Mission run a half marathon is on

10k down! What's next?

After running the Toronto Yonge Street 10k I am determined to be a fast runner! Now that running is fun, I also what to strat running farther. This may not be so fun.

I don’t really remember where my sudden need to run races came from. Knowing Erin was running all the time way back when, then dedicated herself to run a marathon, may have helped slightly. Actually it helped a lot. Running a marathon I feel is one of those things on everyone’s bucket list. I would love to say “I ran a marathon!” one day, but highly doubt I can hold my attention for that length of time. What do people think about for this long? How do they push themselves though those awful stretches when anything would be more appealing than running another second? I’m not going to scratch the marathon idea just yet, it’s only May and I’ve already signed up for race number three The Midsummer Night’s Run. I think my sights are set on a half marathon. I would be very happy to run this far in the short amount of time I would call myself a runner.

I’m convincing myself if I can finish 15k in August I can do a half in the fall. Plus I’m still using the “I climbed the CN Tower” bit to convince myself I can do anything. That, and I have to say each race I run gets better and better and more and more fun. Thank goodness Erin is running the 15k too that’s pretty much the whole reason I agreed to it, oh and I’ve been told people dress up like fairies! I want to dress up as a fairy. At this rate by the fall I will love running, only if it involves dressing up. And sleep overs at Erin’s. That is very important.

Runners look and talk like very fit people should. Or at least that’s my impression of them anyway. Races make me feel like I could be one of them. I really want to belong mostly because of Charlie and Graham, and now Jenn too. I live in a house with a super couple — you may remember them from the day I ran in Yorkville wearing nothing but a speedo — who run races and train for the Iron Man competitions and an all star track superstar, no wonder I have this overwhelming urge to be great at running. But thankfully Erin keeps me on track. Her upbeat confidence in me, tells me I can run a 10k sub 50 if I train for it.

And maybe run a half marathon too.

Sister Act: Toronto Yonge Street 10k Race Recap

Finishing the race at the same time!

Erin’s story:

I don’t really remember how it all began, but Jill suddenly became keen to run a race. Because I decided to include the Toronto Yonge Street 10k (the new/old race that emerged after the Sporting Life 10k debacle — which I still don’t really understand) because it fit in nicely with my planned marathon (now half-marathon) training. It was my first-ever race just a year ago and I remembered having a great experience — it’s an easy course with a great crowd — and suggested that Jill give this race a try. As you already know, by the time we lined up at the start line Jill already had 1 race under her belt, but that didn’t matter. It was time to race 10k. Down Yonge Street.

Jill slept over (yay sleepovers!) and we woke up to a REALLY cold day. This was a challenge because we didn’t want to check bags (I had a bit of a time crunch because I had a bridal shower immediately after the race), so we each grabbed old long-sleeve shirts to trash at the beginning of the race. After the race? I had no idea what to do.

These shirts weren’t enough. It was that cold. The shuttle was quick and easy, and we spent 20 minutes bouncing around trying to not freeze. Once we started running, it was fine. The tailwind and 4 degree weather was perfect.

The race plan? I wanted to run sub-55, but knew I probably couldn’t do it on my own. I let Jill set the pace (she had no idea about this) and adjusted accordingly if we fell too far off the 5:30 mark. This worked out great — we hit 1k right at 5:30, but fell bit behind at 2k. We coasted through, running fast, but strong. I felt good until about the 8k mark, when I started to fade. I made Jill yell encouraging things (the best one? “Matt is buying brunch after!” but once we turned the corner down Bathurst, I was the one with the energy and we kicked it up a notch for the final km.

This was a great race. I pushed harder than I ever had in a race before, we stayed on pace and it was great to have someone next to me I could push forward or lean on accordingly. We made a great time and I don’t think I cold have PRed without Jill by my side. Yay us!


Jill’s story:

I have to say running races is way more fun than I had anticipated. Plus running with Erin is the best! It’s an excuse for me to sleep over and Erin feeds me. Best big sister ever! We always have the “runners breakfast” which includes toast with peanut butter and honey and bananas. See running is totally the best.

Way back when Erin and I started this blog one of my new years goals was to run a real race. The Yonge Street 10k was a perfect place to start. Knowing this was a distance I could handle, plus the race is mostly downhill, and Erin had run this last year and planned to do so again this year, there was no reason for me not to sign up. And after my successful first real race in High Park (which was planned after signing up for the 10k) and a very solid run with the Pubruns crew the weekend before and having just climbed the CN Tower – I was still riding high on the “we could do anything!” mentality – I felt confident going into race day. Plus Erin and I decided to run the race together and under an hour. Easy! I was actually excited to run, for once.

