What’s next?

I swear to god almost right after I finished the marathon (maybe later that same day…), some subconscious part of me started pondering what my next challenge to conquer will be. It was like, “well, if I can do a marathon, I can do anything… ANYTHING!”

Here are some ideas that have popped into my head to prove how crazy my mind is:

  • Trek Macchu Picchu (spelling?)
  • Trek Mt Kiliminjaro
  • Run another marathon
  • 5k time below 30min
  • 10k time below 60min
  • 21k time below 2:30
  • Canadian Death Race
  • Backpacking trip
  • Sprint or Olympic Triathlon
  • Complete 5 Peaks Series

That’s kinda a big list for 1 year. It is also an expensive list. And a kinda sorta conflicting list in some respects – my understanding is that 5k speed training is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than 21k pace improvement training.

Here I sit. Pondering.


more fun times!

another good weekend!

fri night: housework & couch potato-time

sat : 14k run with darren. holy shit i am slow. but i will listen to the experts and stick to my heart rate training…

then i met up with jamie and his mom, donna, for some delicious lunch @ tazaa (best middle eastern cuisine in the city!!!).

We enjoyed some chicken & beef pitas, followed up by some fantastic baclava, and some kind of macaroon thing which we plan to never eat again…   in the evening we had a buncha friends over to watch ufc (the Aldo vs Hominick fight was awesome! I did not know goose-eggs could be that HUGE!).

sun: a nice 4k run with the running club… then the pannenkoek haus with mom, dad, and ange… and the rest of my sunday is NOTHING! I can sit on the couch for the next 7 hours if i want! FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!


jen’s experience with overtraining (aka “Surprisingly, your body DOES know best”)

warning: long blog post ahead!

for the last 12-14 months, i was riding the diet & exercise wagon pretty hard. i swear to god i read every single possible article on the internets i could find related to exercise and nutrition. i also worked my ass off at the gym. and then i decided to sign up for a half marathon. and then i decided to sign up for femsport.

to anyone reading this, you’re either saying “whoa! she’s hardcore!” or “whoa, burnout alert!”

unfortunately the latter was true; i found myself exhausted from every muscle fiber to every neuron in my brain – i was done. i suddenly was in survival mode; however, i had no idea at the time. when i ran, everything hurt. when i tried to weight train, i just couldn’t do it – i simply didn’t have it in me.

i tried to solve it by simply eating more.

lesson #1: you cannot solve overtraining by eating more. just like a car, no matter how often you refill the fuel tank, it has a limit to how far, how fast, and how efficient it can go.

so, if upping my food intake wasn’t helping, then what next? feeling utterly exhausted, and still in ‘survival mode’, i thought: hm, well, i guess i will focus on only running, and some yoga. i kept up my running schedule, though – those base miles are very important! i hurt for almost every single run. i can’t quite explain the pain, but my initial thought was, “why does this feel painful?” which was immediately combatted with “I am sure everyone feels this.” I assumed the regular chit chat about tough workouts, or feeling the burn, or simply that it was painful in the same way that reviewing detailed business requirements is painful, was all referring to my pain.

lesson #2: if you’re gut is questioning the pain, there is probably something to it. running should be hard, challenging, even invigorating if you will – but it really shouldn’t be painful. time to listen to your body… maybe re-assess what you’re doing.

regardless of the pain, i kept training. race time quickly approached, and i found my legs aching all the time leading up to the race. i honestly questioned if i should even bother showing up. i dismissed those thoughts. race day was here. per my previous post, by kilometer 4, i was kinda wanting to throw in the towel. i decided to take more electrolyte chews than normal that day, and my running partner (and running room instructor) helped me to realize that my pain subsided and i was able to pick up the pace!

lesson #3: you need sodium, potassium, calories, and water to properly fuel your body! you also need a particular amount that only your body knows. in all my article reading (aka researching – i truly am an analyst at heart), i decided to follow the guideline “you only need electrolyte supplements if you’ve been running for at least 1 hr, or 10km”. well, that didn’t work for me! my body was telling me the whole time, but i was ignoring it, thinking all the articles i read online, and all the people i spoke to, knew what was best for me. when i start my long runs again in mid-April, I will be taking electrolytes 15-30min in! note: this isn’t to say that everyone else should take electrolytes 15-30min in… i recommend experimenting! every single machine (aka HUMAN BODY!) is completely different… maybe your body doesn’t even need the supplements!

on a less chronological note, i would also like to mention our friend, STRESS . think of stress in the most basic way: physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension (there were 9 other definitions on, but lets focus on this one for my point). this definition refers to physical (training), mental (work) or emotional (home, relationships). your body has no clue which of those 3 sources a period of stress is originating from, it just knows it is stressed and it responds. although i don’t have a specific “point in time” example to give you, the entire time i overtrained, i was also mentally and emotionally stressed. so… i tripled the stress on my body, and my mind, body, and soul all went a little cuckoo.

