Race week and Knee pain – eek!


Yesterday I decided to get out for a quick 5k. The week before race day always messes with my head. I don’t want to overdo it, but I feel like I should do something… I inevitably end up doing the wrong thing.

After being away all weekend, eating poorly and not running, I figured I had to do something, and by the time I got out I only had time for a 5k. Of course I throw all reason out the window and disregard the fact that I am still recovering from an injury and that I should be careful because I’ve upped my mileage from 8k to 24k in only a few weeks. So I sped through my 5k and pushed myself to the limit. I ran a 5k in only under a minute slower than my fastest time – not smart when you are recovering – I know.

I paid for it last night. I had periodic shooting stabbing pains in my knee all night. I’m going to take it easy running-wise until race day and I’m going to get a massage later today because I’m sure it’s all my overworked muscles pulling on my poor knee. I keep forgetting – I’m older than I think I am. Sigh.

I did a quick search and found a neat video on massage for knee therapy that looks informative.


Any advice on knee pain for someone who chronically makes poor decisions while training?

I know some of you have races this weekend – some bigger than my 30k. Have a great race weekend!



– Jackie –






18K – My First Real Long Run Since My Injury… and only 3 weeks til my 30k

After my botched 20k yesterday that quickly turned into a 7k, I hoped to get the full 20k in today. The temperature was perfect for running, a gray but warmer -2. I was able to run comfortably in regular running tights, compression socks and 2 long sleeved running shirts. It’s nice to be able to run without several more layers of constrictive running clothing for warmth.


Since I hurt my leg in December I haven’t done much running at all. My longest run lately was 11k, so I was hoping to do 20k in about 2hrs. Well, I ran until 18k  (144m of elevation) and I was so exhausted that the run ended there, but I managed to do it in 1:47 which made me happy. The 30k Around the Bay Road Race that I signed up for before I hurt myself is only 3 weeks away.  I’m hoping to do a 21k this Tuesday and maybe a 25k the following weekend. Hopefully I’ll be prepared enough that I can finish the race.

Anyway, an 18k, even though it is 2k short of 20k, still deserves a treat. I made this awesome Apple Fritter cake, and ate several pieces of it. It is delicious – I’ll be making this again and again. (BTW if you make it, I doubled the apples and only cooked it for about 30 minutes based on other peoples comments and it turned out perfectly)


I’ll be a little anxious over the next 3 weeks worrying about the race. If you have any suggestions of what I can do over the next 3 weeks to be a little more prepared, I’d love the advice!

Happy running!


– Jackie –

BRRRR – Chilly spring morning running


Well, I had planned to do my 20k training run this morning – and it didn’t quite turn out as planned. It got up to a high of 2C today (so nice to have temps above freezing finally!), so I mistakenly thought that early this morning it would already be nice, you know, maybe a nice -8 or so. It ended up being -18C when I woke up, and still -18C when I started my run around 6:45. It was a beautiful morning, but almost immediately I knew that my running tights weren’t going to keep me warm enough – you’d think living in Canada that I’d have a proper pair of winter running tights by now. I kept going until it was clear my legs were not going to warm up, and at 7k (and still -17C) I made it back home and decided tomorrow will be my 20k day.


I was aiming for visibility when I got dressed this morning – so I wore all the bright runner colors. 🙂

I broke out my pink Mizuno Wave Rider 9s for their maiden voyage. Can’t wait for dry sidewalks, they’re coming, I can feel it. Even though it was so cold, it was soooo nice to be out on such a beautiful sunny morning and see the sun coming up. Yay for spring mornings – even if they are -18C.

Did you have a beautiful running morning where you were?

– Jackie –

Getting out the Door

For me it’s true that the hardest step you take in running is that step out your front door.

first step

Yesterday I donned my running gear, then spent 2 hours doing things around the house and not running. I finally figured I should just get out the door and do a 3k and then I would have at least done something – it did look nice out. I got my running shoes and Garmin and last minute grabbed my water bottle. When I stepped out the front door, I decided to set my Garmin to a 10 minute run, 1 minute walk workout – this sometimes encourages me to go a bit further when I’m not feeling particularly motivated.

Well, it turned out to be a beautiful day. It’s been so cold here and yesterday was mild enough to run with no gloves, hat or jacket. The sun was out, there was a mild breeze and the smell of fall was all around. I went out for a quick 3k but was rewarded with an enjoyable 9k – yes I said rewarded, it’s kind of neat when you get to the point in your running where the run (not just the Starbucks after) can be the reward. I’m going to try and remember this run all winter. No matter how I feel before I open the front door – I’m always glad I went out.

Oh, and I saw a chicken on the sidewalk. (But of course I got pictures of boring trees, not the chicken – brilliant)
Enjoy your run today!

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I have to admit that I tend to hibernate through November and December. I always have good intentions of keeping up my training and maintaining the fitness level that I have achieved over the summer, but it never fails that November and December are a complete failure for me running-wise.

Every spring I plan a large run, this year I have a 30k (Around the Bay 30k in March) and a half marathon (Mississauga Marathon in May), that makes me start running in January to get ready. Then I have 10ks throughout the summer which keeps me motivated through the hot weather. In the fall I plan another long race like the Toronto Marathon or the Springbank Park Half Marathon – that, along with a few fall 10ks where after all that marathon training I’m gunning for a PB, keeps me going until the end of October.

