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ENDURrun Stage 2 – 15km Time Trial

Today was an exciting day for me! I have never been or taken part in a time trial so I was eager to experience it. For those that have never experienced a time trial, usually the racers are staggered at intervals starting from the slowest (from previous day’s race) ending with the fastest. This means that you can track other folks down, and will get passed at some point by some faster runners. Today’s 15k time trial was an out and back course. I was questioning would I push to catch up? Would I get a mental blow when passed by others? The course is very very flat so you can see the runners ahead of you for long stretches, and there is a turn-around at 7.5k so you can see the runners catching up to you. I was also curious how my legs would feel after yesterday’s half marathon.
I spent most of yesterday resting my legs after the half. I did all the necessary chores, and then settled in to watch golf. My afternoon snack consisted of some zesty cheese Doritos, and a large glass of nuun. I also felt it wouldn’t hurt to throw a fresh pair of procompression socks on. Dinner included some chicken shish kabobs, and freshly shelled peas (which I did while lazily watching golf). I totally took advantage of this down time as I have to work for most of the week and will not have this luxury.

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I woke up this morning and took a tentative step out of bed, my legs felt surprisingly good. No weird aches or pains, muscles feeling fairly recovered…this might actually be ok. Relaxed with my coffee, surfed the net, and headed out to Conestogo. Today was brought to you by the colour orange and of course I had my nails painted to match (its good luck you know). I said hello to a couple of the runners I met yesterday, and wandered over to the start line. The weather was absolutely perfect, high teens and clouded over. The humidity made it feel mid 20’s but it truly was ideal. As usually the race was impeccably organized by the RunWaterloo team, as the runners seamlessly began to head out. I love the runner community in Waterloo! Each runner would approach the start line, and each time they were sent off everyone clapped and cheered for them. It really is a great way to start a race and gets you pumped! My timeslot was 8:28am, and as I approached the start I actually felt relaxed (who knew). A quick countdown and off I went!
One of the things I have begun to learn while training for this event is that I love running in Waterloo Region. I generally tended to stay in the small box that is my neighbourhood, or would venture out at the cottage. While training I began to run in the surrounding areas and fell in love with routes such as Wilmot line. It was the same with this course. Mind you, it helped that it was flat so what is there not to love? I loved running in the country seeing the farms and crops. I think my happiest place was when we hit the gravel road. I was waving to Mennonites, and just taking in the scenery. Conestogo is one of my favourite little villages, and I always tell my husband if I could move anywhere it would be to that community.
Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I was lollygagging on the course. I managed to run a mean pace. Well, for me anyways. I learned the time trial can be good and bad. Being ADHD I have trouble at times seeing “past the moment”. This means that I was determined in this moment to catch folks, and push myself. I don’t know at this point if I will pay for this come tomorrow at Bechtel, but it was a fun ride. It has been a while since I pushed myself to run at a 5:00/km speed but I managed to do this today clocking in at 1:15:21, 5:01/km. I negative split the course, and completed under 5:00/km for the last 5k. For the first 10km I wanted to stay at minimum 5:15/km and did this. I know that generally I am a negative split runner (I always start too slowly), and can usually push the last 5k of a race. My goal was at least to stay at 5:00/km for the last 5k, and I managed to exceed this. It’s incredibly hard to not increase your speed when you see that large finish line in the distance.

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I was very happy with my time today. I don’t have really anything to compare it to since I have never done the event before, but against my practice runs I seem to be doing pretty good. I managed to gorge myself on some delicious eats (the apricot bars were ridiculously delicious!), and then had to head back home. Unfortunately I need to put in some work hours this week so needed to be in by noon. Don’t worry I have recovery taken care of. Some procompression on under the pants, and some nuun in the purse! Tonight I may have an Epsom salt bath just to relax the quads. As for tomorrow? I have told myself that I would like to keep a 6:00/km pace on the course. I plan to take it nice and easy, and then get my massage at Dearborn Health in the afternoon. I took tomorrow off from work because I know it will be a doozy!

