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Lindsay on the Run

Chasing finish lines one step at a time

A Letter to #MyFutureSelf: Embrace the Journey

Inspired by Jayme and the New Balance Time Capsule initiative, I’m writing a letter to my future self. In a year, New Balance will return the email back to me, so I can see how far I’ve come.

Lindsay,

10 years ago you went for “your first run”. Remember when you had to stop after a couple hundred metres? Back when running 5 km felt like running a marathon? Those days are what have led you to where you are now. Today. You will have run the Boston Marathon (!), the New York City Marathon and the 10k at Ottawa Race Weekend in the Elite field (!!). That’s a lot to accomplish in 10 years. Especially for someone who said they’d never run a marathon, let alone qualify for Boston ~10 months after having a baby, and during your first marathon, where you were still recovering from an injury.

In those 10 years, you gave birth to two beautiful babies, and suffered the loss of two babies you never got to meet. Your strength, resilience and dedication to everything you do in life is something you should be so proud of. You are still too hard on yourself. It’s ok to not be perfect. You don’t have to worry about letting anyone down. You could fall flat on your face during a race and everyone would still be proud of you. You inspire your children and demonstrate to them the importance of being passionate about something in life and that hard work truly pays off. You still have big goals and dreams, and even faster times that you are chasing, but don’t get hung up on that. Enjoy the run. Embrace the good and the bad days. Don’t feel guilty about running on your treadmill most of the winter.

Running has brought so many incredible people into your life. Some you haven’t even met in person, but the bond and friendships are like none other. Running is such a big part of who you are as a person. It makes you happy. It has given you so much – and running knows that you appreciate it too. There are BIG things on the horizon for you, and in so many ways, you are just getting started.

Always keep dreaming big.

#MyFutureSelf

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Running Gear: Saucony Shoes

When people come to me for running shoe advice, I give them a warning before giving them a response, because I feel like I could talk about running shoes for hours. There are so many different things you have to consider when buying the right shoe for yourself and the way you run. I go through a lot of shoes, and have tried many different brands, finally landing on the perfect shoes for me when it comes to racing and training.

Running shoes are so important. I strongly recommend getting a gait analysis done to find out what you need to focus on when looking for a running shoe that fits the way you run. I also recommend rotating a couple of pairs at a time. After my SI Joint injury, I learned I needed a shoe with more cushioning and support, and I have found that my hips/pelvis area have been better protected by wearing a shoe that fit my changing needs as a post-baby mother runner.

Here are my current go-to shoes:

Saucony Type A – Racing Shoe

I love how light these shoes are. They are like feathers and they pack a ton of pop. They are a perfect match for the way that I run. I haven’t raced longer than a half marathon in them, but they were perfect for racing on smooth, paved surfaces. I also love the colour. If you know me, the brighter the better when it comes to all of my running gear. I wear these shoes when racing on paved surfaces, as well as during some longer training runs that I use as “race day rehearsals”.

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Saucony Ride 9 – Training Shoe

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I have to thank the friendly folks at Saucony Canada for introducing me to the Ride 9s. Saucony Canada sent me a pair after my BQ at the Ottawa Marathon and I was immediately hooked. They were a bit heavier than the type of shoe I was use to wearing, but this is also because I was training in shoes that were intended for racing. I needed more support in a training shoe if I wanted to prevent injury and keep my mileage up, and this shoe checked off all of those boxes – and then some! Once I got use to wearing a more supportive shoe, I realized that they actually weren’t that heavy at all.

I purchased another pair of Ride 9s when the Saucony Run Pops became available in Canada. They are lime green and the colour is so bright – I absolutely love them. I raced in them recently because the course has multiple terrains. They were perfect and I managed a massive 1/2 marathon PR in them.

I also want to try out the Saucony Fastwitch and the Saucony Kinvara 7 (Race Day Red is calling my name!).

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Getting Real About my Marathon Training Fears

I’ve reached a point in my training for Boston that leaves me constantly questioning myself and honestly, feeling scared. When I was training for the 2016 Ottawa Marathon, I only made it to week 7 of an 18 week training plan before being sidelined with an injury. I was cleared to run 4 weeks before race day, and due to the injury, those last 4 weeks were mostly to get some more miles on my legs each day. I ran a 20km run to round out the second week of my return, and then a 30km run to round out the 3rd week. It was that 30km run that was the deciding factor for me and whether or not the marathon was still within my grasp. I remember running it at a 4:48/km average pace and making the decision that both the marathon and my hopes of qualifying for Boston were still somewhat reasonable. Although my training for that race wasn’t ideal, and far from what I expected, the outcome was exactly what I wanted.

