The Night Before

Today there was lots of stretching and foam rolling (photo shot today at work by the talented Sam Russell)….as an aside – just a typical day at the office! haha

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There was also lots of carb loading, I was on a mission – leave no carb behind! A yummy mix of whole wheat bow ties, red peppers, mushrooms and hot Italian sausage with a sprinkle of light cheese. Perfect pre-race meal.

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I am just an hour away from sleep and then my first race of 2012. I have all my things laid out and a definite case of the pre-race jitters. I am travelling outside of the city for this race about 1.5 hours which I know is a commute for some people but around here you can get anywhere in 20 minutes. I am nervous about getting lost or not making it in time. I’m mostly nervous though about not performing well and letting myself down. I am afraid it is too soon, I am afraid I am going to hurt myself again, and I am afraid to come in last (it’s a VERY small race).

I have run only a handful of races but the night before jitters are always the worst. I have to learn to trust my training! I have a solid month and a half of good base building behind me. I may not be as fast as I was before but I will get back there – I just need to trust my training and enjoy the race.

There is no room for fear.

How do you deal with pre-race jitters?

What are your night before rituals?

Anyone else racing tomorrow?

Follow me on Twitter for updates tomorrow and check back for the race recap!

The Newbie Perspective on How to Survive Winter Running

I live in Canada so I have to deal with all 4 seasons in all their glory! Summer is fairly easy, temps never get too high, all you have to worry about is fog. Spring and Fall are generally great running weather. The Winter is the problem – the cold, the snow, and the lack of daylight. It can be hard to find motivation in those early morning hours when it’s freezing outside and all you want to do is crawl back into a warm bed. I figured since this is my first Winter running outside, I could share some of the things that get me out on the roads in the bitter temperatures.

 

1. Lay Out Clothes The Night Before – When you are up that early I find that having to operate my brain enough to pick out clothes is near impossible. If you plan to run at lunchtime or in the evening then having them ready to go with you out the door makes it more likely you’ll make it happen! It is much easier to have all the layers laid out at a quick reach then have to search around for them. Easy = the key to motivation!

 

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2. Layer, Layer, and Layer Some More – Invest in a good set of base layers, that way you can turn some of your Spring and Fall running clothes into winter ones. I throw on my base layers under my LuLu Astro pants and a long sleeved running shirt and it’s instant warmth. I just ordered some Winter running tights (Run for it Tights from LuLu) for Winter running. I’ll review them once I have them but I am sure they will keep my legs warm. I also always wear gloves, thick socks, and either a headband or hat. Warm clothes are key to staying toasty warm and comfortable, which is important during the winter.

 

3. Training Plans & Goals – I love a good running plan and I also love a running goal. Nothing creates motivation like signing up for a Spring race. You have a reason for braving the chilly temps and darkness when you have a race to train for! My first race this year will be a Spring 5K and my goal is to PR. My main goal for this year is the half-marathon so I have to stay on track, it makes getting out in the cold a little easier.

 

4. Heat Em’ Up – Just need a little warmth to get out the door? Toss your clothes in the dryer for ten minutes before heading out the door. The heat fades quickly, however, by the time it’s gone you should be nice and warmed up from running. It’s just enough to get you comfortable and get you out there! I find after 5 minutes of being outside anyways I am usually nice and warm the heat just helps get you out there.

 

5. Be Flexible – Some days you may need to move around your run because of weather. It could be a snowstorm or temps too low to be safe for running in. If there is a lot of black ice around I usually won’t risk it either because I don’t have ice safe shoes. This time of year I am constantly checking the weather to adjust my schedule based on the potential best weather for running. For example, today I woke up to freezing temps and rain, a potential icy and dangerous situation. I checked the weekend weather and it called for sun and above zero temps all weekend. So I took today as a rest day and will run all weekend. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before but for those who work maximizing the daylight on the weekend is so important. For the rest of the winter unless I have something going on the weekend I will be moving my rest day to a weeknight, flexibility is necessary! Sometimes you need to move things around or hit the dreadmill. Just look at it as an opportunity to switch things up!  Perhaps even try a little cross-training? Always remember that safety comes first and of course spring is just around the corner! Smile

 

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How do you stay motivated during winter?

Any winter running tips for me?

Do you have any non-slip things attached to your sneakers? Recommend them?

Home for the Holidays 10K

So after a tapering of cookies and wine the last 2 days I attempted the Home for the Holidays Virtual 10K. I read about this race on Carrots n’ Cake and signed up for it at the very last minute on Thursday. I wanted to do it but had our Holiday party of Friday and then a day of family stuff on Saturday and again on Sunday. I didn’t know how I would manage to fit it in but I figured I would attempt it on Boxing Day here in Canada which is today! I am currently in Fox Harbour, where Bruce is from. It is a very small community so I was the only participant in this race today here! haha It’s was a frosty –3.6 Celsius when I headed out.

 

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What I was most excited for with this race was the chance to try out all my new running gear I got for Christmas! I got to use my new Garmin 305, Bondi Band, and my warm base layers by atmosphere which work awesome! I love all my new running things I got for Christmas. I’ll do a review on it all at some point but believe me I was spoiled rotten this year and my Christmas isn’t even over yet as I am doing Christmas at my Dad’s on Thursday!

 

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I headed out to the frosty roads of the harbour, one side of the harbour was very icy and the other the pavement was dry so I spent most of the race on the other side and walked the beginning and end on the icy side due to it looking like this.

 

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I took some gorgeous shots throughout my race, it really was a gorgeous day despite the frosty temperatures, I was cozy the entire time in my new gear. The only time I got cold was when I walked the last half mile.

 

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So I finished my first ever 10k race in 1:11:17, a respectable time in my opinion as I am still recovering from my IT band injury and have never managed that distance before. I have no idea how to see my splits on my Garmin and haven’t set it up on my laptop yet but I know my best mile was 7:49 which is great. I did walk occasionally just to make sure I didn’t make my IT band worse and walked at the beginning and end due to ice.

 

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I warmed up with a shower and a hot coffee soon as I got home and refuelled with a banana and some cashews! This race was a great way to make me feel like myself again after 4 days of indulging myself in food and relaxation. Believe me I didn’t feel one bit guilty about taking a few days off to myself but it was nice to get out for a run after a few days of being off. I hope this race happens again next year, it was a great way to stay active during the holidays. There is no way I would have went out running today if I didn’t sign up for this virtual 10K so thanks to those who organized it!

 

Did you participate in any holiday races this year?

Get any new running gear for Christmas?