Already Thinking About Post-Baby Running

As a runner, I love hearing about other runner’s races, seeing pictures of them showing off their race bling that they worked so hard to achieve, but lately, I’ve been so sad that I am unable to join in on the fun.

It’s been -40C with the windchill where I live for way too many days in a row, so unless someone decided to host a treadmill running race, you won’t find me participating – also of fear of falling on ice. By the time spring rolls around, and the fall, which are my two common racing times, I’ll be nearing the end of my pregnancy, and in the fall, just getting back to running (as long as my doctor clears me as quickly as my first pregnancy).

A lot of people don’t let pregnancy hold them back from racing, but by the time race season rolls in around here, I can’t even guarantee I will be running. With Odin, I ran a charity 5k at 25 weeks pregnant, and the was the last day I ran until being cleared by my doctor one month after he was born. I’m running a charity 5k when I’m 25 weeks again this time around when I’m in San Francisco for work, but I miss half marathons. I actually miss training schedules and long runs. At the same time, after a bumpy road, I’m so thankful to be pregnant, let alone still running as this pregnancy progresses.

My ‘post-baby-exercise-plan’ is to train for my first full marathon. A few weeks before I got pregnant this time around, I ran a 1:34:01 half marathon. It seems silly to already plan out the races I want to do once this baby is born, but if you know me, this probably wouldn’t surprise you. I would like to run the 2016 Nike Womens Half Marathon, plan for a fall marathon or Ottawa Race weekend in spring 2017, which will hopefully lead to a Boston qualifying time.

It’s an ambitious goal, but it’s something I’ve dreamed of a lot these past few years. When I thought I was miscarrying again 6 weeks into this pregnancy, I had a total meltdown and started to plan my marathon training, because if I wasn’t having a baby, I was going to be running a marathon. Thankfully after a hospital visit and a lot of tests, I found out everything was fine and that I would be saving my marathon training for a later date – this way I have two little ones to push in the jogger and make me stronger to tackle Heartbreak Hill in a couple of years 😉

A Very Delayed Vacation Recap: Boston

In October we went to Boston for a few days. Upon arrival in the Boston area, we drove out to Newton, where my husband dropped me off so my running-obsessed-self could go run the Newton Hills and Heartbreak Hill section of the Boston Marathon. It was glorious, but I also know that those hills are not so glorious when you’ve already run 25+ kilometers. The neighborhood and the Boston College campus are so beautiful!

After my run, we went to Wahlburgers for dinner, but there were no Wahlburgs there that night 😦 I’m seriously hoping that the people who opened a Wahlburgers in Toronto open one in Ottawa asap. We checked in to our hotel and got settled. Odin played with blocks and then we all passed out. We spent the following day touring Boston. We walked all over and went to TD Garden to take pictures for Ryan’s dad who is a Bruins fan, walked through Beacon Hill, the Boston Public Gardens, Cheers and Copley Square. I took a zillion photos of anything that had to do with the Boston Marathon, and my drive to qualify for it (and run a full marathon) went into overdrive.

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The people in Boston were soooo friendly! We ventured into a lot of running stores and all of the people in there chatted about different races and products – I was in heaven.

The following day we drove out to explore Cape Cod. We did the entire Cape, stopping to take pictures at the Cape Cod Light and then spending the rest of the day in Provincetown. We picked up some delicious salt water taffy and enjoyed being outside. Odin loved playing in the sand. there were quite a few places that had already closed for the season which was unfortunate, but we had a great time!

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Thursday was game day. The main reason for the trip. We are HUGE Patriots fans. We’ve always gone to see the Patriots play in Buffalo because it’s easier to get tickets and slightly closer to home, but this was our first time to Foxboro and Gillette Stadium and it did not disappoint. We purchased tons of Patriots gear, and even scored free hats. It was the Thursday Night Football game, so it was cool to be there to experience the live broadcast – where we got to be steps away from Robert Kraft, Deion Branch and Ty Law. We went closer to the field to take some pictures.

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At half time there was a ceremony to celebrate Ty Law’s induction to the Patriots Hall of Fame that happened over the summer.

The Patriots won, keeping us on the edge of our seats until the last minute by blocking a field goal that could have resulted in a loss.

It was such a great trip and we accomplished a lot when we were there. We will definitely be back!

A Look Back at Running in 2014

Looking back on 2014 (from a running perspective), I would never have expected anything that happened this year – it seems too surreal. From joining the Oiselle Flock to running a 1:34:01 half marathon, I’ve surprised myself and have been so thankful for what running brought to my life this year. Personally, 2014 was one of the toughest years of my life. Running helped keep me focused and even keeled when times got really tough.

This year I started to truly love running. Getting up at 4:30am almost every weekday sounds terrible to many, but that’s what I did to get my runs in. I can’t recall a single day this year where I felt that I didn’t want to run or that I didn’t like it. When I started running back in 2006, all I wanted to do was run a 5k. Then quickly I wanted to run a half marathon. When people asked me if I wanted to run a full marathon, I usually said no, or that I would run one eventually just to say I did.

In 2014, I made the decision that I will run a full marathon, and would ideally like to qualify for Boston on my first attempt. It’s a lofty goal, but I feel like I can achieve it. When I ran my first half marathon in 2007, I was happy with a 2 hour finish. I decided then that My ultimate goal would be to break 1:45. After a few attempts and two finishes around the 1:47 mark, I felt like breaking 1:45 had become my ‘ultimate goal’ for the half marathon.