lesson #4:  if you’re having a tough time at work, or any relationship issues and you find yourself just tired… the treadmill or weights look like some kind of jail sentence… you might want to reconsider the gym once in a while. invest in a night of rest for your body – i mean, as far as its concerned, that fight you had with your boss was a bit of a workout!


i cannot believe i blurbed on this long. this is an important topic for me; it was quite a life lesson. overtraining is so easy to get into; it’s a rut you just wake up in one day because you’ve been head-down-ass-up. a piece of advice i read once: Overtraining leads to burnout and injury, and ultimately moving backwards in your progression; undertraining just means slower progress. surprisingly, your body is a pretty smart, well run machine; it knows best.

it is official – i am going to run a full marathon!

after 9months of training for my very first half marathon, completing it in brutal agony, and learning a lot about my body, i have decided to take on the next big challenge.

i am going to join the Joints in Motion training team and run the full 2011 Honolulu Marathon in December. This means I also need to fundraise over $4,800.

A call-out to all my family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc – please sponsor me for this event! I will put in all the hard training (3-5 days a week, 50-60km a week!), but I need your help to meet my fundraising goal!

I have a website you can easily donate to online, but I will also be doing all sorts of other things throughout the year! Stay tuned!

countdown continues…

Race Day is so close. A little too close. I remember a few weeks ago I was telling people, “I want the race to be now, so I can get it over with!”; now that it is only 8 days away, I wish it was months away!  i have also completely wiped the thought of a specific time-goal out of my mind. my goal, because it is winter and it is my first 1/2 marathon, is only to finish. that is it. i have mentally prepared myself for a 3:00hr finish time, which would be realistic if it is below zero on race day!

week of january 17

life picked me up, tossed me around, and threw me back on the ground since my last post. Yep, hubby and i live in a never-ending state of busyness.

alas, i haven’t been posting as much as i had wanted to do. but i am back. for yet another undetermined non-commital amount of time.

training has been going pretty well. up until last week, the weather had been treatin’ us all pretty damn well. i was able to do my 16 k followed by my 12k just fine and dandy. i have also been able to do all my hill training! last tuesday was the last scheduled hill training night – we did 9x hills in -20ish… amounts to approximately 10k, which we finished in an hour! that is close to my first 10k time!!! i have obviously improved.

what’s new and exciting? well, i rolled my ankle and ended up with a minor sprain last thursday @ soccer. my poor tendons. i have put them through hell and back – over and over again. i am 95% healed now, and ready to tackle 18k tonight. i am going to try it @ the mount royal university indoor track. umm… not sure how this will turn out. mind over matter, mind over matter!

the other new and exciting thing… i am going in for some VO2 max testing on Friday morning! I am so sick of my asthma and not knowing how to work with it, so I’m getting some professional assistance! we’ll see how that goes…

And another week bites the dust!

holy shit, the past week has gone by way too fast.

We went to Edmonton Fri-Sun, and I had my hair done on Thursday, which means I had no training Thurs, Fri, and Sat! Holy shit – 3 days off. And boy did I need it.

Minako (aka MEANako) pushed Paula and I to yet another level of intensity on Wednesday night – plus I had a soccer game afterwards (I SCORED!), and we both had trouble walking for the next 3 days. So, although I dislike having 3 days off when I am training for events as intense as a 1/2 marathon and a strength competition, i think it was warranted.

I ran 10k on Sunday. I ran outside, I didn’t bail, AND i beat my time on the treadmill from the previous week (from 1:20 to 1:14)!! I don’t know how this is possible… given that is more difficult to run outside than on a treadmill… but who cares, I’m stoked! I’m going to attribute it to the fact that we have started hill training for running on Tuesday nights, and that Minako is pushing our Conditioning to a whole new level. HELL YEAH.

Anyway, this week’s training schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday: 10k Long Slow Run
  • Monday: I was supposed to personal train, but instead I got a 24-hr stomach bug of some sort
  • Tuesday: Hill Training, followed by soccer game
  • Wednesday: Personal Training with Minako
  • Thursday: I plan to do some Tabata Intervals depending how sore I am from Wednesday
  • Friday: Hot Yoga
  • Saturday: Workout with Paula and Jayme

Next week we’re going to start upping Mileage in the running schedule – I am actually looking forward to a 12k run on Sunday… then 14k the next Sunday, and 16k the following. Only 10 weeks to go until my 1/2 Marathon!