A 5'3 Perspective


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My Second Half Marathon Experience

After sleepless nights, training doubts, and racing remorse, I am thrilled to have completed my second half marathon this Sunday – and even more excited to have finished in under two hours! If you read my running remorse post last week, you’ll likely be surprised to hear that I have been bit by the racing bug again. While I am not signing up for another half marathon in the near future, I am looking into a couple 10 km races in the winter (just checking out my options – I want to come down from my running high before I make any commitments).

All hesitations aside, I knew I had given my best effort effort training for this race. Preparing for a Spring half is much different than a Fall one – I have learned that I prefer running in cool temperatures (and even snowstorms) as opposed to warm scorching weather. Most distance runners will use Sundays as long run days; take a moment to think about what that means. Fun Saturdays are always cut a little short to make sure you feel ready to get a 16, 17, 18 k (or even longer) run in before peak heat hours. Depending on your pace, these distances can take over two hours to complete meaning you’ll need to be out pounding the pavement before 9:00 AM. Another sacrifice you’ll have to make is running on vacation. If you let your training slip, it is very hard to pick up where you left off – summer is a very popular time to take weekend trips, be prepared to pack your running gear and map out a couple routes to run while everyone else is sleeping in. This being said, running on vacation is one of my favourite ways to explore a new city, it makes me feel like a local and I almost always come across neat areas I would have never found otherwise.

Winter is easier. Long runs aren’t scheduled around the sun, Saturday partying is less frequent since patios are closed, and buy new cold weather running gear is a lot of fun. Sure the footing is slippery and you might run into a snow storm (literally), but as long as you are careful and alert, these added elements of difficulty make the time fly by. Maybe this is personal preference though!

father daughter finish line

Strides away from the finish line!

half marathonI had planned to do a race recap, but as the kilometers ticked by, they all merged together. I can tell you that the Canada Army Run is much less flat than the Ottawa Race Weekend route. If you are looking for a PB, consider that. Although I did not beat my first half marathon time, I felt much stronger and in control throughout the entire race – extra hills and all. I am confident that if the courses were the same I would have snagged a PB this time around. Either way, I was elated crossing the finish line knowing I had secured another sub two hour time!

Neil and Alicia along the course cheering us on, with Lanna and Susan close beside them!

Neil and Alicia along the course cheering us on, with Lanna and Susan close beside them!

I cannot even begin to express how thankful and honoured I am to have such great friends and family that pushed me every step of the way. From my dad you ran by my side, to my amazing boyfriend and friends who cheered me on along the course and at the finish line, I know I couldn’t have made it through the race without you guys. Knowing that I have such kind and thoughtful people in my life makes me feel so lucky. It truly meant the world to see your smiling faces cheering me on.

Celebrating another sub two hour finish with my dad!

Celebrating another sub two hour finish with my dad!

Will I run another half marathon? The answer is most likely yes. Crossing the finish line on Sunday reminded me of why I make the sacrifices I do to be a runner, it also confirmed that I truly do love running.

Despite a little muscle soreness, I am eager to lace up my sneakers this week and do what I love.

Congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend, you did it!

xo Lauren


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Running Remorse

As most of you know, this weekend I will be racing in my second half marathon (ever) of the year. I still remember the feeling of relief that came across me when I finally made it to the finish line of the Ottawa Race Weekend half – yes I said relief, not accomplishment. At that moment I had absolutely no intentions of signing up for the Army Run, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like i should sign up for a second half. I had already built up my endurance and maintaining it would be much easier (not true). After wavering on whether or not to race again, I finally decided to do it – having something to train for would force me to be accountable with my running throughout the summer.

I don’t want to sound like a negative Nancy, there are more than a handful of reasons why racing and training is great – which I’ve shared with you here, here, and here – but I am starting to realize that running for yourself and for pleasure is much more enjoyable. Running your first race (of a particular distance) is exciting, the main goal is to finish strong. I am noticing that a second race is different – I always have that nagging voice in my head telling me that I have to beat my last time. As competitive as I am, the pressure to PR is driving me insane – it has been detrimental to my training and my well being. I cannot think of a single run since the race where I have finished feeling satisfied. I am always disappointed with my time, my pace, my walk breaks, the list goes on – there is always something I could have done better.

Now that I have had some time to reflect on my training, I know I am being too hard on myself. I stuck to my schedule and ran each run to the best of my ability, despite negative thoughts. I really do love to run – and I love being a part of the running community, but after this Sunday I need to change my training up to remind myself why I started in the first place. No more forced 16km (or longer) Sunday runs. If I want to do a long run I will, if I am not feeling it – that is okay too. This isn’t an excuse to stop exercising, it is merely a reminder that I need to be a little more conscious of how my body feels. I still plan to run three days a week, two short and one long, but on a much less rigorous schedule – running is supposed to be fun, and I have every intention to return to a place where I look forward to doing it.

As for this race, of course I hope to PR, but I have to remember that completing a half marathon (no matter the time) is an accomplishment. My plan is to be positive – no more self doubt. I know I can run the distance as I have done it many times before.

I am done running with my head – this Sunday is all about running with my heart.

xo Lauren


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What I Ate Wednesday, Plus A Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe

By the time you read this I will be driving the highways of Ontario with my man to visit friends and family in my favourite Canadian city – Toronto! Just because I’m on vacation, doesn’t mean I’m leaving you high and dry – I’m just shifting things a little, instead of sharing what I ate Wednesday, I’m showing Tuesday’s eats! No big deal right? Didn’t think so, but if it does bother you, scroll down, I have an awesome peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough energy bite recipe to share to make up for it! You’re welcome ;).WIAW

Breakfast – This is my favourite meal ever. Yes, ever. Egg white omelette with spinach and goat cheese, topped with homemade guacamole [avocado, lime juice, salt and pepper], with a side of sweet potato pieces. In the background you can see Neil’s french toast and cherries! Oh and don’t forget the Second Cup French Vanilla flavoured coffee!
Snack – A juicy Ontario peach.
Lunch – Not the best looking meal, but it sure tasted great! Salmon, broccoli and sweet potato [yes I am on a yam bender today].
Snack – Typical veggies in a Zip-lock baggy.
Dinner – A salad beast! Lettuce, fresh blueberries, grilled chicken, goat cheese and candied walnuts [walnuts tossed in maple syrup and heated on the stove], topped with Cranberry – Pear White Balsamic from The Unrefined Olive in Ottawa. If you love olive oils and balsamic vinegars, this spot is a must visit!
Dessert – PEANUT BUTTER, CHOCOLATE CHIP, COOKIE DOUGH balls! Yes I have been on a “bite” creating bender – this recipe is the easiest one yet.

Here is what you need: 
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp softened coconut oil
splash of vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips. Once the mixture is uniform, fold in the chocolate chips. Roll into approximately 10 balls and place on wax or parchment paper. Place in the freezer for at least half an hour to harden.

You can serve these delicious bites straight from the freezer. Otherwise – store them in the fridge, they will not keep if they are left out. Keep that in mind if you are bringing them to work for lunch…. or maybe just don’t bring them – I learned the hard way.

Happy hump day friends!

xo Lauren