Happy Trails (excuse the pun)! And see ya all tomorrow 🙂

T

p.s shoutout to my girl Amy for attempting to come out to the run today! You were there in spirit ❤

Goals Update and Belated Thankful Thursday

So it appears that I have been a little slack on my blog posting over the past week. Note to self, next month make a goal to blog more! Since my blog posting at the beginning of September I have pushed myself forward to follow through on the goals that I set out. The one item I have been a little slack on was my Thankful Thursday commitment. Soooo it may be a little late, and be warned there will be another tomorrow but here it is:

I am thankful for my bestest dude (husband). I bet some of you saw that one coming. After my marathon I wrote briefly on what a fabulous guy he is. I was really fortunate to win the lottery on this one. I sure waited a long time for him to come along (30 years), but I am glad that I never settled. That isn’t to say that we are perfect, because when we disagree we can both be stubborn, but that is to say that he is perfect for me. He has supported me with all my dreams the past 7 years, and put up with my tumultuous moods (picture grumpy bear and watch out). He is very patient, kind, and straight forward with me when he needs to be. He is also my running buddy. When I was injured 5 years ago, I was off running for a year. When I came back to running he was there with me every painful step of the way and continues to be. I am definitely thankful for him in my life.

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Now onto other things. So I set all these ambitious goals in my last blog posting, and wanted to be sure to let you know how those have been going. I am happy to say that I have reduced my caffeine consumption to one coffee per day! *happy dance* There was one occasion where I had a second coffee but was sure to make it a decaf. I have also increased my water consumption. It started off with the 5 day water challenge I spoke about. I was consuming 80oz of water a day during the challenge, and have used this as a jumping point to consistently maintain a minimum of 48oz. My hope is to be able to maintain at 80oz, but I am trying to be realistic! I keep a large 32oz jug of water on my desk at work throughout the day, and this reminds me to chug a lug. I have also only spent one occasion drinking alcohol, and it was my cheat day! The first day of the football season how can one say no to cheap chicken wings and beer? I am pretty proud that despite this cheat day I got back on track, and maintained my wish to eat and drink clean! My one cheat day this week will be Sunday. We are travelling to Buffalo for the Bills home opener game, and I just can’t commit to being a good girl during tailgating. Here’s a quick pic of my delicious clean eats salad from Thrive Energy Bar, and the homemade (and sugar free) tomato sauce I canned!

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As for my running, it feels great!!!! I don’t know if its fall, the vega sport, or just that I am treating my body well but I feel so much better on my runs! I even ran two half marathon distances within 5 days of each other. Both of these were at 5:25/km which is so much better than where I was last fall. I am hoping that this will continue and I am beginning to appreciate the consistency of running and eating well in my life. I haven’t increased my long run mileage yet, but I plan to do so after my half marathon this weekend.

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Speaking of which, I am super excited about the half marathon race I am running this weekend. Well also slightly nervous because this is a brand new race and I have no idea what the course is like. I would really like to come in at 1:51 but not knowing what the hills may be like makes it difficult to know if this is possible. Fingers crossed. It’s called the Harvest Half, and is another fantastic event by the folks at Run Waterloo. I went for a 5km tempo run this morning to shake out the legs, and all systems seem to feel pretty good. Although the fog made it a little like something out of Criminal Minds or CSI. Check this out!

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Finally, for those who are following my trial Vega sport journey, I have to tell you I’m a believer. Now if I said to you it was because I have felt better over the past two weeks than I have in a while, you may write it off for a multitude of reasons: 1) It’s fall 2) I am eating better 3) I am drinking more water 4) I am running more consistent. However, I have been more consistent with my running, including higher mileage and I still feel great! My legs are much more “ready to go”. I noticed this especially this morning. I ran two half’s in 5 days then took two days off. Normally I would have a lethargic and gross recovery tempo run when I came back. When I ran this morning, I felt awesome! My legs didn’t even feel tired. This is something I have not experienced in a very long time, like when I was in my 20’s (and I am 37). I don’t know if it has to do with the Vega Sport, but I am starting to believe. The other comment I wanted to make was in regards to the endurance gels. I was forced to use my GU energy gels this past weekend because I had run out of the Vega. I was completely wrecked by GI issues afterwards. I also crashed really hard after about 4k of taking the gel. It made me miss the Vega. If anything I am sold on their gels, and my GI loves me for it! The only problem is that these are harder to locate in my community than the other Vega products, so I need to prepare ahead. Oh and a sidenote, the peanut butter chocolate protein bars are DELICIOUS!!!! So I have decided to make a commitment to their accelerator (tropical), protein powder (I still haven’t decided what flavour!), and the gels (definitely raspberry). Although their protein bars are delicious too! Again, I was not endorsed or paid to write this, I just honestly enjoyed the product!
So I think that is it for today. Stay tuned for tomorrows Thankful Thursday, and happy running!

T

Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall – September & Fall Goal Setting

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So September is always this double edged sword for me. I love the cooler running temperatures, and the fall racing season but I hate the fact that my cottage time is slowly dwindling. Usually we close the cottage on the Thanksgiving weekend, but this year we are actually keeping it open now that it is winterized.  So this year September is not so bitter sweet. Fall brings some of the most beautiful cottage runs as the oak and maple trees turn vivid shades of orange and yellow. It also brings a series of races for our household, and from now until November we will run 5. This includes 2 half marathons and then a number of 10km. Fingers crossed ths will be my spring redemption from dislocating my toe, and being unable to run my spring half.

Perhaps my favourite part of September is goal setting. Most people get excited when they set their New Years resolution in January, but I love to goal set in September. I have seen a few blogs that set monthly goals, and then post an update regarding those goals monthly. I think this is a fabulous idea, and my first fall goal is to do this monthly 🙂 For my inaugural goal setting blog post I will list three falls goals (to be reviewed in November), and then 3 September goals.

FALL GOALS

1) Be more grateful for the positive things in my life

I think most of us are guilty of taking the positives in our life for granted at some time or another. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle and not reflect on the positives. Particularly because of the job I do (I’m a social worker within mental health and addictions) it is critically important to reflect on the positives because I see so many heart breaking stories on a daily basis. I am not a religious person but I was raised catholic and I always think “there but for the grace of god go I”. I could have been born to a completely different set of circumstance, had a different family, or a different set of friends. I need to appreciate this more. So I am going to try to do a “Thankful Thursday” each week on my blog. I will mention something I am thankful for.

2) Commit to eating as cleanly as possible

After a summer of gluttony this one doesn’t even need explaining. Last year in the fall I was committed to eating cleaner and I felt awesome! I follow lots of blogs where they feature delicious clean eating recipes. I hope to try some of these out and reduce the amount of crap I eat. So that means the love affair with zesty cheese Doritos is at an end.

3) Run a Half Marathon PB

Previously I have mentioned the 1:53 vortex that I sink into for my half marathon times. This is mostly due to the fact that I just get “comfortable”. Sinking into the all too comfortable “pace pocket” and not pushing myself. My goal for fall is to start increasing my mileage, and continuing to do faster pace tempo runs as well. I hope that this will give me the “kick” I need at the end of my half marathon in November. Last fall when training for my marathon I found that I not only slowed down my long run pace, but all my other runs during the week quickly followed. This made it incredibly hard to run at the faster paces in the spring when shorter runs came along. The Hamilton Road 2 Hope half marathon will be my end target for this goal.

SEPTEMBER GOALS

1) Drink more water, reduce caffeine, reduce alcohol

I am notorious for not drinking enough water. The day before my long run is probably the only day of the week where I am adequately hydrated enough because I know how miserable an under-hydrated long run is. I do know the importance of drinking more water for overall health, I am just full of excuses as to why I don’t drink more.  So a group challenge to drink more water was started on facebook and I decided to join. This is a 5 day challenge where I have to drink half of my body weight in oz. That means I need to drink 75oz of water a day for the next five days. As I write this I am on glass #6. I figure this is a great way to kick start this goal! It will also force me to take breaks at work 🙂 I would like to stick to 1 cup of coffee daily with the eventual goal of weaning most coffee out. As for alcohol, well summer is done so this is just natural 😉

2) Push my long run to 25km

I miss longer runs. I loved the really long runs that came along with marathon training. It allowed me a piece of time early in the morning just for me. It also made distances such as 21k seem a whole lot shorter!!! I hope to have a 25k run clicked out by the end of this month.

3) Develop a recovery supplement routine and stick to it

So I have only used the Vega Sport products a couple of times, but I am a believer (and no I was not paid or endorsed I bought the product myself). Enough to spend the money and incorporate this into my fall racing routine. I would like to give it a chance and see what effect it has on my recovery and training. Probably most remarkable was the fact that I ran a 17k killer hill run with only a dayof rest between our 21k long run. Usually after my 21k run I grumble and complain my way through a 5k recovery run. I felt really great through the 17k (except up the 2km hill at the end but this is to be expected), and the gel proved to be excellent again. I am kinda excited about this goal. I am hoping to use the energizer, gels, accelerator, and protein. It’s a little hard to see, but that’s the first km of the hill at about the 14k mark.

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So there it is folks, my list of fall and September goals. I expect you all to hold me accountable! Just wondering do any of you set fall goals? and if you do please feel free to share!

Happy running, happy fall, and only 40 days till Thanksgiving weekend!

T

Running Scared and Preliminary Vega Sport Review

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So apparently I am on a runcation. A runcation in which I tried to blog post and it was deleted *sigh*. Let’s try this again shall we? So what is a runcation? Well I like to think it means that you take a vacation and spend most of it running. For us it doesn’t cumulate with a big race at the end, it just means that we get to relax and focus on leisure time and running. The benefit of doing this at the cottage are the hills which are unavoidable and included in every run. I also decided this would be a good time to try out some of the Vega Sport products I purchased through the starter pack.

Monday was a bit of a write off because we got to the cottage at midnight on Sunday,  I slept in till 8am and was still super tired. That meant that Tuesday was going to be the day, and turns out it was an 8k penance run. What is a penance run you ask??? Well for those who are catholic this will make complete sense, but for those who are not humour me for a second. In the catholic faith you preform a ritual called “confession”. Through this you confess your sins to God, aka priest, he absolves you and gives you “penance”. This usually takes the form of repeating prayers such as Hail Mary’s or Our Father’s while kneeling on a ridiculously uncomfortable bench. So apparently I decided to partake of a little too much wine Monday evening, and needed to do penance the next day. In this case it was 8 Hail Mary’s or 8k. Oh boy did it hurt. At one point I turned to the bestest dude and said “my body hates me”. These runs are not fun and remind me why I generally don’t drink before runs. Wednesday was 21k so I drank lots of water and hydrated for the rest of Tuesday. I also consumed  a large and delicious bowl of homemade chili, filled with veggie goodness.

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The 21k was actually a great run. I feel like I am starting to get my mojo back mentally. I went for a 21k run last week on my own at 5am (yup 5am), and really loved the peace and serenity of the early morning quiet. I also ran it rather efficiently, 1:53 which was quicker than my last race and my usual half marathon pace. This weeks was a little slower, and I finished really strong, like gas left in the tank strong. So what happened? I figured it out about 10 minutes post-run. I was running scared. When I am actually on my game this year I can maintain a 5:15-5:30 pace during my long runs. This wasn’t the case last year. Generally I ran 6:00 pace, particularly when training for the marathon, and I spent a majority of those training miles at the cottage. I knew that 6:00 is comfortable for me (there I go with that comfort thing), and would get me through the vicious hills ahead. So I ran the first half scared that my body wouldn’t make it through the second 11km if I sped up. It really didn’t matter what the garmin said, I was “saving” myself. I ended up saving myself a little too much. The good news is that I now know that speeding up isn’t going to kill me, and I will push harder next time. I tell ya though, there is no run better than the long run. The ache in your body that tells you what was accomplished that day.

Now onto Vega Sport. So this is a preliminary review and I will continue to review as the week goes on and I use more products. So far I have used 4 of the products in the starter package. This is what you get for $20 (a great deal btw):

  • 2 x Vega Sport Pre-workout Energizer singles in both lemon lime and acai berry flavors
  • 2 x Vega Sport Energy Bars singles in apple cherry and chocolate coconut
  • 2 x Vega Sport Endurance Gel singles in raspberry and orange zest flavors
  • 2 x Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator singles in lemon lime and pom-berry flavors
  • 2 x Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator singles in both tropical and apple berry flavors
  • 3 x Vega Sport Performance Protein singles in chocolate, berry and vanilla flavors
  • 2 x Vega Sport Protein Bars in chocolate coconut and chocolate mint flavors

