Marathon Training Day #14: 15k LSD


I woke up this morning, ready to run.

Until I heard the rain beating down on our roof. Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

The weather had (sort of) cleared by 9:30. And I had book club at 1, so I needed to get my run in, regardless 0f the weather. I suited up and headed out, planning to do the 15k long run on my schedule as 10 and 1s, just as I was told. The Don Valley Trail was partially underwater for the first couple of kilometres, making my route a bit of an adventure. But it as mostly clear beyond Bloor and I settled into a (albeit slow) groove. At the one hour marked, I fueled up on pineapple Gu (it was in my Christmas stocking and it was disgusting), turned around and headed home.

This run was a bit of a slog. I felt tired and underfueled. But I knew I was in good enough shape to do it and any setbacks I was having were just mental.

Oh running. What a mind meld you can be sometimes.

Then my toe started to hurt. It doesn’t feel serious — yet. It feels like it just needs to be cracked. Hard. It might be tendonitis. It might be my shoes. It might be nothing.

We’ll see.


The run: 14.7k in 1:57:53

The route:

Running in the snow


Image by Bad Alley. Licensed via Creative Commons.

The Don Valley Trail. Image by Bad Alley. Licensed via Creative Commons.


There’s something magical about running in the snow, and when it all comes together — the sun, the crunch beneath your feet, the friendly people you pass (because everyone is friendlier on the trail in the winter) and even the songs the DJ on 99.9 chooses to play — there’s no place I’d rather be than pushing through on a nature trail in sub-zero weather. I’ll take days like today over summer runs any day. It helps I got to wear my new TEAL WunderUnders on their first ever run. Brightly coloured workout wear makes me happy, but they also make me look crazy.

Today was the last day of running for fun. Tomorrow is D1, the first day of training for the Bluenose Marathon on May 19. While I haven’t been running as much as I should to prep for this, I feel ready. I feel strong. I can do this.

And if I get more winter weather days like today, I might even enjoy it.


The run: 8.4k in 1:03:44

The route:


Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #10


I hit a wall this week. I’m getting sick of running. I’m starting to see the marathon (and more quickly, Around the Bay) looming in my future and I don’t feel ready. Not mentally, not physically.

I also started running in the morning this week. As spring arrives, I have more and more social events in the evening. I’ve never been much of a morning person, but it being light at 6:30, coupled with setting the alarm to go off an hour before I need to get out of bed (and hitting the snooze button 75 times) has helped. However, because I don’t have as much time in the morning (I refuse to wake up before 6am), my weekly runs were shorter this week. Tired all the time + lower mileage than I should have? No wonder I’m freaking out!

Monday: rest

I ran 25.1k the day before, and my muscles needed the break. In retrospect, I should have gone to yoga.

Tuesday: 7.2k

My first morning run in a million years! I headed up and back on the Don Valley trail. Easy stuff. Slow stuff.

Wednesday: rest

This was not supposed to be a rest day. I woke up with the distinct feeling I needed to run in the morning, but could not for the life of me remember why. At work, I realized: I had an event that night. No running for me.

Thursday: 8.6k

Another morning run! Yay me! This run started off in 15 degree weather and ended with sleets of rain coming down. Not fun. It was a struggle, but I made it home.

Friday: 7.0k

And the third morning run of the week, up and back on the Don Valley. I was exhausted during this run, and it didn’t feel productive, just painful.

Saturday: 9.5k

So, everyone I’ve talked to about Around the Bay told me to watch out for the hill at the 26k mark. This started to freak me out. I convinced my friend Kate to come to Hamilton with me so we could run the last 10k of the course together. It was cold and windy and the hill was as every bit as mean as everyone told me. I’m just glad I know what I’m in for.

Sunday: 3.2k

And this is where I hit a wall. Yes, that says 3.2k. Kate’s a lot faster than me and the Saturday run took more out of me than I realized. (I knew I needed more hill workouts in my life!) I headed out for what was supposed to be a 30k long run, and everything hurt. I tried to push through, but it wasn’t happening. Then I started freaking out about how I’m not ready for a marathon, and came home in tears. Gah!


So, that was the week that was. It wasn’t pretty. I want to do one more 30-ish km training run before ATB, and it’s looking like Wednesday night is the winner. Also, Matt and I booked a vacation the week before ATB, so I fly in the day before and head straight to Hamilton. Probably not the smartest move on my part.

So, experienced runners: if you have any tips about how to get through times like this, please let me know.

YaxTrax Attack!

Here’s a secret about Toronto: the winters are cold. And snowy. (I know, right? No one has ever told you that before.) This year, we’ve been really lucky, with little snow and mild weather. That changed this week, when temperatures dipped well below zero and Friday brought us our first substantial snowfall .

I don’t mind winter running, but, like many sane people, would like to avoid embarrassment — or worse, injury — by falling on the ice. So I was on the hunt for something that would make winter runs more interesting than out and backs on Queen Street.

Enter the YakTrax.


I put these....where?!


I discovered these snowshoe-like contraptions after reading a review on Run With Jess. After reading several more positive reviews online and finding out they were relatively cheap ($30 at Mountain Equipment Co-op), I decided to give them a go. I’ve spent $30 on stupider things in my life.

The YakTrax are basically a weird sandal that you slip over your shoe. The stainless steel coils act like spikes, cutting through ice and snow to give you a firm grip. I got a unisex medium (because I have GIANT lady feet) and they fit snugly, but weren’t difficult to get on. (I put them on wrong the first time. I figured that out quickly, thanks for the handy “toe” and “heel” labels!).


Success! Now to actually walk with these things...

Success! Now to actually walk with these things...


I decided to give them a try on a recovery run through the Don Valley Trail. It was snowy, icy and uneven — the perfect place for a test run.


Just like running on a treadmill, right?!


How’d they do? They passed with flying colours! I felt sure-footed and confident on ice and on packy snow. They weren’t bad on the parts of the trail that had been salted, either. They weren’t great in loose, powdery snow, but I have no plans to run frequently in that stuff. I just tried it for the sake of trying it today. Running was more difficult, thanks to the extra weight due to the YakTrax and the uneven terrain due to the ice, but not insurmountably so.

It was a challenge. I accepted. I won.

This photo is probably too cocky, isn't it?

I can’t wait to do it again.



The run:

7.0k @ 54:08

The route:


On the run in the Don Valley

I hadn’t seen Jill since LAST YEAR (it was about a week ago, but LAST YEAR is crazy fun to say!), so I invited her to join me on my long run and have brunch after this morning. It was a beautiful winter day — -5 degrees and sunny — so we took to the Don Valley Trail for an easy 8k loop. Destination: the Fresh Co. and Dundas and Parliament for brunch ingredients!


A perfect day for a run! So sunny! Not so warm, but can't complain. It IS January after all.


I live steps from the Don Valley Trail, and it’s the perfect place to run on days like today. In the summer, it can be overun with cyclists, but in January? Only the crazy types hit the trail.


I include Jill in these crazy types.


My back has been super sore lately. That, coupled with my weird foot problem, my dog bite and the fact Jill isn’t much of a runner (which is going to change this year! She signed up for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k today — her first race ever!) means we took it easy and walked up hills and stairs. Everything felt good though, and it was a relief to know that I didn’t overdo it too much during my first week of marathon training.

In the end, we ended up doing just over 8k in 53:10. Not bad for the first “long run” of the year.

Of course, the best part was brunch.


Fresh salad and tofu scramble. Delicious.


The route: