30 Good Things Before 30: #27 – The Naysayers

It’s the freakin’ weekend! Happy 4th to my American friends. Hope you’re all having a wonderful time.

Me? I’m here, north of the border, relaxing like it was my national holiday. Pretty much the only productive thing I got up to today was running a nice steady 3.5 miles.

Happy to say, I felt pretty well-rested after Thursday’s 10 km tempo run. And thank goodness for that because it was kind of a doozy.

30-good-things-before-30My training plan for running a 4-hour marathon says my pace for tempo runs should be 9:14/mile. Even when I include my warm-up and cool-down in Thursday’s run, I slaughtered that pace.

And that’s primarily because of #27 on my list of 30 Good Things Before 30:

The Naysayers

When it comes to moral support in my running, I’m a darn lucky lady.

I have an amazing husband who tells me regularly how proud he is of my commitment to running — especially on those days when I’d rather do anything but. I have a mom, dad and brother who get up at ungodly hours on Sunday mornings to come watch me race. And I have extended family who always ask about my running and shower me with kind words of admiration.

I’m lucky. I know.

I guess that’s why it’s particularly jarring for me when I encounter someone of the opposite persuasion: a naysayer.

That’s what happened to me on Thursday. Our regular marathon clinic instructor was out-of-town so we had someone else fill in. We set out on our warm-up and he started asking about our goals.

I mentioned I was aiming for a sub-4:00 marathon this year.

“What did you run your last one in?” he asked.


“What about your last half?”


“Yeah, realistically, you’re probably looking at 4:30.”

Say what?!?

I mean I get where he’s coming from. I’m familiar with the general notion that your marathon time will be your half-marathon time doubled, plus 10 minutes. I get that maybe it’s not a good idea to set someone up for failure if they’ve set an unrealistic goal.

But what he didn’t get about me is that I’ve been running my butt off. I’ve been working hard on my speed since that last half-marathon. And since my marathon training began, I’ve been consistently meeting and exceeding the prescribed training run paces for a 4-hour marathon.

And he’s gonna waltz into my clinic and tell me my goal isn’t realistic? C’mon!

I gotta thank him though, because after hearing his thoughts I ran the heck out of our tempo miles. I stayed at the front of the pack, pushed hard, told my tired legs to buck up, and ran faster than I knew I could.

Turns out a naysayer can be a good thing after all! For me, it was just the fire I needed lit under my bum to dig deep and find out what I’m really capable of. My dad suggested we invite him to come to my marathon in Toronto! 😉

How do you deal with the naysayers?

What motivates you more: positive supporters or pessimistic naysayers?


Three goals is better than one

I am now officially less than a week from my first race of the season: the Fredericton Marathon 10k. Training-wise, things are going well.

It’s suddenly spring in Fredericton and the sunshine pulled me outdoors this weekend for a couple of nice easy runs and an interesting discovery: It turns out I may actually be solar-powered. Each sun-soaked run felt light and relaxed and my pace was consistently faster than intended (though still not as fast as I hoped I would be when I set out on this training plan).


My legs experiencing exposure to sunlight for the first time in months.

It’s a sharp contrast to last week when slogging out a couple of low-energy outdoor runs forced me to own up to the fact that my original goal of a new PR might be just out of reach. Unfortunately, despite my newfound sun-energy, I think that’s still the case.

Yet, I haven’t invested a single second into re-imagining the race and figuring out what my new goal should be. Somehow, I just couldn’t let it go.

And now, I’ve decided I don’t have to.

Instead of letting go of this goal, I’m keeping it and adding two others. Yeah, that’s right: One race, three goals.

Apparently, this is an actual thing so it may not come as a surprise to you more seasoned runners, but it blew my little mind when it came up in the #RunAtCan chat last night.

The chat was focused on “altering the plan” for training and goals. Perfect timing, right? After a lot of heartbreaking talk about injuries and setbacks, one of the questions that came up was if our training had ever gone so well that we had to change our goals in a positive way. (Wouldn’t it be grand to have that problem?)

One of my wonderful fellow #RunAtCan tweeps mentioned that while that had never happened for her, she always sets three goals and has exceeded her “dream goal” on more than one occasion.

Intrigued, I inquired for more detail:

Here’s another good summary from hillrunner.com:

Floor Goal – The minimum that I would be satisfied with if I have an off day or bad race conditions (weather, course, etc.).

