November 2014 - Run for the Thrills

Cedar Point, 7 Weeks away!

Keep Training Thrilling!

Posted by | Events, Why I Run | 2 Comments

What could be more thrilling than a FULL IRONMAN Triathlon?! Not much in my mind!  My training buddy, Nate, and I have been talking about when to race our first full ironman.  Last year I did my first triathlons ever, and my season culminated with the half ironman in Muskoka.  That was a thrill and the realization of a long-dreamed of goal.  The race  also  helped to kick off my 40th birthday with a bang, rather than with the tears and moans of “I am getting old”.  So, I thought that maybe for my 50th birthday I would do a full ironman.  Or maybe even for my 45th? Well, on a dark, cold morning this week, in the midst of the first winter storm of the season, Nate and I had resorted to indoor training. We must have been a bit delirious because, after our training session, we took the plunge and both signed up for a full ironman!  We will both be ringing in our 41st birthdays in style at the Challenge Cedar Point Triathlon 140.6 miles (Full Ironman distance).

This goal will keep me training on those cold, stormy mornings, when I would otherwise be tempted to stay in my warm bed.  There will be much training to be done and as I dream about the upcoming race in the fall, it will keep me moving all winter, spring and summer! I am very grateful for such an exciting goal to keep the “thrill” in my training.

Choose your Goal

There are times when we all get sluggish and unmotivated in our training.  If you are finding you are tired of your workout routine,  pick something new and exciting to aim for.  I challenge you to dream big and take a risk.  Here are some considerations when planning your goals for 2015:

  1. Pick something ambitious!  A little fear of the unknown keeps you on your toes. You may not be ready for your event yet, but that thought will keep you training on those days when you find it hard to get moving.
  2. Register now for your race or event, so that you fully commit to doing it.  Set up your schedule now so that you protect your training time and make it to that race. No excuses!
  3. Find a training partner or group to train with. There is power in numbers!
  4. Mix up your training to keep it interesting.  I’ve found that is one of the huge advantages of triathlon training: if I’m bored or injured (like right now) there is another sport to captivate my energy and keep me going.
  5. Make your goal public so that people keep you accountable and cheer you on.  I loved sharing my goal with my friends and coworkers.  They were all so extremely supportive and excited for me! It’s also great sharing my goals on this website!

I will be doing race reviews and compiling a list of local races in the Southern Ontario and North-Eastern US region.  Please share races you are planning on doing and races that you would recommend as excellent local races.

Share your Goal

I want to hear from you.  Please share your dreams and goals for 2015. (scroll down and add them in the comment section below)  Keep the thrill in your training!


Happy Trails for Kevin

Posted by | Events, Runner Profiles | No Comments

Kevin Arnold and Andrew Bridgeman, running down Hydro Hill at the end of the 6km Trail Race.  Photo by Skyler Goudswaard.

Kevin Arnold took to the trails last weekend. He went from a wannabe runner to the real deal. After talking about doing a trail race for years (since we started working together over three years ago!) , Kevin participated in his first ever trail race! On November 15th, Kevin pulled through and explored the lovely trails behind Brock University as part of the 6km Aktiv Trail race. Kevin actually came to my rescue, when a case of plantar fascitiis meant that I could not participate in my scheduled trail race. Kevin was now registered (by me) to run this race and finally put some actual motion into all that talk!

Janine: Kevin, why did you decide to run a trail race in the middle of November? How long has trail running been a goal of yours?

Kevin: I was told I had to by you! It has actually been a goal for a long time and here was a good excuse to get started.

J: What was the most enjoyable part of the 6km trail race?

K: The end!

J: What was the worst moment in the race?

K: The first 3km. I swear they were measured long. There is a long uphill climb in the first half of the race, which is challenging. Wolf (race organizer) said it was a pretty easy course, but I’d have to disagree!

J: How did you prepare for this first trail race?

K: I bought tights and went to bed really early the night before.

J: How do you like running in tights?!

K: Well I have great legs so, yeah it was nice.

J: What are your future running/training plans?

K: Try and run at least twice a week on the trails.

J: Advice to other novice/wannabe runners?

K: Stop making excuses. Sometimes it takes someone forcing you to get out there to actually do it.

J: So I know I kind of twisted your arm into doing this race, but are you glad you ran it and will you run more?

K: Very glad. I’m planning to sign up for the entire race series next year.

J: Was the racing experience what you expected? (this being your first trail race ever)

K: It was pretty much what I expected. I didn’t train so I knew it would be harder than I would have liked it to be, but I managed to run the entire race.

J: That is very impressive without any training! What was your final time?

