Things I wish I knew when I first started running

I “became a runner” when I was 28 years old. What I mean by “became a runner” in my case, is I upgraded my grade 11 volleyball shoes to some half-decent runners, started getting out there on a (fairly) regular basis, and signed up for a race to hold myself accountable. I also joined a clinic so I could learn stuff and not do it alone, and we trained with run-walk intervals. Prior to this time, I went for jogs here and there, maybe a couple times a year, usually hungover and dying, with the exception of one summer when I ran a local trail quite consistently to help myself deal with a breakup because sweating helped me feel more sane. I will tell you now, the more consistent you can be, the easier it gets and the more you will get addicted. Duh. But so good! Getting started is the hard part of course, as it is with most things that require effort!

Getting into running is simple and complicated all at the same time. It’s simple because all you really need (until you get addicted, hehehe) is a pair of running shoes, some clothing that is made to sweat in, a sports bra if you have boobs and a hair elastic if you have long hair. If you really want to know how far you go or what kind of pace you’re moving at, there are like a billion free apps to install on your phone, you don’t need to go get a fancy GPS watch.

What is NOT simple about it though, is that it’s HARD (forever) and a process that takes patience and a strong will. In the end, however, these things are what make it awesome. You’ll see.

I’ve been running and training regulary now since the spring of 2013 and looking back on the journey so far, there are quite a few things I can recognize that would have been really helpful to know at the beginning! There are tons of specific tips out there for sure, advice about gear, form, training plans, etc, but here are some of the more general things I would tell my former runner-self if I had the chance.

 

Warming up in some way or another is not only necessary, it will make your run WAYYYY BETTER!

Think about your heart. When you walk out the door at a resting or close to resting heart rate and then start running right away it’s like “SURPRISE MOTHER F#CKER!!! GAHAHAH WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP” and that’s brutal! And rude! Now think of your muscles. Cold. Rigid, maybe still sleeping depending what you’ve done so far that day. That’s mean, and unsafe. Do your body a favour (and your mind) and warm up because starting a run from ground zero SUCKS and makes it WAY harder and way more likely for things to hurt and injuries to occur.

Start with a dynamic warmup of some kind; at least a brisk walk until you start to feel warm and alive, or begin jogging at a pace that, for you, is ridiculously easy.  And not for sixty seconds, think more like ten minutes. Ya, ten whole minutes. Leg swings, lunges, skipping, grapevine, backward jogging, high knees, butt kicks, gentle jumping jacks, you have a lot of options! Dance party??? I am not even lying, sometimes I just go into our bedroom and put on my music and pretend I’m in a Jimmy Falon lip sync battle. Minimum three songs. Do what you need to do, it will make the rest of the run far more enjoyable!!

 

You will definitely think it’s impossible

Yeah, I know…dammit! But ask yourself this question honestly: “why would I expect it to be easy or natural?” Do you do other forms of endurance training? Unless you are an avid cyclist, swimmer, rower or wrestler, just to name a few endurance sports, then your body probably isn’t conditioned to have its heart-rate jacked up for an extended period of time! Keep that in mind and give yourself a break. Start your running journey with run-walk intervals or at a pace that feels easy enough to hold a conversation. I realize you may be alone, but if you don’t feel like you could comfortably talk to a friend who was with you, or on the phone, then slow down or take a short walk break until everything feels more manageable. Once you finish your run, or walk-run-walk-run, take a sec and jot down how it went – what you were doing, for how long and how it felt. I guarantee if you keep at it and look back through your workout log in a few weeks you will notice surprising progress!

 

The first 10-20 minutes are almost NEVER awesome

I know. You warmed up like I told you to, and now the first couple kilometers still suck. I HATE YOU JAMIE YOU LIED TO ME. No, I didn’t. I’m telling you now that even once you warm up your muscles, lungs and heart, you still need to find your groove, your rhythm, your breathing rate. It’s just the way it is! Some days it will come easy, but most days it takes time. And not just at the beginning, forever. Accept it!

 

Approach each and every run knowing it will be a test of your fortitude

There are those days where you head out onto the road or trail and it feels like a dream and you’re running, smiling, thinking “damn, I am a RUNNER! I run the world! I am basically Meb Keflezighi!“…yeah that’s the exception run, not the rule.

Running is hard. You are exerting effort. If running were effortless, everyone would do it and you, the person reading this, wouldn’t be reading these tips and I wouldn’t be writing them down years after starting my journey but still finding them super relevant. So I’m telling you now, head out thinking about how you are about to face challenge and get stronger and more awesome. Don’t head out hoping that this is going to be one of those runs that feels like child’s play, you will likely set yourself up for dissapointment.

 

NO ONE is driving by thinking, “lol. Look at that wannabe runner.”

If someone does notice you, they’re probably thinking one of these things:

“f*ck I’m lazy. I need to do that.”

“f*ck yeah!”

“f*ck I’m jealous”

“That sweaty, hard working, heavy breathing individual is so cool!!”

If you are taking a walk break, who cares??? People go for walks! People stretch. People go for speed walks with colour-coordinated outfits and 80’s sunglasses and sweatbands and headphones, there is nothing odd about a person wearing workout clothing and walking. Anyone driving by in a car is less cool than you are, in my opinion haha.

