Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ready. More Than Ready.

Thanks for the support in this article, Sean and Brantford! 

I am ready. More than ready. Trust me!
My physical body is in its best shape. Ever. And the numbers prove it. I have been sleeping like a baby and have absolutely no niggle about which to complain.
Mentally and emotionally however, I am a bit drained.
My husband has been very busy and away a lot during this marathon build so I feel a little fatigued. The effects of our pastor's death, and my husband's many out of town business trips has worn me out.
Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for God's blessings. We know Jonathan is serving at our church, has a great job, and is our amazing Team DuChene leader whom I immensely respect. And we have three wonderful children. I know I'm called the Marathon Mom and like I've said many times, I strongly believe God has given me the blessing to juggle everything. But it is work. Hard work at times.
I've seen enough rolled-up socks on the couch, clumps of dog hair, cushions and legos on the floor, un-flushed toilets and training potties, dirty dishes in the sink (across from an empty dishwasher), and mountains of laundry. I've wiped enough bums, heard enough of the same kids' cd that's been stuck in the van for more than a year, given enough baths, cooked enough meals, boughten enough groceries, cut enough pancakes, poured and cleaned up enough glasses of milk, answered enough questions, heard enough crying, whining and fighting, and responded to enough, "Mommy....?'s". Ok, so you get the point. But don't worry. There is a great ending to all of this. Once I get on that flight Aug 2, it will all be behind me. Like the weekends I've enjoyed travelling to race, this will be the same. But better. With tapering and sitting around waiting to race for an entire week, I will start to miss the busy life, get bored and stir-crazy and have all that extra energy saved; that's when I will know I am more than ready! Really, it's my secret weapon! The energy I build during my time away will peak, perfectly. Leaving any sooner would cause me to become flat and fatigued so I'm glad I have one week. I am really starting to get excited. I can feel the love and support from those around me, energizing me even more.
It's going to be good. Great.
With my taper, we are decreasing the volume most significantly now, between the third and second last weeks (138 to 110 km with the last week at 90 km, including the race). We will keep quality in the tempo and track sessions but they won't be as long. This past week I ran 138 km, which included my last and most difficult tempo of 16 km @ 3:28/km within a 26 km run on Monday. It felt like the perfect marathon workout with an even balance between staying tough, mentally and physically. And again, it was on the treadmill since it works so well for me. In fact, I think I did all but one of my tempo runs on the treadmill. No decreasing incline or speed even if you want! On Wednesday Natasha and I chased each other around the track with Rick juggling stopwatches as she did mile repeats and I did 3 x 2.4 km. I felt strong. Finally, on Saturday I did my last long run. I was to do 32 km but Rick and I know that at this point, you do what you want, what you feel like, and what your body says. And for some reason, I wanted to be right at 30 km. I missed seeing James but was glad to have Natasha and Clayton for most of it. They have been an excellent Saturday morning running group. Clayton and I have been running together for over 10 years. I think that when we started, he had one child. Now between us we have six and are still great running friends. Peggy, his wife is a wonderful person who I've admired as a patient and caring mom who also balances part-time work, as a teacher. Thanks for coming out to give Natasha and I our route, Clayton! Of course, thanks to Rachel and Darren coming in from Toronto for those tough tempo long runs!
This week will include one track session with the rest easy running. Lanni's coach and Rick connected a few weeks ago so our week of training in Germany and Moscow will nearly be identical. I look forward to rooming with Lanni again. Like Rotterdam, I'm sure we will gel with our sleeping, eating, relaxing and training routines to have amazing races. Sure, we can be seen as rivals but really what we have is ideal. That Canadian record will go down, by one or both of us!
I have most of my packing complete so will get the final things done before Friday. One more trip to the grocery store, a few more loads of laundry, 3 kids' suitcases to pack, a bit more housecleaning and I am done. D.O.N.E.
The moment Chuck picks me up to go to the airport will be such a mix of emotions.
I've never left my kids for so long (19 days). In fact, I don't think I've had one kid-free week away, since having kids.
And I am running the biggest race of my life (so far!).
But I know I am ready. Oh, so ready!

Backyard kale smoothie cheers.

Won't miss these surprises when away. Good thing I haven't used our warming drawer in a while!