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I have read/seen several people using this product on blogs, twitter, facebook, and instagram and have heard positive reviews. The products are all plant based, which is really appealing to me. I am not a vegan by any means, but the cleaner the better. I try to have a balance between eating clean most (or try most) of the time but there are some things which are my mortal weakness. The awesome thing about the Vega Sport website is the personalize your plan section. For a newbie to supplements like me this is great!!!! It enables you to enter your gender, type of activity, level of intensity, and duration. It then makes a recommendation for how to use their products effectively. This helped to prepare me for my long run yesterday. I didn’t want to waste the product on my penance run because I knew I would feel crappy regardless.

So according to my personalized plan on the website I used the Electrolyte Hydrator (pom-berry) on Tuesday, The Pre-Workout Energizer (acai) the morning of, Sport Endurance Gel (orange zest) during the run, and the Recovery Accelerator (apple berry) directly after my run. The personalized plan recommended the protein powder 45 min post-run but I didn’t have a blender and really want to try these in a shake form. So here is my honest and unbiased review of the products I used. All of the products I tried are very clearly plant based, meaning that they taste planty (is that even a word?). That was the downside. The hydrator was a typical electrolyte replacer, and I could really taste the Stevia. If you don’t mind Stevia, all is well, but if you don’t like the taste of it then stay away. To me, it was actually quite tasty. I mixed it into a bottle of water, and away I went. It seemed quite similar to products like Nuun, and actually I prefer the Nuun. Sorry Vega Sport but they got you on this one. The next day I tried three products for my run. First up was the pre-workout energizer, which was really effective. Again I simply mixed it into water, and drank it about 30 mins before my run. I definitely felt increased energy, and alertness. The important fact was that it didn’t feel “artificial”. This product was more “grainy” than the rest, and actually I was a little alarmed at first. It tasted good though and I would definitely use this again. It definitely helped to get me up the first hill, which is actually the first km of my run. At about 8km in I used the Endurance Gel. To be really honest, my first impression wasn’t the greatest. I brought two gels with me, one was the Vega Sport and the other was my usual GU. I did this because I was concerned that if the gel didn’t work they way I wanted, I would crash and be miserable. This was simply put awful tasting. I took the orange zest one, and it was very very plant tasting. The other thing I didn’t like was the packaging. I know this seems weird, but the package was larger than most gels. This made it awkward to fit into the pocket on my shorts, and even awkward to administer while running. What I can’t argue or complain about is that this product works. Like really works. This was quite honestly better than any other gel I have taken. I usually take a gel at 8km and by about 14km I am tanking and already thinking about when I get my next gel in 2km. I didn’t do this once with this gel. In fact at 16km I felt like I could still go another 2km before taking the next gel. I now realize that the GU gels give me a quick burst and then fade quickly. This gel truly gave me endurance. The other bonus? I didn’t have a single GI issue post-run. This is huge for me. I am super sensitive to gels and supplements because of this. I have come to accept that I will have some degree of pain after a run. This didn’t happen. This alone makes the awful taste worth the product!!! Since this was my first run using these gels, and my first flavour. I am going to continue to use them and see if there is a flavour I may like better. If these gels keep working like they did yesterday, I will definitely switch over. I will miss the taste of my chocolate peanut butter, but not the pain and cramping that usually follows! Good job Vega Sport! The final product I used was the Accelerator. This was the best tasting product by far, and we will see how effective it is when I go for a 5.5km crazy hill run. So thats my preliminary review. In summary, the taste could improve slightly, but the products are definitely effective. I will be continuing to use the gels, and the pre-workout energizer. To come, reviewing the Accelerator, and Protein Powder. I am also excited to see if using the products in combination improves my recovery and running. That’s the grand finale, seeing how all the products work together. I will continue to use the products in this particular way leading up to my half marathon in two weeks. It will be interesting to see how I continue to feel leading up to, and during the race. I will definitely need more gels 😉

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So that’s it from this end! The bestest dude and I are off for some golf today, and then a 5.5km hill run tomorrow. Throw your comments my way. Have you ever run scared? Tried the Vega Sport products?

 

T