 

Running is the shit! You get to compete against yourself! Make hills your bitch. Sweat out a stressful experience from earlier in the day. Set goals and work towards them. Progress! Learn! Strengthen your bones, muscles, cardiac and respiratory systems so you can live longer and kick peoples’ asses at all sorts of fun shit in the future! You can do it any time. Outside, on a treadmill, on a trail, beach, wherever! If you have been thinking about getting into running or you’re just getting started, or if you’re back from a running hiatus, keep these things in mind and go be badass and prove to yourself that you can do it, one step at a time. I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!

@jammiekomadina

Don’t forget to contact me if you have any questions!

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Tenacious Ten weekend in Seattle!

When Oiselle announced that they’d partnered up with the Snohomish Running Company to host a race, I wanted to register immediately. Oiselle is my fave running apparel and girl-power brand, and the SRC, I learned, is an event production and promotion company with a goal to empower all runners and walkers of any ability to reach new goals and heights through a premium running experience before, during and after their events. Sounds like a good combo to host a racing event called The Tenacious Ten!

In January I joined the Oiselle Volée team, and I knew the inaugural Tenacious Ten would be a perfect opportunity to see what Oiselle is all about in real life, and in the city the company is based, Seattle! I knew I’d get the chance to meet some of the other Canadian runners, including our team leader, who I am in contact with on the team portal and get a feel for the Oiselle community for my first time at a race.

After travelling solo on my last big race trip and having an awesome time, I wasn’t worried about going to Seattle by myself if that’s the way it worked out, but my friend Whitney was stoked when I told her about it so we started planning our weekend! Airmiles tickets booked, accommodations arranged on AirBnB; we were set. Just had to wait three months for April to arrive haha. It did! Friday started early (like 4 am early) and our weekend was exciting, hilarious and interesting right from the beginning.

Arriving at the Terrace airport (more than an hour early), Air Canada told us we didn’t have seats on the flight we booked in January because we hadn’t checked in online. Since when is this a thing? What about people who aren’t  internet savvy or don’t have computers or smart phones?? The flight was oversold (again, how the eff is this even a thing? Happens all the time with Air Canada..) and if we didn’t get on, we could go tomorrow (Saturday), they said. Uh, no. Anyways. After an hour of trying to stay calm and me checking my heart-rate on my Garmin (lol) while mildly freaking out, an agent let us know we were “in luck” and had seats. It seemed she felt they’d done us a huge favour! Sorry for the rant but I can’t even believe all of that. So thankful my Calgary Marathon trip is with West Jet!!! Poor form, Air Canada!

We made it to YVR and then SeaTac where we cabbed straight to the Watertown Hotel for bib pickup. It wasn’t busy and getting our race stuff was very simple. The Tenacious Ten trucker hats are legit, although I would have picked a different colour if given the choice, and we also got a bunch of temporary tattoos for race day. Whitney had bought a race shirt too when she registered and it’s really nice! There was a pop-up shop of Oiselle gear, but we were heading to the store so we continued on.

From the hotel we took another taxi to the Oiselle flagship store in University Village and got down to business, aka shopping.

I wanna make this!

We hit Lulu as well (more success), and then took Whitney’s first ever Uber ride to our AirBnB in Fremont! She looooved it and on the way we enjoyed howling with laughter at the shirtless frat boys playing beer pong on a patio. LOL. ‘Murica.

I’m not going to get into too many details about our accomodation, but it wasn’t exactly what was expected. Shirley the dog greeted us along side our host, and let’s just say the house smelled strongly of Shirley and looked like a chaotic vintage museum…BUT, it was a fifteen minute walk from Gasworks Park where the race started and finished, the neighborhood was awesome, and the place was fabulous in its own ways, as was our host, Lisa. 🙂 Oh, it was also steps from the Fremont Troll. Ahh. Next, pizza time at Tutta Bella and early bed time!

On Saturday we were up at six to get the day rolling. WOOOOO RACE MORNING SO EFFING FUN!!!!!!!! I was so pumped to rock the Volée singlet for this race! Breakfast was a mocha protein shake, banana, melon and bakery biscuit, and then we put on our bibs and fake tats and hit the road on foot to Gasworks Park. I brought a disposable bottle of Nuun with me for the walk.

What a sweet place for pre and post race! This park is beautiful! It has a great view of Lake Union and surrounds the remains of an old gas plant! The weather was cooperative too. This is NOT my pic, obviously, but here’s Gasworks.

I met the Canadian Volée members for a team pic and then Whitney and I went into the stage area to join in the warmup, lead by some guys from Kinetic Sports Rehab. The warm up was full, fun and people were into it, and then it was time to make our way to the starting area!

 

Volee Canada!