This time around, I’m training for my second marathon – the BOSTON MARATHON (!!!). Today was a rest day and consisted of Addaday rollers and Jasyoga. I also spent a lot of time staring at my training plan. When I first printed the plan – the same 18 week plan I had for Ottawa – I couldn’t help but keep focusing on the little asterisk I had placed in the box for the training week where I got injured the first time around. Sidenote: why did I ever add that to the training plan?!?!

I scratch off the box after completing each workout. This time, I’ve scratched off a lot of boxes after the one that contains that asterisk. But I think I have realized why I feel hesitant, or that something is just going to blindside me.

To be honest, I feel like I did when I was pregnant with Lennon. Holding my breath, waiting for bad news. After the two miscarriages before getting pregnant with Lennon, once I got pregnant again, I held my breath and was scared for a long time. After the eight week mark, which was the point where I suffered each miscarriage, I literally crossed off each day further that I made it in that pregnancy. I often tell people that it wasn’t until week 35 of my pregnancy that I finally allowed myself to embrace the excitement and finally feel calm, knowing my baby was on the way. With this training cycle, I held my breath until week 7 and wanted to see how much further I could get.

This time, it’s not a baby, but a marathon. One that means so much to me that it hurts. I am on the tail end of peak training, with this week being the second of my 70mi training weeks. The rest of the plan is fairly smooth sailing. I often forget to give myself credit for the work I’ve done this time around to actually prevent an injury from happening – making the time for recovery, strengthening, following through with massage, chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments. I’m still trying to figure out the best marathon training cadence for me. I’m still new to the distance. I worry that my body will be too tired on race day. I worry that the 6 full weeks off from running during that first cycle of training is what allowed me to achieve my goal. Should I be running more? Should I be cutting back a bit more? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers, so I’m relying on my body to let me know. So far, so good.

 

Rolling with Addaday

In March 2016 I was part way through training for my first marathon. I was registered to run the 2016 Ottawa Marathon at the end of May. It was roughly 6 months after having Lennon and I was still nursing her (nonstop) – and running 90+km weeks. I was neglecting recovery and strengthening because I simply didn’t have time (or so I thought). I learned the hard way that these things are just as crucial as the miles we run.

I ended up injured – jolted my pelvis hopping off a curb and landing funny, but also with a SI joint sprain, which was discovered once the swelling subsided and my pelvis was regaining mobility. During this time I was on a heavy rotation of PT, Chiro, massage, mobility routine, strengthening exercises, icing, epsom salt baths, etc. I took this opportunity to learn more about what I needed to do in order to make it to the starting line and actually finish a marathon.

One of the things I discovered during this time was foam rolling. To be honest, I struggled with it and found it difficult to tell if I was doing it properly or not. Then I came across the rollers from Addaday and I was hooked – and my body has been appreciative, as I’m currently part way through training for marathon #2 – Boston!

Here are the Addaday rollers I currently have an what I like about each of them:

Type C

The Addaday Type C roller is my favourite out of the ones I’ve tried so far. I use this one everyday to roll out all areas of my legs, and if my husband is around, I get him to help roll out some parts of my back. The red roller on this one is an important piece – it really digs deep and you can feel it working. I adjust the amount of pressure I apply on the roller to get a deeper muscle massage.

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Uno

The Addaday Uno roller is my go-to for travel – even though you could definitely take the Type C one on the road with you too. I love that you can adjust the roller, lock it into place and you’re ready to roll! I use this one to get to harder to reach places like my lower back and neck/upper shoulders. I adjust the amount of pressure I exert on the roller to really get in there and get the blood flowing. This roller lives in my purse!

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Junior

I originally purchased the Addaday Junior roller with the sole purpose of using it on my feet. I like this roller because the flat base makes it sturdier than trying to roll out your feet with a golf or tennis ball. I also hold the base of the roller in my hand and can use it to target very specific spots, typically on my legs.

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The other thing I really like about Addaday is that they have a ton of information on their website that shows you how to use the rollers and the different options for each. The Tutorials by Product Type section is incredibly helpful!

There are other products I’m interested in trying, especially the Nonagon roller. Do you use Addaday rollers? If so, I’d love to hear what your favourites are!