K: My final time was 32:27. I had told you I was going to break 30min, but with the hills and rough footing, it is a challenging course and I didn’t quite make it. I felt good with my effort.

J: That is an impressive time considering you did no training at all! Many people would not even get up that escarpment hill without training, so you should be proud! Definitely you need to keep at this thing; there is a future for you in trail running for sure!




Combating Running Injuries and Sickness – the Flexible Triathlete

Posted by | Balanced Runner, Training | 4 Comments

As a runner, injuries are bound to happen.  They say that fifty percent of runners are injured at any given time.  Thankfully I have been a very resilient runner over the years and have experienced very few running injuries.  Unfortunately, my time has come.

Injuries do not come out of nowhere, and I had my first warning sign four weeks ago. A day after a workout I feel a small poking in my heel; I ignore it.  There must be something strange going on with my shoe.

Week number two, I feel it again after speed work. I take more notice and add more stretching and icing to my routine.

Week three – I reduce the amount of speed work to let things heal.

Week four – back to my old routine, but pain is still there and intensifying – time to do something about it. It’s getting annoying. I go to the chiropractor.

The prognosis was not what I wanted to hear: planter fasciitis in my right heel.  It is a notoriously tricky injury to overcome.  The chiropractor declared that ideally I should take 10 days off of running.  I really don’t want to hear that! One small consolation: I am not just a runner, but also a triathlete, so no worries.  I will miss running, but I can swim in the meantime.  In fact, I say to myself, I’ll have a great week of swimming.

And I do… to start. I had a great two hour swim workout on Saturday; swam again the next day.  Two days in a row of swimming! This won’t be so bad!… and suddenly the next day, an ear ache materializes out of nowhere!  Doctor at the clinic prescribes antibiotic ear drops and 5 days of NO SWIMMING.

Am I in the twilight zone? Is there some giant government conspiracy? This all feels a little odd.

Two sports down – but there’s still one to go! Thankfully I have a friend with a spin bike and we can do a workout in her basement tomorrow, before I go crazy with no activity!  I just hope I can safely get to her home…

Part of the reason I love Triathlons is that there is always something else to work on.  Take away one sport, there is another to focus on.

We can be creative and flexible.  I can pool run – no land running, no swimming, but I can still combine water and running, as long as I keep my ears out of the water and don’t pound my feet on the bottom of the pool.

This experience is only making me more determined and eager to take on more triathlons in the future.  Take away a sport for a time, and I come to appreciate and love it more.  Injuries (as terrible as they are) are good for making us appreciate the gift that our training is to us.  It is a gift to be able to run and swim and bike.  May I never take for granted this body that I have that can do so many enjoyable activities.

I am dreaming of all the races that I will do in spring and summer of 2015….this is not going to stop me!  I am only more determined now…

chicken pomegranate

Chicken Pomegranate Salad

Posted by | Fit Food | No Comments

Pomegranate is widely available this time of year, and it’s super healthy! This Chicken Pomegranate salad is easy to make ahead for when you’re making something for dinner for your wife who’s going to drive straight from work, pick up your kid at their massage appointment, and then take them directly to their swimming practice. (Not speaking from personal experience or anything).


3 chicken breasts
1 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 avocado
1 pomegranate

1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup frozen raspberries (thawed)
salt, pepper


1. Put chicken in a large stock pot and cover with water. Add bouillon cube. Heat to a low simmer for 10-14 minutes (depending on thickness of chicken breast.) As the chicken cooks, skim the broth if you intend to save it.

2. Slice the cooked chicken into batonnets (large julienne); divide into 4 and arrange on plates.

3. Divide the salad greens and arrange on plates.

4. Cube the avocado; divide into 4 and arrange on plates.

5. Split the pomegranate into quarters. Careful: pomegranate juice really stains. I get at the seeds by just slicing through the skin then pulling the fruit into quarters with my hands. When you then flip the quarters inside out, the seeds are easy to dislodge. Divide the seeds into 4 and add to salad.

6. Blend dressing ingredients and drizzle over salad.


This thing is gonna happen! (My Fit By Forty update)

Posted by | Fit by Forty | 2 Comments

Yep, I’m still lumbering forward with my ‘Fit by Forty’ goal, and it’s going pretty well, all things considered. I’m not ‘fit’ yet, but I’m not forty yet, so it’s all good!

Celebrating my 39th birthday two days ago highlighted how little time I have left to reach my goal, and helped me clarify a few things.


