around the Bay would be the perfect lead up race to the Bluenose Marathon (which I still have full intentions to go home and run, I’m just running the half now not the full). This was the plan. We’d run ATB together, then a full together. But then my acceptance email for yoga teacher training arrived from Moksha. Then my training took a huge plunge and I wasn’t running at all. I was doing yoga everyday in perpetration, not running.

All throughout my teacher training I was dreading Around the Bay knowing when I returned home I had this race to complete. Then days would pass, then weeks, and I wouldn’t think about the race at all. There was so much going on and not enough room in my head to think about anything! But maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t think about ATB, it wouldn’t happen! I was wrong.

I returned home from LA with very little training done. (And I mean very, very little: a couple long runs in LA not even 10k distance coupled with a few runs to and from the studio on the days I wasn’t completely exhausted. It totaled about 3k or so maybe 10 times. And that’s being generous.)  But I was doing yoga, twice a day, every day, for 30 days. This counts as running training, right? I was banking on it to save me! And it actually worked.

As much as I didn’t think the day would come, March 23rd sprang upon me and I found myself at the GO Station with Erin, my overnight bag, and shoes for the next morning. I was actually doing this. Please note the longest run I’ve ever completed in my life was the Nike half back in October. Yup, that is right: I have never run over 21k or longer than 2 hours. I’m going to die! End of story.

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Somehow,  probably thanks to all the yoga I did, my body was capable of running. During training, I felt the strength in my legs increase as the weeks went by. That was the biggest change I noticed. It must have helped me run! Although, if it was for Erin and running alongside of her, I wouldn’t have done so well. I am not a good solo runner. I love company and distractions.  The course was a lot of fun! And with a little more (okay, a lot more) preparation it could be that much better.

I was also surprised at how difficult everyone said the course was. Call me crazy, but it wasn’t that bad. Having run the Nike Women’s Half ,I feel as though I can make that bold statement. The “hill” at the 26k mark was a bunny hill in comparison to San Francisco. But let’s be honest. I’m just amazed that I: 1) actually ran the whole thing; 2) finished it under 4 hours! (3:09:08 to be exact!); and 3) I didn’t walk to the finish.

Given my competitive side I’m surprised I didn’t push myself harder when I lost Erin around the 25k mark. I wanted to catch her so bad, but the last 10k of the race is the worst part. I could not go any faster. My mind wanted to, but I was stuck. Before the race I convinced myself not to get tied up in a time, a pace, or keeping up with Erin. I actually listened and stuck with that. We made a pack – as Erin shared – I didn’t want to be the one holding her back. I’m glad she took off and finished before me. She’s been training so hard and deserved that glory. I just wanted to finish the damn thing! Even if I had to crawl across the finish time in front of all those spectators.

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Erin was convinced by the 15/16k I’d tap out and have to walk in. (Ha, what a supportive big sister!) But I felt good all the way through to 20k. So I kept going. I knew I’d have to slow down at some point. That happened at the 25k mark. The last stretch of the race could not be longer! But when I saw that grim reaper I knew the end was near. (The finish line that is.) Finally, I saw the crowd of people and hi-fived a bunch of children along the way in. I made the turn into the Coliseum and sprinted to the finish line.

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It was surprising a very good day, but I promised Andie (Erin’s running coach) I would never run that far ever again with no training.

We’ll see if I crazy enough to do something like this again.


All the pictures — except the one of us with Andie – are by My Sport Shooter, the official race photographer.

Monday Miles: Marathon Training Weeks #10, #11, #12

And I’ve been lazy on this recapping my marathon training. Again. Let’s catch up, shall we?


Week 10

Monday: rest

The Sunday before, I had a bit of a break down. I was tired and sore and wanted a break from running. So I took one.

Tuesday: 12.1k, Hot hour @ Kula

On Tuesday, I freaked out about my breakdown and how it might affect my mileage for the week. So I took the (very) long way to yoga. I need to do yoga after a run more often. It’s a great balance of winding yourself up, then winding yourself down.

Wednesday: 24.2k

Because Matt and I were going on vacation on the weekend and taking off on Friday, I wanted to get my weekly long run in before we left. We were headed on a cruise (I know, we are 85 years old), and the thought of doing a long run in the Florida heat or on a boat did not seem appealing. I did the same route as my last long run, which got a bit scary in the dark. I was all alone! I couldn’t see a thing! But I survived! (I’m glad summer is coming so it won’t get dark at 7pm anymore.)

Thursday: rest

I ran 24.2km the day before. Why, yes, I’ll take a day off.