The start was self-seeding based on the min/mile pace a participant planned to run. I squeezed in a little ways behind the 8 min/mile sign and then chatted with Shannon from the Washington Volée and listened to the music blasting. No throwaway clothing was needed, not cold at all. It was a narrow mass start of all the 10k and 10mi runners (about 1200 people) which made the first 100m or so fairly congested, but after that it was smooth with lots of room. This course is not flat, but I would not call it “hilly” by any means and in my personal opinion as a Rupert Runner, there were zero significant hills. I can see how someone from a very flat area could find this course a bit hilly, so please keep in mind my opinion of the profile is subjective to where I live! In the last few hundred metres of the 10 mile route we had to run around a big grassy knoll, up and down some very short but steep hills (you can see it in the pic of the park) but I still didn’t find it “hilly”. It was great! My Garmin registered an elevation gain of 66m.

route

There were just a few water stations but that seemed adequate, a few small but inspiring cheer stations with lots of cowbell, and enough course directors and arrow markers (big bright stickers on the ground) to keep things organized. The route was really nice, and running over the bridges was soooo sweeeeet. The out and back portion of the 10mi course was on a bike path and I enjoyed seeing other runners both ahead of me and behind me, and hearing and giving encouragement.

Finishing in the park was so perfect! The short but steep hills around the grassy knoll seemed so cruel at the 10 mile mark of the race but I joked about it with the volunteers who were giving us our last directions. Whitney and my friend Justin were both at the finish when I crossed and we got a pic with the amazing COWBELL medals!!!!!

This was a race size that made it easy to find someone you were looking for and easy to get a Porta potty. It wasn’t overwhelming, but there were enough runners to create a really good vibe! The DJ was WICKED and I’m pretty sure he was playing Ma$e and Nelly just for Whitney and I while we hydrated, snacked on donuts and Picky Bars, Snapchatted like it was going out of style and stretched in the stage area.

#weartheloveCS

ahhhhhh!!

We stuck around for about half of the awards announcements which were hosted by Oiselle founder and CEO, Sally Bergensen, and Oiselle’s “master of shenanigans” Dr. Sarah Lesko. It was nice that the announcements started promptly at 9:30; there wasn’t much waiting around at all. One thing that will stay with me forever, was when Sally said that “everyone is invited, but you are the ones who showed up“.  It’s true. We showed up to race and be awesome and did just that. Official chip time results were accesible on multiple computers available to the runners which was so convenient, so we got our results and then took the walk back to our place to clean up and chill out.

I am happy with the race I ran! Although I didn’t do a very good job at pacing (went out too fast in the first kilometers, sagged in the middle, wasn’t able to shit-kick the end..) I am still content with my overall time and that I felt strong during almost all of the race. I din’t have any soreness or injuries, gut issues or any other unwanted suprises while running. Also, I experienced what I needed to to really understand the importance of holding back at the beginning! As for hydration, next time I’ll run with my handheld water bottle because I’ve decided I officially dislike drinking from the little cups and always spill all over myself and swallow air or choke!

What I gather from talking to other runners is that the results look a tiny bit fast..most people said their official time was close to a minute faster than Garmin time, which was true for me too… but we go with official results! Hahaha so here is how I fared and I am very good with it, and feeling stoked to make a precise pacing plan with Coach Andrew for Calgary in less than FIVE weeks!!!!!!

Whitney and I spent the rest of the weekend winning the tourist Olympics! We ate everything, went to Pike Place (and of course the first Starbucks), met Loounch the Bull Terrier, gave REI all of our money and then wrapped up our day with the most delicious Caribbean sandwiches at Paseo and then gelato at the Fainting Goat, all in Fremont. You need to go there! Also highly recommend Roxy’s Diner for brunch, which is where we ate on Sunday morning! Our final Uber ride back to SeaTac from Fremont was about thirty bucks.

The weekend in Seattle for the Tenacious Ten was SO good. Weather was awesome, Uber’ing around was simple, the race was a wicked experience and the “tourist Olympics” was a success! I would definitely recommend the Tenacious Ten to anyone in the area or anyone with a special place in their heart for Oiselle and/or Seattle. The race is quite small and many people only like to travel to massive events, but I will return to this race again if my schedule permits it!! Excellent vibes and lots of girl power, even though it’s a co-ed event!

training recap Apr. 10th – 16th

MONDAY April 10th

Recovery day from Rupert 1/2… much needed! Lots of stretching.

TUESDAY April 11th

8km easy – spent the first few kilometres literally trying to get away from a cute little dog who wouldn’t stop following me! I liked running with him but didn’t want him to get too far from wherever it is he lives..

WEDNESDAY April 12th

30 min of strength and stretching because that’s just all that happened

THURSDAY April 13th

Track workout! – 3km easy, 6×800 & 2×400 with 90 min rests, 2km easy

Omg. Kicked my ass. Need to work on pace consistency on the intervals, but awesome workout and really good confidence builder!

FRIDAY April 14th

Planed: 6.5 km easy with strides at the end

I didn’t read the file so ended up just running 4 easy miles… duh

SATURDAY April 15th

14km as workout – 4 mi (6.44km) easy, 4 mi working hard towards threshhold, 3 min rest, 1km hard

Awesome run!! I sometimes wish really badly that we had a 4 or 5 mile FLAT spot in town or on the highway, but this is not the case…BUT it’s great training so whatever. That was hard. Last kilometer was more like “whatever I had left” combined with a brutal side cramp that came out of nowhere on the 3 minute rest but oh well! Feeling ready to race next Saturday!

SUNDAY April 16th

60 min crosstrain planned, opted for a recovery pace trail run with husband and we walked the steep hills to really keep it easy and the heart rate low

look closely, there’s Kane

This week felt like a blur. I have been completely preoccupied with the Boston Marathon and all the coverage happening for the race, which takes place tomorrow! Speaking of the Boston Marathon, it’s basically my ultimate dream above all else to qualify and run it…

2019. That’s the plan. I am going to make that happen. Mark my words.

 

ONE week out from the Tenacious Ten!!!

oiselle

SIX weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

calg

 

My Interview with Kate from The Sober School <3

In early 2016, I was amongst the first group of students to complete an online course created by Kate, creator of The Sober School, called Getting Unstuck.  I’ve mentioned this course before, and The Sober School and Kate, and how much participating in the program helped me when I decided I didn’t want to drink alcohol anymore.

There are now multiple groups of people who have completed this course and Kate is really on a roll with her program, it’s amazing!!! She is adding a mini interview series to the Getting Unstuck course. Every Sunday, part of the lesson will involve an interview with a graduate of the course, talking about their experience of sobriety. I feel really proud that she picked me as one of the people to interview and it was really interesting answering the questions. Revisiting this stuff was pretty cool after almost 500 days! Here’s what we talked about.

This is Kate!

Kate: How were you feeling about your drinking before you joined the course, and what made you decide it was time to stop?

Jamie: “Before joining the Getting Unstuck course, I felt like I had serious issues with alcohol and I was stuck in a vicious cycle that I wanted to break for a really long time. Over ten years. When I drank I’d adopt a “YOLO, who f*ckin cares” attitude and disregard everything: next-day responsibilities, money, my physical and mental health, relationships with friends, family and significant other. Priorities temporarily didn’t exist. I also had a lot of friendships that weren’t really based on anything except drinking.

Then, when I wasn’t drunk anymore I’d be totally swallowed up by loneliness because a lot of the “fun” I’d been having was fake. I’d experience extreme guilt, anxiety, depression and shame and reality would set in and those priorities that went out the window mattered again, and my life would feel out of control. I would have physical symptoms like nausea, shakiness, acid reflux, dizziness, low blood sugar, irritability, etc and I would tell myself I had to stop treating my body and mind this way. I felt needy and paranoid about the tiniest things when I was hungover and I would research how to quit drinking all the time but never found anything relatable until I found Kate’s blog.

I knew it was time to stop for a long time, but then I basically wrecked Christmas and had to sit and deal with myself for 8 hours at work on Boxing Day and it was actual torture. I finally decided enough was enough and took some action.”

Kate: What was early sobriety like? How did you feel during the first month or so?

Jamie: “At first I was obsessed. I’m like that though, I usually approach new things 100%, not sure if that’s healthy or not, but whatever, it was the way I knew I could succeed. I read Kate and Belle’s blogs all day, every day when I wasn’t busy doing other things, and I went on Amazon and bought a bunch of books. I also went out and did a big grocery shop to stock my new non-alcoholic beverage cabinet at our house. I read every article I could find about non-alcoholic drinks and I was meticulous about planning out the social events I was going to go to and what I’d bring with me to drink. Non-alcoholic beer was pretty much my saviour. I went out sometimes, but I usually went home early when I was feeling awkward or annoyed by drunk people, or if I noticed that the situation was genuinely not that fun..which I’ve found happens a lot!

I made sure my now-husband knew how serious I was about this sober mission. It helped that I simultaneously started training for my first full marathon and I used that as a way to get people off my back when they’d ask why I wasn’t drinking. The first month or so it was a project that I was fully engaged in and committed to. I had to be excited about it or it would be a chore and I’d have failed like I did a hundred times before. Every time I arrived home sober it was a win. And every morning I woke up without a hangover was one too. Once it became more natural, it was a little anti-climactic because I no longer had to focus all my energy on being sober. I had gained some momentum. But I adapted, obviously,, and transferred my focus to the bigger picture of my life and what I wanted to do with it. Hands down, planning what to drink instead of booze was the number one thing that helped me at first and still does.”

Kate: What’s life like now?! What do you love most about alcohol-free living?

Jamie: “Now, I feel like my life is what I wanted it to be like before I quit booze. It’s what I was looking for but never found long-term. I would drink for all sorts of reasons that I didn’t recognize at the time, like to feel confident, free, alive, pumped up, to “give zero f*cks”, be funny, social, etc. Once I figured out that I didn’t need liquor for any of those things it was like a light bulb went on.

Everything is more authentic now. I hang out with people I can have good conversations with, I do my favourite things with a clear head and not feeling like shit, and I’m generally just a way more efficient person with way more time and money. What I love most for sure is that I never ever feel guilty and depressed about being irresponsible the night before and spending too much money and treating my body like a garbage can. And I feel like I’m way more grounded. Life is just really good.”

Kate: What sober tools are in your toolbox? How do you deal with emotions or situations that you might have previously drunk over?