Realistic Goal – What I realistically think I should be able to do considering my stage/state of conditioning and knowledge of the race specifics.

Optimistic Goal – What I think I might be able to do if I pop a really exceptional one and everything goes right.

Love. This.

It removes the black-and-white success/failure dichotomy and gives you multiple options to run a race you can feel good about. And isn’t the whole damn point of this running thing to feel good about what you’re doing?

Here’s what I’m thinking for Sunday’s race:

  • Floor Goal: 59:59. Much longer than this and it will officially be my slowest 10k yet. I just can’t see that happening with the shape I’m in now; regardless, getting in under an hour is still respectable and I’ll take it.
  • Realistic Goal: 57:00. Still kinda ambitious for the paces I’ve recorded during my training but achievable given the speed of my outdoor runs lately.
  • Optimistic Goal: 53:00 (a.k.a. just enough for a new PR). It’s not completely out of the question. It’s definitely a pace I can achieve and maybe, with the right mix of race day adrenaline and cheering spectators, even sustain.

Still hoping to land somewhere between realistic and optimistic (and, let’s be honest, hoping it’s a lot closer to optimistic than realistic), but I’ll take what I can get come race day.

In the meantime, I’ll be focused on eating right, hydrating well, and sticking to the final week of my training plan, which (glory, hallelujah!) includes a few extra rest days,

And then? Well, let race season begin!!!

My Sub-4:00 Marathon Goal: Crazy or Courageous?

Oh, hello there.

Yes, it’s been a while. Yes, I made promises I didn’t keep, and yes, I alluded to possibilities that never came to fruition.

You know it. I know it.

But let’s not dwell on the past. Let’s just let bygones be bygones and sleeping dogs lie. It’s water under the bridge. It’s spilled milk. We’re not gonna cry about it, so let’s just move on.



I’m here today because (surprise, surprise) I’ve got a brand new project crashing around in that rock polisher that is my skull. If you know me, even if you just happened upon my Instagram account once, you know I’m a lady of few passions:

  1. My adorable Kerry Blue Terrier
  2. Turning tofu into food my meat-eater husband will, at least, tolerate and, on a rare blue moon, enjoy
  3. Running. Just running. Not away from anything. Or toward anything. Just good ol’ fashioned putting one foot in front of the other kinda fast for a kinda long time.

Today, we’re focusing on #3.

In May 2014, I ran my first marathon.

First-ever marathon. A hot day in May.

First-ever marathon. A hot day in May (and perhaps a cold day in hell if you’d told myself 4 years ago this is what I’d be doing).

It was, as you can surmise from the photo (the one that made me look the least like death, by the way), not pretty. Nor was it fast, clocking in at 4:45 and some change.

However, I was pretty darn proud of myself just for finishing. It’s not nothing, slogging yourself around for 42 km. Anyone who completes a marathon deserves a mighty big pat on the back.

And so I collected my pats on the back right up until this Christmas vacation when I enchanted my rarely-seen family members with my amazing feat of endurance and, I’m assuming, temporary insanity.

I was content to do so–until the cold, harsh light of New Year’s Day. Because nothing induces a what-the-heck-am-I-doing-with-my-life, I’m-turning-30-this-year-and-what-do-I-really-have-to-show-for-it freak-out like a brand new year.

And because I don’t have answers to those questions, and I’m not really willing to deal with them, I’m turning my energies to another pursuit: the sub-4:00 marathon.

The sub-4:00 marathon is a mysterious beast. It’s kinda fast, but not that fast. You’ve gotta be pretty fit to do it, but you still won’t qualify for Boston unless you’re over 50 (which I am but only in terms of my sleeping schedule: bed by 9, up by 6).

Before setting my sub-4:00 marathon goal, I considered trying to run a qualifying time for Boston. Upon looking into it, I’ve determined the qualifying times are really aimed at Olympic athletes, cheetahs and cyborgs. Definitely not Kerry-Blue-adoring, tofu-cooking weekend warriors like me. (See for yourself.) So sub-4:00 it is.

That means I’ll need to run a 9-minute mile pace for the full race. Or just shy of 2 minutes a mile faster than my first marathon. (That sounds crazy, even to me.)

Since then, however, I have run a half-marathon at a pace of 9:36 so a 9-minute pace isn’t the biggest stretch, right? Right, guys? Guys?!?

Researching training plans now…