Friday: 10.1k

I took Friday off work to do a few errands and get a longer run in before Matt and I headed to the airport. I ran along the Martin Goodman Trail to Cheery Beach, a route that I don’t run in the winter because it gets dark and scary. It was a good run, but my legs felt tired. So tired.

Saturday: 4.2k

When we landed in Fort Lauderdale, we realized our hotel (which we scored on HotWire) was in the middle of nowhere. It did, however, have a track that ran along the nearby highway that was about a a kilometre in length, out and back. I ran that 3 times, then did a slow loop around the GIGANTIC parking lot before giving up. It was only 4.2k, but it wasn’t pretty.

Sunday: 30 minutes of Chillax

On Sunday, we got on the boat! I’ll write about how to stay fit on a cruise in more detail in a future post, but on the first day, I did their free mini-yoga class and it was grand.


Week 11

This was the week on the boat. Hurrah!

Monday: 45 minutes of yoga

The boat offered two kinds of yoga: free 30 minute classes and for-fee 45 minute classes. I decided to sign up for the paid classes on the at sea days. They were very slow classes, as they are designed for a cruises primary clientele: senior citizens. It was awesome.

(I also got a massage on this day and my body was so tense that the masseuse nearly cried. Apparently, I am a very tense person. I am not surprised.)

Tuesday: 5k hike, 30 minutes of Chillax

Tuesday was our first port day, so I signed up for a hike through Aruba’s National Park. (Again, I’ll write this up in more detail soon!) It was fun. When I got back on the boat, I did my new favourite thing: chillaxing.

Wednesday: 30 minutes of Chillax

I think you’re getting to know the drill by now.

Thursday: 45 minutes of yoga

This class was weirdly hard. The poses weren’t difficult, and the pace was slow to extremely slow, but my muscles just were not having it today.

Friday: rest

Ha! Because I so needed it! We spent all day on a beach in the Bahamas. I expect you to be jealous.

Saturday: rest

This was the day we got off the boat and flew from Fort Lauderdale to Toronto. So if you count fidgeting in aiports as excercise, then, why yes, I worked out today.

Sunday: Around the Bay 30k

So, one would think that taking a cruise immediately before a race would be a terrible idea. If you think that, you would be wrong! It was the best thing ever. (This may not be true for people who follow training plans correctly. But it was true for me. I’m trying to convince Matt we need to take a cruise before all my big races. So far, he refuses. But one day…) I recapped the race here, if you want to read about the whole thing! I know you do.

Week 12

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: rest

This week was bananas at work. Other than Monday, a day during which I could barely move, I had a work event or social event every single night. I didn’t unpack. I didn’t relax. I didn’t run. I partied, partied, partied.

I’m also freaking out about my toenails. Two of them are turning black. I can barely wear shoes right now. I’m pretty sure running this week would have been painful and caused them to fall off. Considering I’m supposed to be training for a marathon right now, I’m not sure what to do. I’ve never lost a toenail before.

EXPERIENCED RUNNERS: Is my freaking out rational? Is considering abandoning my marathon because my toes are black rational? Help me out here!

Saturday: 90 minutes flow @ Kula

I joined my good pal JK for my first post-ATB workout. The yoga class was HARD, and not just because I was still sore and my right foot was betraying me. It was hard because the teacher decreed it so. But it felt good to move again.

Sunday: 60 minute partner yoga workshop

Jill and I went to the Toronto Yoga Show (full recap to come!) and checked out a partner yoga workshop. Partner work has freaked me out in yoga classes before, but this was actually fun! (Probably because it was with someone I know, not the random person who just so happened to put their mat next to mine).



This week, I need to get back into running. Even though the break before and after ATB were both much-needed, I need to step up my game.

Now, in honour of my cruise, here is the song I sang constantly to Matt before, during and after enjoying the tranquil waters of the Caribbean:



Race recap: I ran around the bay


On Sunday, I ran around the bay. The 118th annual Around the Bay Road Race in Hamilton, Ontario, to be exact.

It was my first time running this race, or any race longer than 21.1k. This freaked me out. I was convinced I was going to be so slow that I needed to start with the walkers. (Rational thought and laziness prevailed when I realized that this would mean waking up an hour earlier). I was also nervous because Matt and I went away the week before and I didn’t run once. (I’ll write about this in a future post, coming up soon!) My last run before this impromptu week off was terrible. My legs were sore, my back was sore and I was hating running.

It turned out that taking an entire week off was exactly what I needed to conquer Around the Bay. I’m not entirely sure how to recap this. (I felt great! I ran a race! It was over in 3:29:36!), but since it was my strongest and most positive race yet, I want to share with you why I think this was so.