Boston Marathon Training: Weeks 4 & 5

I feel like time is flying! Less than 100 days until the Boston Marathon! Week 4 of training went well. I recovered from the flu and was still on vacation from work, as Odin was on school holiday still and we don’t have daycare for him because I work from home (I drop him off and pick him up from school everyday). I ran my long run on Friday that week and my parents came up to visit. They took Odin public skating at our local arena part way through my long run – which was great for everyone!

Week 4 training went as follows:

  • Monday: 9mi
  • Tuesday: 14mi
  • Wednesday: 11mi
  • Thursday: 5mi
  • Friday: 18mi
  • Saturday: 5mi
  • Total = 62 mi

Week 5 was a bit more difficult, with my first 20mi long run of this training cycle and some negative thoughts in my head. I struggled this week with not feeling like I am a good enough runner. I’m not one who usually compares myself to others, especially because I feel that running is very individual. Everyone’s speed, goals and training are so very different, and it’s one of the things I love most about this sport.

I wasn’t always a runner. I didn’t get into the sport until I was almost 20. Since then, I ended up having 2 kids, and it’s only been the past year that running has been something I’ve taken very seriously and truly dedicated myself to. 2016 was a really awesome year for me, and I want to prove that I’m still improving and getting faster. I’m building on what I accomplished last year in the hopes that I continue to set new PRs for myself and enjoy every minute. However, the flip side of this is the added pressure I feel or expectations about my running. I’m probably being harder on myself than I should be, but it’s how I have always been.

Week 5 training:

  • Monday: 9mi
  • Tuesday: 14mi
  • Wednesday: 12mi
  • Thursday: 5mi
  • Friday: 20mi
  • Saturday: 5mi
  • Total = 65 mi

This coming week (week 6) will be my highest mileage week of training so far. To be honest, I might even cut out a couple of miles just to ensure that my body can handle the load at this point in training (I’ll see how I feel) and that I make it to Boston without injury. I’ve been diligent about rolling, stretching and doing my PT exercises that I was given last year. I’ve become paranoid about getting injured, but I also think it has to do with the fact that I’m almost at the same point in this training cycle as I was last year when I was training for the Ottawa Marathon, my first one ever, and I suffered an SI Joint sprain.

The marathon distance is still very new to me and I have a lot to learn and figure out. I don’t know what works best for me yet when it comes to this distance, so I’m listening very carefully to my body in the hopes that I will make it through this training cycle and be properly prepared for Boston. Bring on week 6!

Reflecting on 2016

2016 was actually a really good year over here. From family, work, running and life in general, all areas of my life saw growth and positive experience in 2016, with my running injury (sprained SI joint) probably being the only downside – and even that had a silver lining: learning how to recover when running higher mileage, learning more about my body and what it needs to sustain running at faster speeds, understanding my body after having 2 kids, the list goes on….

2016

I was on maternity leave until the end of May, returning to work the day after the Ottawa Marathon and qualifying for the 2017 Boston Marathon. From January until mid-March, running went well, then I got injured. I ended up spending a ton of time at PT, massage and chiropractor appointments, but I took it as an opportunity to learn and ask questions. If I was going to be aiming to run higher mileage weeks and race faster, I needed to support my body so that it could sustain what I was demanding of it. I was able to return to running at the end of April, one month before the Ottawa marathon.

2016 Ottawa Marathon

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Qualifying for the Boston Marathon was a goal of mine to help me cope with my miscarriages and a scary first trimester when I was pregnant with Lennon. I made Ottawa my goal race because it is close to home and I know the roads along the route. I was hoping that the familiarity and presence of family would help reduce some of my marathon fears. I had never run a marathon before – I had never run more than 22km before – and the entire race was an amazing experience. The communities along the course came out to support all of the runners and keep us cool in the extreme heat. My family was there. My friends were there. I will never forget the sense of support I felt from everyone near and far – and I will never forget jumping up and down a few 100m from the finish line when I saw Heather and started freaking out because I knew Boston was really going to happen at that point. With a time of 3:17:35, I finished my first marathon.

The Ottawa Marathon holds a special place in my heart and I cannot wait to race during the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend Events. With it being Canada’s 150th birthday, Ottawa Race Weekend is sure to be even more spectacular. If you are interested in any of the races, you can find more information Ottawa Race Weekend.

Running Friends

I made a lot of connections in real life and online in 2016, with many new friendships that I will cherish forever. I am thankful for all of the people that came into my life this year and for their continued support and kind words. I appreciate everyone so much, and they’d start playing the music like they do when acceptance speeches run long on awards shows if I attempted to name everyone 😉 Team Nuun, Oiselle Volee, and Team Awesome for Ottawa Race Weekend are just some of the teams I’m a proud member of, and are teams that have brought amazing people into my life.