Love these ladies. Maureen and Jeanetta are likely the #1 reason I've been this successful as a mom and runner. They have watched our kids at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre for hours and hours over the last 7.5 years. Each kid has gone since only a few weeks old. Thank you!

Enjoyed my first day off in a month with a haircut and coffee. Well, several coffees to be honest.

Thankful for my sister in law's pool, 5 doors down.

Lovely summer weather enjoyed in the backyard.

Thanks for the tremendous support, Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre friends! I took a picture with my phone so that I can look at this while in Russia.

And thanks for a great article, Sean!

Silly putty on cushions. Nope, not unless it's Lanni!

Eat well. Sleep well. Train well. Recover well. Repeat.
Just a few tune-ups and I'm off! Thanks, Paul.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Crossing t's and Dotting i's

Most runners like numbers. I like numbers. So, here are mine for this marathon build:
Total program weeks: 17
Training weeks: 11
Racing w/ taper weeks: 3  
Marathon taper weeks: 3
Races: 6 (Mar-30 k, Apr-8 k, Apr-Half, May-10 k, June-Half, July-5 k)
Personal Bests, 4: 8 k (26:59 HSROT), 10 k (32:52 Ottawa), Half (70:52 SVHM*), 5 k (15:58 Dash) 
Average mileage for 11 training weeks: 158 km (150, 150, 145, 150, 160, 171, 170, 160, 165, 170, 145)
Average distance for 11 long runs: 38.5 (35, 35, 40, 39, 40, 36.5, 40, 36, 40.4, 44, 38)
Weight: 116 lb
Resting heart rate: 35 BPM
* not certified course

We are three weeks from the big day and the bulk of the work is done.
I am so grateful for the help of my team, so many to name.
I know I am in the shape of my life.
Since returning from injury in January (after 2 months of no running), Rick and I were fairly conservative with my training and racing. We set decent goals and aimed for quality mileage. Each and every week has been better than the one before. I know I am set to peak for the marathon and can't wait to give all this extra energy, August 10. Yes, extra energy.
I took a lot of pictures this week to capture my thoughts and feelings as I enter the taper phase.
I've crossed a lot of t's and dotted a lot of i's. And it's been worth it, every time.
It's going to be good. Great.

Off to the treadmill and pool at 5:26 a.m.

Preventative icing for a few minor niggles. Other than this, and a tiny sore spot on my wrist from my watch (if I have to think of something), I have absolutely no complaints. Weekly physio and massage are definitely the reason for this. Proactive, not reactive.

Daily afternoon naps.

Bed time 9:04 pm. Now that it's summer, the kids and I often go to bed at the same time!

Motivation. Dean is 70 and a great motivation for me. He loves nature, photography, healthy eating and ran the 30 km Bay race this year!

Mike is another great friend from the Gretzky Centre. A few years ago, I was pushing it on the treadmill and he offered to fill my Eload bottles. I gladly accepted and we've been great supports since. We've encouraged each other through injuries and really enjoy being side by side on the treadmills. Can you see speedy Dean in the background?

It's all about recovery. Saucony recovery gear, Emend and napping. We get it done.

I'll take this 2:27 ... or better!

Cross training in the pool (bike and elliptical) has been key.

Team DuChene getting ready to go to a race.

Love 'em.


Coach Rick. Superb.

The Chariot - couldn't live without it for training and racing.

Micah, age 7. First 5 km in 30:17, chip time. First in age 2-10 y.o. group.

Stir-fry with kale, onion, eggs, tuna, chick peas and chili sauce. Yes, I do love this kind of food. Don't knock it until you try it! Thanks, Stacey!

Kicking it in the end to make it under 16 minutes for a speed work 5 km race in HOT high 30's. Done! 15:58 and first overall (male and female).

Congrats on the retirement, Josie! 37 years at City Hall. Wow! Talk about commitment. Thanks for all your support with Rick as coach. Can't wait for the 4 of us to celebrate in Italy!

Recovery after my last and 11th long run, 38 km. Always best with coffee and smiling faces. 

A bit of reading before our Europe trip.

Great friendship. Britanie has been through so much lately. She had a masectomy this week and has a long road ahead of her. We are such great friends. You bet I will be thinking of her during the marathon.  When I think it's getting tough, I will press on as it will be nothing compared to her surgeries, chemo, and radiation.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Peak Week

Preparing for some serious drinking. I consumed 8 cups eload during and 8 cups emend immediately after my 44 km run. Using eload endurance and "Fly"was a great combination for my electrolytes, fluid and carbohydrate needs. And of course, emend allowed me to recover by replenishing my fluids, and some carbs and protein.  