Jamie: “The most important tool I learned is playing out the situation to the end when I feel like drinking. Asking myself, “do you really want to wake up tomorrow dehydrated with all your makeup still on and a smaller bank account, a migraine, nausea, the shakes and on the verge of an anxiety attack all day long?” NO, I don’t. My other tools are non-alcoholic beer and virgin Caesars as my go-to drinks, or soda with lemon. Drink something you like! Another tool is I buy something I want and then remind myself: this costs the same amount as a night out back in the day, but this is useful and will last – not get guzzled away. Rewards are important. It’s also really fun to get ready to go out and wear something new and remind myself that I’ll look healthy, happy and my makeup will be good the whole evening instead of gradually getting smudgy, getting a red face, wine lips and droopy eyes and looking like a trainwreck by midnight and possibly embarrass myself or do something I’ll regret.

When it comes to emotions, I no longer have such extreme emotional experiences as I used to when I was drinking all the time. I feel more grounded and resilient as a whole. But when I do have a shit day or something stressful or overwhelming is happening, I usually just go for a run or have a nap or talk about it with a friend or my husband. Getting drunk and postponing dealing with things is WAY worse than just taking a deep breath and handling it head-on and in my right mind.”

Kate: What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve had to deal with since you stopped drinking? How did you overcome it?

Jamie: “The biggest challenge was initiating the decision and sticking to it at the beginning. Change is really hard. That involved learning about why I thought I wanted/needed to drink.  Nowadays, very rarely, when it randomly feels like summer or I smell campfire and get caught off guard, I get a random urge to start day drinking or “get f*cked up” but then I think rationally about it and I’m like wait, that’s just an old reflex, no I don’t. Gaining momentum at the begining was hard because it was new and different. People question you. I still question myself. Occasionally I have moments where I think, am I missing out and being antisocial because I’m chilling at home on this particular Saturday night?? I have felt unsure and sad for a split second, but then I remind myself of how good my life is and I get over that moment of uncertainty. I socialize in tons of other ways and I still go to parties when I feel like it!

These days I don’t really feel like there are many challenges. It’s simple now because it makes sense. I don’t enjoy feeling like shit! Sobriety is like a secret weapon that makes my life amazing and no one can take it away from me. When people ask me if I’ll ever drink again, I don’t even think twice about saying no. It actually makes zero sense to me now, to drink alcohol. It serves me in zero ways.”

Kate: Tell us about something wonderful that would never have happened if you’d still been drinking!

Jamie: “I wouldn’t have run 3 full marathons (so far!) and be training for my 4th with the goal of breaking 4 hours this time! I wouldn’t have the healthiest, most amazing marriage I can imagine. I wouldn’t have a life that feels good, manageable and organized the majority of the time. I wouldn’t have the opportunity to be a role model for other people who are or were in my previous situation. OH and I wouldn’t have taken my best 2 vacations of my life so far; a week long health retreat in the Mayan Riviera, and Walt Disney Marathon Weekend in Florida.”

Kate: Do you have any tips or advice for people taking the Getting Unstuck course right now? What do you wish you’d known, when you were on the course?

Jamie: “My advice is to commit to it fully and even if one of the exercises or discussions doesn’t feel important or relevant to you, just go with it because it’s all valuable. What I wish I’d known when I was doing the course was that one day I’d be proud of what I was doing, and not unsure and embarrassed. But all of that comes in time.”

Kate: a few quick-fire questions:

My favourite sober book is…”Unwasted – My Lush Sobriety by Sacha Z. Scoblic”

My favourite quote is … “always changing, but I love quotes about running from amazing female elite marathoners like Kara Goucher, Deena Kastor, Shalane Flanagan, Paula Radcliffe, etc”

My favourite alcohol-free drink is…. “Virgin Caesars and fake beer! Ginger beer too, and a super easy one is soda with lemon.”

My favourite sober treat is … “online shopping for running gear, fancy baths with candles and essential oils and a good book or Instagram, going on running trips to out of town races!”

🙂

 

WOW!! I loved answering these questions and being so sure about my answers. I remember sitting at work on Boxing Day 2015 wishing that I could fast-forward to a time where everything felt better and I felt healthy and grounded. In about a month it will have been 500 days since I had any alcohol at all, and it seems to have flown by, looking back. If you relate to anything you’ve read here, I encourage you to check out Kate’s website, The Sober School. It is awesome. And if you have any questions or need a hand, contact me!

@jammiekomadina

training recap April 3rd-9th & the Prince Rupert Half Marathon!

MONDAY April 3rd

8km easy – Grand Trunk Pathway in Terrace BC, gorgeous TANK TOP weather!

TUESDAY April 4th

Planned: speed workout – 3km easy, [4x2km intervals with 2 min rests,] 3km easy

This was a hard day for me and I’m sad to say I quit early. It just wasn’t happening, I got to the second interval and after a long internal argument I jumped onto the side rails and called it quits. I planned to try again later at the track, but then opted for an easy 8km with my Tenacious 10 partner Whitney.

At the end of the day, I really wished I could have given those intervals another go, but after the first attempt which was about 6km, + the 8km with Whit, I was tired so I slept. In the grand scheme of things, will this affect my performance at my #1 goal race of the season, the Calgary Marathon? Probably not. Coach said it’s all good. Hoping for a confidence booster from my next hard workout which comes on Friday. Moving on!