Running an Elite B Standard

I still can’t believe that this happened this year. I finished 1st female in the Fall Colours half marathon, qualifying for the NYC Marathon in a time of 1:27:08, and then a month later raced my first 10km race in 37:54, once again finishing 1st place female, this time running the elite B standard for the 10km event at Ottawa Race Weekend 2017. I submitted my application for Elite Athlete status a few days later, and it was accepted! I still can’t believe I’ll be toeing the line with the elites for this event.

Setting an Example for my Kids

Above all, I want to set a good example for my kids. I hope that as they get older, that they find something they are as passionate about as I am about running. I hope to show them that dedication and hard work pay off, and then you have to put in the effort and show up in order to achieve your goals. I want them to dream big and know that they can do anything they put their mind to.

Here’s to 2017!

 

Boston Marathon Training Weeks 2 &3

Week 2 of Boston Marathon training ran into Christmas, hence my delay, and why I might as well include week 3 in here, since there are only two running days left in my training for this week. Week 2 went just as well as the first. I felt strong on all of my runs, energy level was good, and stuck to my strengthening and mobility work.

  • Monday – 8mi
  • Tuesday – 12mi
  • Wednesday – 9mi
  • Thursday – 5mi
  • Friday – 17mi
  • Saturday – 5mi
  • Total = 56mi

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Week 3 started on Boxing Day here in Canada, as was also the day we celebrated Christmas with my husband’s family. Then the following day, Odin had a hockey tournament and we had more family here for that, so I had to change my schedule around a bit. However, my body had a plan of its own this week and I’ve been feeling off. Very off. I am not quite sure what is wrong. I’ve been feeling a bit dizzy and my energy levels are pretty low. I found myself taking breaks during my run, but pushing through. I started thinking it might be that our eating patterns were thrown off over the holidays and I’m a creature of habit, so my body could just be thrown off. My husband came down with the flu. Perhaps my body is trying to fight that off and prevent me from catching it. Could be my anemia. Who knows. All I know is that I kind of feel like crap.

To be honest, this might be the first week that I don’t complete my intended mileage, but it’s early on in my training plan, and I had a very solid base beforehand, so I’m not that concerned. I’d rather get the rest now and feel better than suffer through runs and feel rundown.

  • Monday – 9mi
  • Tuesday – 7mi
  • Wednesday – 15mi
  • Thursday – 11.5mi
  • Friday – 9mi (?)
  • Saturday – 6.5mi (?)
  • Total = 58mi(?) might end up at 42.5mi

However, the one thing getting me through my runs has been The Crown on Netflix. It’s SO good! I’m going to be so sad when I get through the first season. I’ll have to find another show to capture my attention and make the treadmill a bit easier to bear 😉

 

Boston Marathon Training Week 1 Recap

My first week of Boston Marathon training is complete. I went into the week still sick with the cold I had the week before, and unfortunately, the cold stuck around for the entire week. However, the cold didn’t seem to impact my running. I stuck to the treadmill due to the weather and the cold – didn’t want to risk getting more sick or getting injured. My hip flexor has a tendency to act up when I adjust the way I run to avoid slipping or jumping through the snow.

I changed around some of the days on my training plan due to work and the kids. My long run wasn’t my last run of the week. Instead, my week looked like this:

  • Monday: 8mi
  • Tuesday: 9mi
  • Wednesday: 11mi
  • Thursday: 5mi
  • Friday: 15mi
  • Saturday: 5mi

Total: 53mi/85.2km

I complimented running with core work and some rolling. I spent about 5 minutes each day rolling out my legs with the Addaday Type C roller from Addaday, and I spent 20-30 minutes 4 times during the week doing a mobility and core routine that my physiotherapist gave to me in the spring.

I must say that my body felt strong and there were no signs of any stiffness or pain.

2017 Boston Marathon Training Begins!

Tomorrow I begin my training cycle for the 2017 Boston Marathon. It feels like the Ottawa Marathon was just last month. When I was training for the Ottawa Marathon, I was on maternity leave and Lennon was only a few months old. It was my first marathon, and I thought I knew what I was getting myself into – but, you never know what marathon training is like until you are actually experiencing it, and even then, it’s probably different each time.