The problem occurs in November when I don’t have any local runs to plan for and when the weather gets cold, I just can’t force myself out the door. Then December gets colder and I really, really don’t want to get out. I always do the Resolution Run on January 1st, which is a lot of fun by the way – and you get a great jacket, however, since it is a fun run and there is no official time recorded, I don’t feel overly motivated to keep training. So, when January begins and I have to get my butt out the door to start my 30k training, I feel like I am starting from square one.

Well, this year I want it to be different. After reading my fellow Outrunning blogger Mandy’s “Hindering Hibernation” post I decided what to do. Mandy had some great suggestions:
1. Join a social running site such as www.strava.com. (I am on Strava and love it)
2. Sign up for an online running challenge. (I do that, but this helped my form my plan)
3. Get some new gear. (yep, got that covered – perhaps a little too well :o)
4. Plan out each week. (Okay, I don’t do this at all unless I am training for a big run)
5. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished during the last few months, and think about what races you want to do in the spring. (I want to maintain the level of fitness I’ve attained)

Mandy’s suggestions, coupled with a recent article I read in the December issue of Runner’s World magazine (A Season to Streak) helped me form a plan. I’ve decided to do a 31 day run through December challenge. I want most of my runs to be 5k, 8k and 10k, but on days when things are less than ideal, like perhaps a snow storm or feeling a bit under the weather, I’ll do at least a mile (1.6k). On days when I’m tired I’ll do the walk/run method (run 10 minutes then walk 1 minute) to help avoid injury. I’m going to take Mandy’s number 4 suggestion and work on a schedule over the next couple of weeks. It should be interesting when I’m away on holiday for a week, but I have some ideas on how to make that work too. (How about running up Smuggler’s Notch Road in Stowe Vermont – it’ll be closed for the winter season – I have that planned with my running friend Cathy.)

I’m going to keep track of how it went and write a weekly post of my progress, so check back throughout December. I hope this helps me maintain, or even increase my ability so that I can start my Around the Bay 30k training schedule more prepared than I was last year.

Who’s up for it?




I really, really like Strava.com. I may even be a little obsessed with it. If you haven’t checked out Strava, please give it a try. It is a great resource for runners and cyclists – it’s a very useful and easy to use tool for breaking down and improving your runs and it keeps you focused and motivated. I encourage all my running friends, from novice to seasoned athletes, to get on this site.

When you upload your run, you see your route mapped out, you get your elevation, pace, calories burned as well as “awards” for any personal bests or course records you may have set. When you analyze your run, you see it broken down into 1km splits and you can see your elevation loss and gain per km as well as your grade adjusted pace. Being able to see your improvement over the short and long terms helps prevent discouragement.

The social aspect of this site is very encouraging too. It’s like Facebook for runners. I have 9 friends plus a few other local runners that I follow. You have the option of keeping any or all of your runs private if you want.  However, I recommend that you have your runs visible to your friends. Followers can give you “kudos” on each run and you have the option of commenting on your run and discussing how it went.

This site also enables me to “virtually” train with a few of my out of town friends. Even though we live an hour away from each other, we’ve managed to train for a half and full marathon together. When I come in from running and post my run, I often find that they were running at the same time as me and we can chat about our run. It’s also encouraging for me when I don’t have the motivation to get myself out the door. I’ll log into my Strava account and find that my friends have been out running and I feel compelled to get my butt out and run.

Strava is compatible with a number of GPS watches and phone programs and has its own program you can download to your smart phone making it available to almost everyone.

There are a number of other features that help you mix it up a bit. You can set “segments” up – I usually set up my hills as segments – and it keeps track of your best times as well as the best times of any other Strava runners that happen to run through your segment. I find it helps me to push that extra bit on hills that I might either normally avoid or take it easy on, to see if I can get that new personal best.

Strava also offers a number of monthly challenges that you can join. There is usually one challenging you to see how many kilometers you can log in one month, and there are usually other challenges like running a 10k, half or full marathon, or seeing how much elevation you can log. You then can see where you rank against runners all over the world.  We just completed a 10 day elevation challenge this past month that I will write about in the near future.

These challenges have helped me to log more distance than I ever thought I could in a month – they also make me go a little nuts sometimes – but that’s another blog…

If you are looking for a free, easy to use, social place to analyze, share and improve your running and cycling activities, definitely check this site out.



The Rundown Race – Waterloo, Ont



Okay, would you like a different kind of race experience? The Rundown race is a fun and unusual run to try. This unique race allows any runner of any speed or level of fitness to go home with the trophy. The key to winning is knowing your own ability.

The cool thing about this race is that you are really running against yourself. Runners email their predicted time a week before raceday, they are then given a start time based on their predicted time. Your start time is based on all the runners finishing the race at 1:00, so if your predicted race time for the 10k is 51:30 for example, your start time will be 12:08:30.  Of course, no watches are allowed. The runner that finishes closest to his or her predicted time is the winner and the runner that comes in the most under his or her predicted time goes home with the “Shoe of Shame” award.

This run works sort of backwards because you start one at a time and as the race nears the last km, runners start to get closer to each other. Finishers usually all come in within a couple minutes of each other at the end.

The Rundown offers a 5k and 10k race (trophy goes to the 10k winner). The out and back course follows a scenic paved path running through Grey Silo golf course and continues into a quiet neighborhood on the edge of town. This Friday afternoon race happens once in the spring and once in the fall and is organized by a friendly group who just love to run. Prizes and times are given at the restaurant of choice after the race. Want to do this race? Check out their website, under current info, and email the Race Publicity director to get on their email list. The Outrunning blog girls love this one and we seldom miss it.