I took time off from racing to have my son, and got back into running as soon as I was cleared by my doctor. I ran with no expectations. My runs were fit in between feeding sessions and naps, which also meant that most of my runs were done with a jogging stroller in front of me. Being on maternity leave for a year enabled me to run quite a bit. Upon my return to work, I wasn’t sure how much running I could expect from myself (see the 4:30am wake up time above), but as time went on and my passion for running continued to expand, I realized I would be able to properly train for another half marathon. I also got exposed to an amazing community of female runners this year through Oiselle and the Flock. Being connected to such a passionate group of runners has kept my spark shining.

I remember a day in April when I was in a bad mood, wasn’t feeling the greatest, and I went for a run. I had no plan for my run, no distance or pace expectations. I just kept running. Before I knew it, I was approaching 20km, and I couldn’t believe the numbers I saw on my Garmin. I finished 21.1km that day in 1:37 and change. This number is significantly lower than the 1:45 time I had set as my goal for the longest time. A few months later, I went out for a run, similar in the sense that I had no expectations, and finished 21.1km in 1:34:57. I couldn’t believe what was happening. These paces were the fastest ones I’d ever run in my life.

The Canada Army Run half marathon was in September and I finished with a time of 1:34:01, which probably would have been a bit faster had it not started to downpour once I got to kilometre 15. I was ecstatic when I finished, but of course, I started getting my mind wrapped around running a sub 1:30 half marathon – which has become my new ‘ultimate running goal’ (for half marathons).

All of these results are part of my running journey, and even though I started running 8 years ago, I feel like I’m just getting started. I can’t wait to get started on my journey to a full marathon, and ultimately Boston. For now, I will be satisfied with the opportunity I had to run the Newton Hills/Heartbreak Hill and visit the place where I will one day run:

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Planning a Trip to Boston!

In October we will be heading to Boston and I cant’ wait. for. this. trip!

Our trip takes us from our home, down to Buffalo, NY and then down to Boston. We have tickets for the Patriots in Buffalo on October 12 for our 4 year wedding anniversary, and then we have more tickets for the Thursday night game in Foxboro, where the Patriots will play the Jets. We are a football loving family, so we are so pumped about this trip! Odin has had a love for football since he was 3 days old, and already know what “Tom Brady throws” and “what Gronk catches”- see his touchdown arms below:

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When we arrive in Boston, my husband is driving me to a spot where I can run the dreaded Newton Hills. I’ve mapped out a 10km stretch of the Boston Marathon route to run, and it’s going to be hilly! I eventually hope to run the Boston Marathon one day, so I wanted to run part of the route while we are there, and it just made sense to run the toughest part. I know it won’t equate to the experience of running the hills approximately 25km into the 42.2km run, so I will savour the run, because hopefully the next time I set foot on those hills, it will be as a marathon participant 🙂

We plan to spend time in Boston, going to Cheers, some running shops, TD arena, Fenway, then spend a day on Cape Cod, and then game day in Foxboro at Patriots Place and the Patriots hall of fame.

Food stops include Wahlburgers, the Cheesecake Factory (a must in every city we travel to) some yummy seafood on the Cape (looking for restaurant suggestions!) and of course Dunkin’ Donuts.

I’ve mentioned a few of our plans for our trip, but we are also looking for suggestions! Feel free to leave a comment with any of your Boston “must-sees/must-dos”!

 

My Running Bucket List

A lot of people have lists of things they want to accomplish in their life, during the summer, etc. I have a lot of lists – things I need to do today, weekly dinner menus – there’s no shortage of notes in my agenda or on my iPhone. One of the lists I am most excited about is a list of all of the runs I’d eventually like to run. I’ve run quite a few half marathons in Ottawa and some shorter distance races in my hometown of Brockville. The races that are on my running bucket list combine my love of running with my love of travel. I’m constantly looking to add to this list too, so if anyone has any runs they’d like to recommend, please feel free to leave me a comment 🙂

This is what my running list looks like so far:

  • The Reyjkavic Half Marathon
  • The Nike Women’s Half Marathon on Washington DC
  • The Disney Princess Half Marathon
  • The Run Disney Dopey Challenge (a 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon on back-to-back days)
  • The Chicago Half Marathon
  • The NYC Half Marathon
  • Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon & Half-Marathon (Anchorage, Alaska)
  • The Other Half (Moab, Utah)
  • The Buffalo Bills Half Marathon (you finish on the football field, how could I resist?!)
  • Ottawa Race Weekend Full Marathon (with the hopes of running a Boston qualifying time)

…the Boston Marathon

A lot of people ask me if I plan on running a full marathon. A lot of people also tell me I should run a full marathon. My mom is convinced that I could qualify for the Boston Marathon at my current state and age. I have a little less confidence in myself, but I am finally ready to admit that I do intend on running a full marathon – and not just to say I did it.

I want to run Boston. I really do. It hit me while watching the 2014 Boston Marathon and tracking my co-worker online as she completed the gruelling course. I want to own a Boston Marathon jacket. I want to be able to tell my story about how I worked my way to Boston. Mostly, I feel like I have something to prove to myself. I’ve mentioned before that I constantly surprise myself when it comes to my running, so why not set my sights high?