WEDNESDAY April 5th

Non-running day! One hour of easy yoga was my intention, but that didn’t happen. TJess and Michelle, the PR 1/2 + 8K race directors, myself and Emma were busy putting race packets together and getting organized for Sunday.

Oh OMG  and my TREADMILL was delivered today!!!! I wish I was equally as excited to assemble it…

race prep!

THURSDAY April 6th

6 miles easy at Lakelse Lake! One of my favourite places on Earth ❤ felt good, but slightly heavy. Look at this place!

FRIDAY April 7th

8 mile out-and-back: 4 out, controlled & easy, 4 back @ threshhold pace

The 4 miles back felt impossible. Took a couple breathers which discouraged me, but all in all an excellent workout.

SATURDAY April 8th

Planned: 14 miles (22.5km) nice and easy. Coach Andrew changed this to 10 miles on Friday night due to the struggle on Friday and the half-marathon on Sunday. It was definitely smart and worked in my favour. We are also going to Skype next week and talk about dialing back the weekly mileage just slightly, since the last increase has seemed to cause quite a bit of fatigue.

Ran with my girls Sam and Jess. Jess is co-director of the race this Sunday here where we live, and training for her first half on May 7th! She’s running the BMO Vancouver half and it’s a REALLY good one! I hope the weather for her is better than it was for me in 2014. This run felt great. Amaaaazing sleep on Friday night!!! Then we headed to the Civic Centre for race registration and packet pickup.

SUNDAY April 9th

Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon! I planned to run to be part of the day and our running community. Running by feel was the plan since it hasn’t been a goal race, and I’ve had some pretty burnt-out feeling workouts lately. We met early, set up the awards area and then headed out the highway to set up the race course.

Coach didn’t delete the training run on Saturday to accomodate this race. Saturday & Sunday combined serve as a long run; a high mileage weekend in preparation for the Calgary Marathon!

BUT, it was one of those perfect days and everything felt amazing. I felt rested and excited but calm at the same time, and I ended up just shy of a SEVEN minute PR in the half marathon distance!!! BEYOND PUMPED!!!! Such a great check-in with training progress and a crazy confidence booster for my two upcoming goal races. Could not be happier!!

I have mixed feelings about racing on the highway here where we live, because it’s where every single long run happens every single weekend! Our races are also very small, which obviously feels different than a massive event. This time, however, I tried to see it as a good thing, knowing the course inside out, instead of thinking about it as a drag, knowing where all my least favourite or most challenging segments are. I also reminded myself that I race against myself, and that can be done in any setting.

As commonly happens, myself and many others went out from the starting line a little too quick, but I was super conscious of this and started to hold back soon after starting, to get my heart rate and lungs under control along the first incline. I like to use the McMillan Running Calculator to get a rough idea of the pace I should be okay to run on a day when everything is feeling good, and that was a 5:16/km so I stuck around 5:20 for the first third of the course since everything was feeling REALLY good!!! The “big hill” which is what you see in the middle of the course, is a doozie. Going down is great, and I was sitting at a 5:15 average pace after going down it, but after the halfway turn-around I refused to look at my watch going up that hill. I told myself to just run by feel and keep pushing and doing my best, and that I was allowed to look at the overall average pace once the course had levelled out again for a bit!

I worked my way back to a 5:19/km average by about 17km and then during the last 4ish kilometeres there are some decent declines, and I found some extra gas and kept at it really strong. I just about caught up to the two girls in first place, and in the last 800m or so I tossed my water bottle and literally bolted to chase them down. I can’t believe my 21km split was 4:11 ahaha what the!?

Stealing the win didn’t happen, but that was truly my best effort and I have NO REGRETS, which is a powerful mental tool I’ve learned from following Kelly Roberts. Our club was gracious enough to award TWO gold medals to Erin and Jessie, who finished holding hands and tied for the female winners, so I ended up with silver!!!!!! WOOOOOO!

myself and Jessie, one of the TWO gold medal winners!!

I have never run that pace for that long and I feel really good about this!!! Bring on the next races!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing Sunday to finish off a week that felt slightly shakey. I can’t wait for Seattle in less than 2 weeks!

 

Two weeks out from the Tenacious Ten!

oiselle

Seven weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

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A Rookie’s Guide to the Rupert 8K Road Race and 8 reasons to participate!

First and foremost, let’s get something straight – the term “race” can be very intimidating for anyone who isn’t super competitive, experienced or confident in the activity at hand. BUT, what many new runners aren’t aware of, is that “race day” is totally synonymous with “an exciting, organized running event with high energy and community atmosphere that gives the runner an opportunity to push a little more than usual and prove to themself how physically strong and self-willed they can be.” So, going forward, let’s just call it a running EVENT. 🙂

This Sunday, April 9th, is the Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon, two-person 1/2 Marathon Relay, and 8K Road Race hosted by Rupert Runners. You can find everything you need to know by clicking the link, but for extra simplicity, HERE is the registration form! Both routes are out-and-back, 21.1km course starts at 1pm and 8km course starts at 2pm. The reason this post is focusing on the 8K distance in particular is because as you may or may not know, the Learn to Run Clinic has been in full swing now for seven weeks, and eight kilometres may now be a very realistic distance for participants to tackle, whether it’s running, run/walk intervals, or even signing up with the intention to walk and testing out a few short jogs along the way. That’s right, WALKERS ARE WELCOME! Come one, come all. Also, lots of other runners are coming out of their winter hibernation and 8k is a sweet distance if you aren’t down to run a half marathon at this point or split it with someone.