1) I listened to my body

Okay, so going on a cruise to the Caribbean, where running on a boat seemed like a stupid thing to do isn’t exactly “listening to my body.” But before the vacation, I was breaking down, physically and mentally. A relaxing week off where I did nothing but yoga was exactly what I needed. From now on, I need to recognize the difference between needing a break and being lazy. This week? I needed a break.


2) I used a pace bunny

I have never used a pace bunny before. Now that I have, I have no idea why. It was great not only to run with a group for a few hours, it was good to have a marker. I ran solo for the first 10k, but when the 3:30 bunny caught up to me, I decided to go with it. If I got ahead of him, I knew I could ease off for a few minutes. If I got too far behind, I needed to pick him up. It also kept my goal of sub-3:30 front and centre — if I beat this guy, I will achieve my goal. While I don’t think I’m a pace bunny convert just yet, I definitely see the advantages of using one when running a new race or trying to hit a particular time goal. So, thank you, Mr. Pace Bunny.


3) I love crowds

I didn’t think I’d be the type of love crowds. But they make running this far for this long so much easier. And they always show up at the perfect time. Around the 22k mark, I was fading. Hard. The hills were wearing my out, and the sun got really hot. (Not Caribbean hot, but hot for a supposedly winter day in Canada). Then there was a huge group of people with signs, cheering loudly. It makes all the difference. So, anyone who has ever cheered for a random stranger at a race — thank you. We may look seriously pissed off and in a ton of pain (and we usually are), but it’s good to have you there.


4) I was familiar with the course

About two weeks prior to Around the Bay, Kate and I headed to Hamilton to run the last 10k, the section with the hills. This helped immensely, as when I got to the final monster of a hill at the 26k mark, I knew exactly what I was in for. And I managed to run up the entire damn thing. (I’m almost more proud of this than I am of my time.) Sure, I walked a for a minute after I got to the top, but that doesn’t matter. I ran up the effing hill, and I probably wouldn’t have if I was unfamiliar with it.


5) The weather was perfect

The day started off around 5 degrees, and became 12 and sunny by the end of the race. There was no wind. Considering this is a race in March and previous years have seen rain and sleet and snow and wind up the wahzoo, we were really lucky.


6) I trained. A lot.

What can I say? Those series of 60k weeks really paid off.


Now that ATB is over, I feel confident that a sub-4:45 marathon is in my reach. I just need to convince myself that I want to do this.


The run: 30k in 3:29:36

The route:

View Around the Bay Road Race in a larger map

Monday Miles: Marathon Training Weeks 5,6 & 7


You may have noticed that Two Fit Girls was pretty quiet in late January and early February. I don’t know what Jill’s excuse was (*ahem*), but I had the biggest work event of the year coming up. This meant long hours, complete exhaustion and not a lot of running. (People who manage to keep up a work-out schedule during times like this amaze me. I’m looking at you, co-worker David. How do you do it?)

I am making up for this with week 7, but I am so sore. Amping up the miles this quickly probably wasn’t the best idea, but Around the Bay is soooooooo close.


Week 5

Monday: Yin yoga 1:00

As per Jill’s suggestion, I tried to squeeze in some yoga at home. It wasn’t awesome: between the cats climbing all over me, the junk everywhere (Matt and I are total clutterbugs), and just the lack of soothing space, it didn’t work. I’ll give it a go again in the summer, when I can use my backyard for such purposes (the condo-dwellers next door will loooove that), but until I completely overhaul my approach to making a home, this isn’t for me.


Tuesday: 7.4km; Hot Hour @Kula
My regular Tuesday night date with Linseed and JK! Thanks to the bananas that was my schedule this week, I left straight from work and ran to yoga. I need to get more run-commuting in my life. Efficiency. Living 3k from work is amazing in every other capacity. Except this one.


Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: Rest

Oops. This wasn’t really planned, I just didn’t schedule smartly. And the two or three occasions I could have squeezed in a run, I was exhausted. I need to take more B12. Or build a suit of iron.


Sunday: 7.6km
This run should probably have been longer, but I needed to be at work in the am. Kendal kindly agreed to set our running date for 9:30am, allowing us to be first in line at 10am for PWYC soup. French onion soup for breakfast: not the worst thing in the world.

Week 6

Well, if week 5 was bad fitness-wise, week 6 was worse. Unlike week 5, I knew this week would happen. And it’s okay.


Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: rest
Sure, the DailyMile chart says rest, but these were looooong, demanding days, spent running around, wearing a headset and generally feeling more important than I actually am. In my head, I am totally counting them as exercise.


Saturday: Hot Hour @ Kula
After not running for a week, I didn’t want to go and hurt myself by launching into a series of long runs. Easing back into it with a yoga class seemed like the perfect thing to do. It also meant I could hang with JK and make some awesome post-work-out book review videos. (See the latest example below. Don’t you love our healthy glow?)