8 weeks into training I sprained my SI Joint. I was also exclusively nursing Lennon, so my ligaments were still very loose and I was running a faster paces and volume than my body was likely ready to handle at that point in time. I was also slacking on core strength and other important things, like sleep. I was out for 6 weeks and resumed running 4 weeks before the marathon.

I had no expectations for the Ottawa Marathon, other than to finish the race and hopefully qualify for Boston. There was an extreme heat warning on race day and I hadn’t completely recovered from my injury. It was certainly not the ideal training cycle or race conditions, but I accomplished both goals, and here I am, one sleep away from checking off the workouts on my training plan for the Boston Marathon.

There are a lot of things I learned from my first marathon experience that I will be bringing to the table this time. I will NOT slack on my core and strength workouts, I WILL allow myself time to recover, I WILL have PT/RMT and chiro on rotation, and I WILL run slower during my workouts. During Ottawa training, I would try and speed things up to try and fit my runs in during Lennon’s nap. Also, due to Odin’s attention span, as he was playing in the same area my treadmill is in. It wasn’t ideal, and it likely contributed to my injury.

I’m also trying to make a conscious effort to simply take each workout one day at a time and not think too much about the race. Lately I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the “what ifs” of the marathon – how much faster could I have run the Ottawa Marathon if it wasn’t a million degrees out that day? How much faster could my time have been if I didn’t miss 6 weeks of training? What would my time have been if I was healthy? Obviously, I will never know, and there’s a flip slide to all of that – I could have been injured later in my training and not made it to the start line at all, for example. To be honest, I don’t even have a time goal set for the Boston Marathon yet. I think that I will likely think more about that closer to the race. Throughout 2016 my race times dropped significantly, and this time around, there are so many variables that have changed since this time last year – Lennon is older and not nursing, Odin is in school, I won’t be cramming my runs into nap times, I’m back to work and not on maternity leave, I have more knowledge about the things I can do to help myself recover and better support the volume of my training.

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So, for the next 18 weeks, I’ll be sticking to my training plan and doing everything I can to not get injured this time around! Let the journey to Boston continue!

Improving as a Runner

The end of the year is typically a time of reflection for many, and the same applies for me. One of the things I’ve been reflecting on lately is a question I’ve been asked a lot in the past couple of months: “what’s your secret?” or “what did you change in your running to get to where you are now?”. Honestly, I have no secret when it comes to running. For awhile, my response to those types of questions was “I have no idea”.

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After really reflecting on it, I’ve started to piece together when things started to change. When Odin was born near the end of 2012, we lived in a very rural area with no sidewalks and only one streetlight. It was not the idea place for running. We lived roughly 45 minutes from Ottawa, and due to daycare, work and commuting, if I wanted to run, it had to happen at 4:30am. Running on the street in our neighbourhood at that hour, especially in winter, was not really an option. We bit the bullet and purchased a treadmill. I was very picky during the process, and ended up with one that gets put in small gyms. Once I was back to work (December 2013), I set my alarm for 4:30am each day and went downstairs to run.

The treadmill provided me with something I never had before – consistency. Before Odin was born and we lived in Ottawa, I didn’t have a gym membership and if the weather was too bad in the winter, or too rainy in the summer, I simply chose not to run. The treadmill meant that I didn’t have any excuses. It didn’t matter what the weather was like. In September 2014, I ran my first half marathon after having a baby. My finishing time was 1:34:01. I ran that same half marathon as my last race before trying to get pregnant back in September 2011, with a finishing time of 1:47:XX. To me, that was a fairly significant drop in time. During my running life between 2006-2011, I managed to take my half marathon time from 2:00:00 to 1:47:XX.

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During those years, I would get really frustrated. I’m assuming that I thought I would just get faster each year. But looking back on it now, I wasn’t changing anything to improve as a runner. I would run the same 9.5km route each day at roughly the same pace, skip my run if I overslept or the weather wasn’t favourable, and would only do long runs when a half marathon was on the horizon.

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Following a plan and running year round made a significant impact on my running. After I had Lennon in 2015, I spent more time learning about recovery, proper fuel and the importance of different workouts. Speed work = important! Long run = important! Recovery = important! Strength training and core = important! These areas were ones I took more time to learn about and begin to put the information I gained into practice. I think that combining these pieces with the consistency of running all year, were the pieces I needed to put together my puzzle for improving as a runner. For 2016, I plan to build on the foundation I put in place this year, continuing to challenge myself, learn more about recovery and strength training, and see which other areas I can improve in.

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