So, what can one expect if deciding to participate? First, I advise you to register before hand. This simplifies things for you, and it’s a huge help for the event directors and volunteers. This form can be filled out and given with cash or cheque made out to Rupert Runners to any of the club execs, dropped off on Tuesday or Thursday this week between 5 – 5:15pm at the CHSS track before Learn to Run starts (even if you aren’t participating) or, you can mail it in. There will also be an in-person sign up and bib/shirt pick-up from 10am-noon at the Civic Centre this Saturday, April 8th, the day before the event.  All runners who register before Sunday will be entered to win this Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap for yourself or to give away as a gift. #swag

Once you’re all signed up, you can relax until Saturday, go down to the Civic Centre between 10-noon and pick up your bib and souvenir shirt, or you can get it on race day. Again, it’s easier for you and everyone else to grab your stuff before the day of the event. If you don’t live in Prince Rupert, see you Sunday!

Sunday Runday!

The 8K begins at 2pm on Sunday, so sometime prior to that you’ll decide what you want to wear on your run, taking the weather into consideration and planning to leave something in your vehicle/a friend’s vehicle for after you finish. You may want to bring your own water bottle too, even though there will be water and snacks provided after. There is a big awards ceremony for overall and category winners, plus TONS of door prizes, so stick around! Once your body cools down you’ll want a hoodie or jacket, and maybe some sweats. When you’ve decided what top you’d like to run in, you’ll pin your bib onto the FRONT of your shirt (or shorts/pants if you prefer.) The bib goes on the front because as you are finishing the course, the volunteers in charge of timing need to be able to see it. Four safety pins will be provided to you.

Bibs also make good keepsakes!

Other things to pay attention to on Sunday are staying hydrated before and after you run, and eating something decent a few hours before hand. And use the bathroom before, washrooms available inside the Lester Centre as well as the Civic Centre.

Since the 1/2 marathon and relay start first, at 1pm, this is a great opportunity to get down to the Lester Centre (where it all starts) nice and early to give yourself time to take in the energy of the event, yell really loud as 1/2 runners take off, chat with your friends, and warm up. Oh, and to park, if you’re driving. Please, don’t think that warming up for a race means you are “super hardcore” and trying to win or break records or something. Warming up is necessary to prevent injury, feel ready, and so that you don’t give your body a rude awakening sending it from resting to a high heart-rate in just a few seconds! Try an easy little jog part way down Wantage Rd or even in the Lester Centre parking lot, then twirl the ankles, try some leg swings front to back and side to side while hanging on to something for support, the runners’ warmup that Kerrie demonstrates sometimes, and then some stretching is okay after your muscles are no longer cold.

When 2pm approaches, 8K participants gather in the little undercover drop-off area right in front of the Lester Center main entrance. This is the same place the first race started, so if you are there early you can see how it goes down, but it’s nothing fancy or complicated whatsoever. You’ll see a giant timing clock set up and cones and volunteers in vests. Once you begin, you’ll be running out onto the highway keeping to the right side of the road, and staying on that side after turning around at the 4km half-way point, which is just a little further than the turn off to the Industrial Site. There is no crossing of the highway. WOOO. If you think you’re nervous, try converting it to excited.

 

The Course!

Think of this course as SIX parts. Six manageable chunks, many of which you have already run if you take part in Learn to Run. /  \  /  \  /  \

 

1/6: Lester Centre to BCHydro

  • not the time to giver’, this is a time to see how you feel, settle in, find your breath
  • yes, it starts on an uphill, but you got it

first part

nice work Cookie aka Superman [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

2/6: Hydro to the SPCA

  • downhill, yayaa
  • if you’re feeling a little out of breath from that first incline, this is a great place to let your heart rate and breathing stabilize. Relax. This is fun. Unclench your jaw and fists haha.

8k

enjoying the descent! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

3/6: SPCA to the half-way turnaround point

  • there is a water station here! Have some! and thank the volunteers 🙂
  • if you are in Learn to Run, you’ve already run this hill! Yep, you did it last Tuesday! I was there.
  • think about maintaining your effort level, not your pace. Shorten your stride slightly and use your arms to work your way up the hill.
  • keep a tall posture, don’t hunch – it squishes your lungs

4/6: Half-way mark back down to the SPCA

  • turn around and run back down that glorious hill you just tackled!!
  • look around, take it in. We live in a beautiful place! and this is fun.
  • stay in control of your body on the downhill. Engage your core.

5/6: SPCA to Hydro

  • This is a sneaky hill, not steep, but still a hill. You can do this. Clinic runners have already defeated this hill. I was there.
  • Tell yourself it’s the last uphill
  • Once you get to that Hydro turn off, which is now on your left, it’s all downhill to the finish-line.

coming back

6/6: Ya buddy. Back to the Lester Centre! DOWNHILL TO THE FINISH!!!