How will I know if I made my goal? At what point is a person considered ‘fit’? Is it when your old pants fit? When your wife says, ‘hey baby, you are looking fit!‘? When you don’t gasp for air after climbing the stairs from the basement to jump into bed, lying there in the dark, listening to your heart pounding, wheezing, considering your own mortality in the dark, thinking of that book you read where the guy died of a heart attack after carrying his groceries up flight of stairs to his apartment and then just laid there on the couch and watched his ice cream melt and died? Or maybe he didn’t die, you can’t quite remember, but you do know that you’ve got to get in better shape because it’s hard to wheeze quietly here in bed in the dark so you don’t wake up your wife?

Well, instead of making the fitness goal something ambiguous that I worry about late at night, I’ve decided that if I were to run a half-marathon, most people would agree that I would have reached a moderately adequate level of fitness. So that’s my goal- a half-marathon before next November 9th.


I’ve been encouraged in my decision to use running as my primary method of achieving said moderately adequate level of fitness.

Running certainly gives you the most bang for your buck – I go out the door and I’m immediately burning calories. I don’t have to drive anywhere or meet anyone else, I just start walking really fast and next thing I know I’m running. Easy as that.

I’ve kept at it too! My knee has been bothering me a bit, but I haven’t let it stop me, which I think is a good sign. I’ve actually run consistently since we got back from our hike in August, with my longest run up to 7 km, and my pace improving steadily.

And, what do you know, I actually like running about 50% of the time. Today I ran on the path near our house (as I usually do) and the sun was shining and the birds were singing and I wasn’t huffing too hard yet, and I just had to pause and take a picture of the path because it was so lovely. (The picture at the top of this post.)


I’ve really got to improve my eating habits. This is gonna be the hardest part, since I really do like to eat, especially things that aren’t good for me, like a dozen donuts in one sitting, or four bowls of ice cream, one after the other. (Just joking! I haven’t eaten that much unhealthy food in a LONG time! It’s been at least a week.)

So, yeah. That’s the state of things for me. Feeling positive. And excited. And hungry. But mostly positive.


Improve Running Speed – Repetition Training

Posted by | Training | No Comments

As long distance runners we clearly know the importance of our long runs and getting our running mileage high.  Introduce into this mileage equation a very different type of running:  Repetition Training.  The purpose of repetition training is to improve running speed and running economy.  This type of training is ideally added to the second half of the base training phase, once mileage has been increased for several weeks (4-6 weeks).  It is not too taxing, as it involves short bouts of high speed, with long recovery times to allow for full recovery.  Repetition training is largely anaerobic, as it is short and intense.  It is valuable, yes, even for marathoners, as it teaches the body how to run fast.  According to Jack Daniel’s, “you recruit the exact muscle fibers that you need for economical running.”  By running at this quicker pace, your race pace will end up feeling more comfortable.  These workouts are ideal to start with before the more intense and longer interval workouts.  The overall mileage spent at the high intensity is low and it allows your body to start working at a quicker speed without pushing yourself to complete exhaustion.

After several weeks of building up my mileage, I am adding in one day a week of repetition training.  Following a workout I feel great, having pushed my body to faster speeds.

Determine Repetition Pace

Use a previous race performance: enter the distance in the first column and your race time in the second column.  Press calculate, then in the chart below, select “Training”.  You will then receive a list of paces for various types of training from Easy to Repetition training.  The values you are looking for are in the very last row:  Repetition training paces. For example, if  you ran a marathon in 3:00:00, your repetition training paces for a 400m would be 01:22 and for a 200m, 0:41.

Repetition Workouts

Now that you know your individual target paces based on your fitness, you can set out on a great speed workout!

After a solid warmup of several kilometers (aim for minimum 15 minute warmup) you can begin with your speed workout.  Repetitions are short.  Recovery between reps is full – rest until   you feel fully recovered.  A guideline for recovery is to rest four times as long as you work;  part of this recovery period should consist of easy jogging.  This differs from interval training, where recovery periods are shorter.

These workout suggestions are based on Daniels’ Running Formula.

Workout 1: 

5 to 6 sets 0f ( 200m, 200m, 400m)

– full recoveries following each rep (each 200 and 400)

Workout 2:

5 – 6 x 400m, followed by 10 x 200m – full recoveries

Workout 3: 

16 – 20 x 200m – full recoverieslong_run

Workout 4: 

8 – 10 x 400m – full recoveries

Workout 5: 

6 x 200m, 6 – 8 x 400m – full recoveries.

Cool down well, after your repetition workout.  A successful repetition workout consists of steady paces for all reps . You should be able to maintain the same pace for each rep, as you are fully recovering in between.  At the end of the workout you should feel like you could have kept going for a few more!  You should feel tired, but not completely exhausted.  You will rather feel exhilarated at having run quicker then possibly ever before.

Watch out, with this type of training you will feel new speed in those legs of yours!