Sunday: 11km, 90 minute yin @ Moksha
I needed to get a long run in, and Jill and I agreed to do yin together, then have a Grammy viewing party. (Chris Brown is still a total scumbag). I planned for 18k but, being the moron I am, I completely mis-timed how long that would take me and realized I’d never make it if I kept running. I hopped on a streetcar, made it just in time and was so relieved to be doing a much lower intensity work-out.

Week 7

And here’s where things got back on track.

Monday: 11km

I didn’t mean to run this long, but 1) I got a little lost and 2) I was feeling pretty good, so I went with it. It felt like I was making up for botching the long run the day before.


Tuesday: 5.2km
It was rainy, and I was exhausted from back-to-back 11k runs. I forced myself through 5k, came home, and did a lot of whining.


Wednesday: rest
After working out four days in a row, I was tired. I decided to give my body a break and finish the week strong.


Thursday: 10.7km
So, on Thursday, I got it in my head I could hit 60k this week if I really, really tried. I added a few kms to my planned 8k run, and began to believe I was invincible.


Friday: 7.5km
On Friday, I felt less invincible. I did, however, do a few hill repeats on this run. I need more hill work-outs in my life. Not because I liked it. (I did not!) but because ATB and Goodlife both have their fair share of hills. And I don’t want to be the person gasping on the side of the route, begging to be put out of my misery. I will go there if I need to. I am not classy.


Saturday: Music Mix @ Moksha 1:15
In order to hit 60k for the week, I needed to run 6k this day. As you can tell, that did not happen. Pro tip: hill work-outs hurt your bum. A lot. Matt and I also visited our much-more-sophisticated neighbours the evening before, where we did things like ooh and aah over their baseboards and at-home yoga space and drank excessive amounts of scotch. Scotch is not my friend. After much contemplation (aka whining), I decided to bail on my run (I wanted my Sunday long-run to be kick-ass and not a march to my death) and go to yoga instead.


Sunday: 20.1km

The longest long run yet! Yay me! ATB buddy B and I agreed to meet up for an 8k run (we did the PubRuns Rosedale loop). I sandwiched this between 3k before and 10k after to make it a long run. Breaking it up this way was nice. Runs with B go by so fast. The weather was lovely and I felt really strong the first 16k of this run. I started to break down when I headed back home at Queen and Woodbine — the legs began to act less like muscle and more like rubber–, but managed to power through.


So, we’re all caught up now. I think I can hit 60k in week 8. I just need to give up any semblance of a social life. I am okay with that, though. Considering all my conversations these days consist of me complaining about not working out enough or complaining from being sore from working out too much, I’m not very fun to talk to. Just ask Matt.



The 2012 Running Plan

I’ve been thinking a lot about my 2012 running goals. I want to get faster, but considering that 2011 was my first full year running, that shouldn’t be hard. I think I want to run a marathon.

Okay, that’s a lie.

I know I want to run a marathon. But the time commitment, the physical exertion, the training — even thinking about it exhausts me!

The plan, then (because I am a wimp!) is to start training for a marathon on January 2 and see how it goes. If I ended up drowning in work (thanks, Canada Reads!), I can always scale back to the half-marathon if need be.

We will see.

So here’s the Winter 2012 racing plan:

Training begins on January 2. Right now I’m in holiday maintenance mode, which means running when I can, but not worrying too much about it. Which is a good thing, because it’s hard to run on back-country Nova Scotian roads when there’s two feet of snow on the ground! Thank goodness for showshoeing!


March 25, 2012: Around the Bay in Hamilton, Ontario



I am signed up and ready to go. (This is why I think a marathon is in the works. Why train for just 30 when you can *gulp* train for 42! It’s just 12 more!). My running pals Kate and Bronwyn have signed up too and there’s a few guys at work planning to run, so it should be fun.


April 22, 2012: Toronto Yonge Street 10k in Toronto, Ontario


The politics around the creation of this race are troublesome, but it fits the training schedule. I had a blast last year at the Sporting Life 10k (my first ever race), so I’m looking to top that time of 57:15 and be in great condition for…


May 6, 2012: Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon in Toronto, Ontario



The big race! The current goal is sub-5 hours (I’m a turtle, that’s okay). Kate is training for this as well. We did our first on the same day (mine, Goodlife, hers, Mississauga) so I want to commit to this and share our first marathon experience together.

And I want to say I ran a marathon. Can’t knock it if you don’t try it.

My training program is a combination of the Around the Bay training, Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 marathon plan and Run Less, Run Faster. I’ll share the details with you in a later post!