But that Erin, she’s so clever. I knew we’d be much happier with a sub 55 time, but I didn’t know the tricks she had up her sleeve. Next time I know to push much harder. Running with Erin is when I feel my best, she usually guides me along and keeps me on pace. When we have run together it’s always been shorter than 10k, so I kept this in mind and that Erin knows best. I didn’t want to burn myself out early on, especially where I don’t really know what my running capabilities are just yet. My plan was to let Erin take the lead (as she usually does) and I would follow suite. I really didn’t want to think too much about anything, only that we’d be running together.

To even better prepare myself for the race I convinced Cecilley (my work friend) to run too. After talking about it all the time on our lunch hour mini workouts, it was rather easy. Now I had running buddy! Erin and I are very busy. If don’t have time to watch our shows together when would we ever run together? I needed backup support. It also helps that Cecilley and I not only work together, but live in the same neighbourhood too. Having Cecilley to run with made up for not having Erin around for pre-race training. This would be Cecilley’s first race too, and that made me happy. This race was very contagious (but really, who woulnd’t want to run down the middle of Yonge street?) because Jenn (my roommate) decided to run this race too. Jenn was insanely fast and finished 10th (10th!) with a time of 40:56. I both love her and hate her for this.

But I was very happy with the way Erin and I finished. We both pushed and helped each other along the way. When I felt slow Erin was there to help pick up my pace. There were moments when I felt I could have ran faster, but I stuck with Erin and used her as my guide. I had this worry of going to fast to quick, and needed to stay on track to save some juice to gun it at the end. The 7-8k stretch was the hardest for me. I stopped enjoying the run for this portion and wanted it to end.

Thank goodness it didn’t last too long because when that finish line came in sight, sprinting to the end together made the whole race totally worth it. Erin took off and I had to catch up! I know Erin went full speed ahead because sprinting is the best way to finish, not because she had an ulterior motive and secretly wanted to beat me. That would have been okay, I’m the middle sister, I’m used to this. Jokes! We both did good. Yay us, indeed!



The race: 10k in 54:57

The route:

Extreme date with my roommate

What: Pilates Mat
When: Saturday @ 11am
Where: Extreme Fitness (1521 Yonge Street)
Who: Paula

It’s April now (in case you haven’t noticed yet) and I don’t know whats’s scarier the fact that winter has completely disappeared on us, or that this Toronto Yonge Street 10k is creeping up on me very quickly. I’m starting to freak out! Just a little bit. The reason being — and I’ll be completely honest — I have not been following the running training schedule at all. Erin, I am terrible! But running and I, we just don’t mix. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a nice run on a fantastic sunny day or running with friends or with Erin, but I have to have something to make me want to run. I will not run because a piece of paper is telling in it’s Tuesday and this means I have to run 5k today. I won’t do it! More like I don’t want to do it. Or I will make myself go and hate every second of it.

My life is very sporadic and usually based on last minute decisions. You’d think working in events, I’d be good a scheduling things. Nope. Not true. My work involves planing things, not my life. I’ll go to yoga whenever I want to, I’ll pop by the JCC for a workout when I feel like I haven’t been there in a while (or if Phil is teaching the Group Cycle class). Trying to fit running into this mix has been hard. Okay, I’m being a baby. This bigger hatred for running sparked last Wednesday morning when Jenn (my new roommate) suggested we go for a morning run together. Bad idea. One, I’m not in ideal running condition (did you not hear me complain just now?) and Jenn is a total running freak. This is a girl who run 21k because she felt like it. She was also a track star in her university days at Dal. This was a tough morning for me, but I did complete the 8k at her pace (mind you, it was slower than her normal pace).

I then decided I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and use Jenn as a mentor. She helped me pick out new running shoes and we bought matching running shirts! Okay, Jenn, the next run I’ll be ready! Saturday we had a roommate bonding day which involved a run, a pilates class, and then yoga. Yes, I actually found a person busier and more active than myself (and yes this makes me jealous, but I like Jenn too much to hate her for this). If only Jenn were a boy, I would have the perfect boyfriend!

We ran the trails in Mount Pleasant — a way better run for me this time — before our pilates class at Extreme because the spinning class (which was the original plan) had a 60 person wait this! What? How is that even possible? Jenn and I wanted to do cardio before our core workout so we opted for running instead. That is one thing I do not understand, why do people join gyms like this? Ugh. It was an awful feeling walking into a place screaming at you “Lose Weight!”, “Muscles!”, “Get Fit!” from every possible direction — from the cardio machines to the instructors to even the changing rooms — I am thankful for the JCC. The pilates class was actually fantastic though, I will give them that. Although if Fitness Barbie existed she would have looked like the pilates teacher we had. Paula was blonde, beautiful and super in shape. This did not help the overbearing “Extreme” attitude.

I will probably never go back. Not unless Jenn gets her hands on more guest passes. I just can’t see myself enjoying a gym like that, not when I have Moksha Yoga Downtown in my life. Which is exactly where I took Jenn for the next part of our date.





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!