Returning the empties.

Looking good, loop after loop after loop.We got James in this picture but missed Clayton.
Training was a bit different this week since I was away at our cabin for family camp. I wasn't sure we could make it this year because of my training, and Jonathan using most of his vacation for our trip causing me to be on my own with the kids. But because I knew it meant so much to our family, and thanks to my sister and aunt and uncle, it worked!
Each day I ran the same route so people knew my location. Running along country roads again was great. And doing so in the heat was good just in case we get a hot day, Aug 10.  I did some mile repeats and a solid tempo on the usual Monday and Wednesday. Upon returning to the campground after each run, I grabbed my emend recovery drink and went right to the pool. I did some laps then got out to play a dvd, called "Made to Crave" for a small group.  During the dvd I stretched, used my roller and did my core exercises. Then I went back into the pool with the group. Each of us did our own thing but quite enjoyed the extra, kid-free space in the water to exercise. Every afternoon I rode my Cannondale bike that Jonathan brought from home and set up in the cabin on rollers. Then I'd head back to the pool, simply to cool off and take the kids for a swim. Same routine Monday to Friday. Loved it.
Friday evening, Micah and I headed back to Brantford because he had hockey and I had a 44 km run Saturday morning. We got it done then headed back to the cabin to be with the entire family for the weekend. It was great.
Total was 170 km and 17 hours of running, biking and swimming. Highest ever. We will start into a gradual taper right now, which will actually include a 5 km race on Thursday at Eaton Downtown Dash. Just a quick, short race to keep the legs fresh.
It was an action-packed week and we are now home. Time to get to bed since tomorrow includes 800 m repeats, a tonne of laundry and unpacking, and a well-deserved massage.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Trial Run a Hit!

Another great week of training! We're really moving along now!
Recovery after my Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon personal best was great. Cynthia did an amazing job of working things out with massage. Wow, she finds areas I'm not even aware are sore. And it's been great to work with Paul for physio. The benefits of weekly massage and physio have been amazing!
Training this week was rather uneventful, which is exactly what we want. Getting the solid work done without any issues is ideal. After tomorrow's 16 km, I will have logged 165 km for the week.
This morning we did a trial worlds run with 5x8 km loops. Today's route was hilly, which is unlike the race route apparently, but a good opportunity to work through some tough areas.  I was very conscious to eat, drink, rest and sleep well yesterday so as to have a good run today. And it worked! Rick was alongside on his bike, giving splits and handing me my Eload. Darren, James and Clayton also were running the route, which was a great support. I must say that I didn't know how I would feel about running multiple loops. I am an out n' back kinda girl. I know the marathon route for the 2012 Olympic Games was made up of loops and several turns. Ideal for spectators but not athletes! Fortunately we will only have four loops. We will start and finish in the stadium, which is very exciting! This morning's run was great. I focused on one loop at a time and didn't wear my Garmin (because it wouldn't work). The plan was an easy first loop, three hard ones at 3:45/km, and one easy one again for a total of 40km. We did the first loop in about 35 minutes then I ended up running 29:51, 29:32, and 29:09. The best part was the last loop where I just relaxed to finish strong, expecting to be around 35 minutes. Rick didn't say anything because I was in the zone so it was a pleasant surprise to know it was 29:32. So I averaged about 3:41/km. I really felt like a race, mentally and physically. I didn't stop at all during the last 4 loops and took in 6 cups of Eload and 4 gels. I think I will need at least 8 cups Eload since I ran out with about 3 km to go. As soon as I finished I drank 6 cups Emend and stretched, feeling great! What an amazing run!
Rick sent me my plan right up until Aug 10th. I love looking ahead and planning to make it work with everything else in our life.

My between meal smoothie - kale, frozen blueberries, milk, greek yogurt, protein powder, and nut butter.
Threw this salad together the other day for two Canada Day bbq's. People loved the colour, beans and cilantro.

Spiffy racing flats just arrived! Thanks, Saucony!

Great use of the coffee tray. Eload, Emend and gels ready for the 40 km run.

We got it done! Great training run. Sorry we missed you at the end, James.

Hardest long training run. Done!