  • getter done
  • smile! Phuong will probably be taking pics!
  • be proud of yourself!

race

half marathon finisher killin’ it [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

Cross the finish line, which is exactly where you started, and keep moving so you don’t get in the way of any runners behind you. Make your way to some water and a snack. Take some pics! Do some stretching, walk around, and find those warm clothes you packed for after you finished kicking ass. That’s right, YOU KICK ASS!

 

Jamie’s 8 Reasons to Run the PR 8K Road Race

  1. Because you are stronger than you think.
  2. To be part of a community event
  3. To get some exercise
  4. There are over $1500 worth of really awesome door prizes! (local too)
  5. Get out of your comfort zone, it’s good for us! Do something different
  6. To feel proud and ride an endorphin-high ALL day on Monday
  7. Do something outdoors now that Spring is here
  8. WHY NOT?

 

If you have any questions that this post isn’t answering, contact me! Hope to see you on Sunday! If you know anyone who may benefit from reading this, please share! And one more time, here is the registration form 🙂

prhalf

cross your fingers for weather like 2016! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

Why Oiselle is Awesome (+training Recap Mar. 27-Apr.2)

So, see this racing singlet? I’m pumped to race in it going forward and to rep this company because they are wicked! Oiselle is a Seattle-based running apparel company established in 2007. The apparel is made by and for women athletes. and they’re brand is about success not just in athletics, but in life! Oiselle’s mission is to build a family, or sisterhood of support, at all levels from beginner to pro. It’s always growing, and part of that sisterhood is the Oiselle Volée, which is the team of amateur runners I’m now part of and what the singlet above represents. “We are only as strong as the bonds we build. We work hard to raise the bar in terms of how women support other women, fostering strength and leadership – not just through healthy competition but in daily actions, big and small.” Oiselle encourages savouring wins, owning losses, speaking up for what we believe in, supporting each other and setting big goals and going for them, hard. “Go fast, take chances.” They also have a professional team made up of incredible women who are are making a difference in the world of athletics (girl crush, Kara Goucher), AND a team of emerging elite female athletes who make up the Haute Volée team. These ladies are working hard to compete at the highest level of their sports and have the support of Oiselle and the Volée along their journeys.

The reason I chose to join the Volée is because some of the things I believe in most (goal setting, growth, pushing our limits, running as a way of life, women building each other up, equality, etc) line up exactly with the messages that Oiselle conveys. I can’t even wait to head to Seattle in three weeks for the Tenacious Ten, which is presented by Oiselle, and to run in this girl-power event with my friend Whitney and a bazillion other people who care about all the stuff Oiselle represents! And to wear the freakin racing shirt!!!!

I should probably mention that their gear is the best. Just don’t order lots at once or you will get unpleasantly suprised with duty charges from Canadian customs..

Favourites: mini stride shorts, new satellite tank, flyte tank and flyte long sleeve. I find the bottoms fit big, so I order a size down than usual.

 

Weekly Training Recap

MONDAY March 27th

Planned: 4k EZ, 3k hill climb @5% with max heart-rate goal, 4k EZ

Actual: 4k EZ, 3k hill climb w/ a couple breaks and trying not to die, 3k struggle shuffle

this day was the final evidence of some burnout happening, I let Coach Andrew know and we planned the following three days SUPER easy and a Skype for the following morning

TUESDAY March 28th

Skype with Coach! Aside from talking about resting, we are planning some fun stuff for the Fall marathon training cycle in preparation for the California International Marathon in December; things like REALLY “scary” goals and lots of coverage of the process, training plans if you want to join in and run this race (excellent choice for a first marathon, they even have their own first-timers program) and tons of training tips to follow along with and get to know Coach Andrew and the rest of the crew at Lifelong Endurance!

Hard nap.

11.84km easy – average heart-rate 150
5.5km on my own, a little >6km with the Learn to Run Clinic (10min run/1 min walk)

stretching

WEDNESDAY March 29th

60 minutes in the pool + stretching + many naps

I don’t trust the swim data – I was indoors!

THURSDAY March 30th

more naps

11.7km easy total – some hard hills, HR wasn’t as low, but kept it easy effort

8km on my own + just under 4km with the Learn to Run Clinic

FRIDAY March 31st

back in the game! Timed intervals, sooooo sweaty!

“I was just going really fast” face

3k super easy warm-up, [4x 5 min @ 7:35/mi, 3 min recovery jogs], 3k cool down – amazing. Felt strong af.

 

SATURDAY April 1st

Long run as workout: 16km (10 miles)
3mi easy, 2mi fast, 2mi easy, 2mi faster, 1mi closing hard

Pit stop at the end of the 3 mile warmup, looks like I stopped completely when I turned around at halfway, and then quick calf stretch and had to grab my headband off a post at around 8 miles because I was overheating from the start and ditched it earlier because it’s SPRING NOW WOO! No gloves today, either! I’d love to run this workout on 10 miles of flat, but we must work with what we have.

SUNDAY April 2nd

Easy 8km along the 8k road race route next weekend! 

Great week!!! Local race coming up next weekend for me! The Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon (& 8k), which follows a 14 mile (22.5km) training run on the Saturday, so we will see what happens!
 

Three weeks out from the Tenacious Ten in Seattle!

oiselle

Eight weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

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