Race Recap: Fredericton Fall Classic Half-Marathon

Running used to be a shiny, new and exciting adventure. Each run seemed to feel like a milestone achieved and usually brought about a new life lesson.

It’s different now, but not in a bad way.

Running has become my reliable old friend. Sometimes we drift apart, but it’s always there for me when I decide to come back, and eventually it feels like we never took a break from each other at all.

And like any great relationship, I try not to take it too seriously.


On Sunday I completed my third half-marathon. I decided to return to running at the end of the spring this year to prove to myself that I still had some fight left in me. In the beginning it was fairly awful. I was out of shape after a winter of zero exercise. I set my sights loosely on a half-marathon in order to stay motivated.

Things were different these past four months than during my past half-marathon training cycles. I ran a lot less intensely than ever before. I rarely pushed myself. I absolutely knew I was not aiming for a personal best. And something funny happened — I looked forward to my runs instead of dreading them. I wasn’t nervous in the days leading up to it and woke up on race day feeling excited.

By the time I crossed the finish line on Sunday, I had gotten what I wanted out of the experience: a vote of confidence for myself and proof that I could still do hard things.

Heading down to the race area for our 8:30 AM, it was definitely colder out than it had been for months. I chose to wear a blanket until the gun went off. I also layered a shirt I found at Value Village over a tank top in case I wanted to throw it off. In the end I kept it on the whole way because I liked the shirt and wanted to keep it!


On my very first step, I felt a shooting pain in my left IT band. My heart sank. The only serious pain I’ve had in the past four months was some nerve/back pain that resolved itself in August.

If it was a training run, I would have stopped to stretch it out, but I decided to keep going. The pain never really let up, but I did stop thinking about it at times. As usual, I had to focus on mental strength to get me through the race. I really had to push myself and stay positive.


Our route was beautiful with fantastic views of the river. We got to see the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick’s house, the old train bridge, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the University of New Brunswick’s red-brick campus.

I don’t usually get to run races with people because I’m at the back of the pack, but even though I finished 201st out of 208, there were consistently a few people around me for the whole race. I was running with one woman for a little while and at one point she turned to give me a  high five. Runners, especially back-of-the-packers, are the best.

My dad met me close to the finish line to run me in. That’s a regular occurrence, but this time I burst into tears. Honestly, I was hurting a lot. My IT band was screaming and my legs had been burning for quite a long while at that point. But I tried to get myself together and took off for the finish.


I was cheered on and called “Molls” by the announcer when getting close to the end. My Mom was right there and so was my husband. Hometown races are awesome.

Knowing my fitness level going into this race I thought I would be ecstatic with a 2:30 finishing time (unthinkable, I know, for all you fast runners). I forgot to look at the clock at the end but when I looked up my time later it was 2:22:01. We found out the course had been about 400 metres short but I still came in under my goal.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to my old friend running for a while, and to say hi to my buddies swimming and yoga.

Getting It Done: Looking Back On Training


In less than a week, I will be running my third half-marathon.

I always try to keep it real on this blog. My favourite people to follow on social media are those who talk openly about injuries, gaps in training, lack of motivation, or even running/walking races that they barely trained for. Those are my peeps — the ones who aren’t perfect and don’t try to appear to be. High fives for you all.

I’m fine saying that despite the fact that the weather will be close to perfect, the course is flat, and the start line is close to my house, I’m expecting a personal worst time on Sunday. I’ve never felt this unprepared for a race. I’m not in great shape and my head is full of clutter lately while I’m running.


Yesterday I went out for a 10K run; my last Sunday run on my training program. After a late night before, I procrastinated until 2 p.m. when I finally got out the door. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and I followed a route that led me along the river.

Unfortunately, every time I tried to get into a rhythm, I panicked about how out of shape I felt and I found myself wanting to walk. I resorted to telling myself to just get the distance done.

“Getting it done” has pretty much become my mantra for the past four months. In the end, it wasn’t pretty, but I was able to check 10K off my schedule and know that I am one run closer to my goal. Now it’s time to taper.

When reflecting back on a training cycle I usually include things I could have done better. This time around I’ve decided to just make a “positives” list and leave out the negatives.

What I did right:


  • I got used to running in the heat. We had a very warm summer, and I sweated buckets on my 5 P.M. runs after work. I was surprised to find I didn’t actually hate running in the heat and felt it was a cleansing experience that made me feel like I was working hard while still enjoying the sunny season.
  • I didn’t wear a Garmin. It made me slower because I didn’t push the pace as much, but it also meant I was able to have leisurely runs that helped me stop and smell the roses more often. Sometimes literally!
  • I discovered I love running before work — as long as I avoid hitting the snooze button. It helps me feel energized and centered all day.
  • I feel so grateful to live in downtown Fredericton and have access to some beautiful running routes. It was a lot easier to appreciate this gift in the summer as opposed to February when you’re running on icy streets.
  • I ran four times a week as opposed to five, and other than some back/nerve pain in early August, I haven’t been injured. That’s unheard of for me.
  • And above all, the thing I am most proud of? I didn’t give up. When I put together my plan in June, I wasn’t sure it was going to be possible to complete a half after taking the whole winter and spring off. I was starting from scratch. Yes, there were vacations, sore legs, lazy days, and mind games that all made me want to throw in the towel. But I didn’t. I’m happy to say I have arrived at the week before the race with all my most important training runs under my belt.

I’ve discovered that “just getting it done” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It means I got. it. done. — and that’s always better than the alternative. I’m so much better off than I was four months ago when I couldn’t run three kilometres without walk breaks. I feel grateful to still be chasing this goal.

Half-marathon #3, I’m coming for you!

Endless Summer

I’m unsure if anyone reads my blog anymore — I know I’ve cut down a lot on blog reading as well as posting — a sign of the times I guess. Some of my favourite posts to read will always a big old-fashioned update, so here’s mine.

Every single run the past few months has been hot, except for this past Sunday, when it was rainy. We’re expected to have record-breaking temperatures for the rest of the week and weekend.


Have you ever been to Fredericton in September? It’s absolutely beautiful. The humidity mostly disappears. The university and college students come back and there’s a nostalgic feeling in the air. The trail system and downtown is full of people.

It feels like a fresh start for everyone. I love it.

I made a commitment this year to not get obsessed with fall too soon because I don’t want winter to appear too quickly. I’m all about that #endlesssummer. I also try to never lament a warm run, even it makes me sweat out of body parts I didn’t know could sweat.

I’ve been away the majority of the weekends this summer; at the lake, at a girls weekend, with my husband in Nova Scotia, at the beach, at a wedding. It’s been a busy and fulfilling season.


And yes, I’m still running four times a week. Although I’ve been “kinda sorta” half-marathon training since late June I finally pulled the trigger and registered for the race this past Sunday.

This is the first time ever that I’ve continued my running routine throughout summer. I had previously written summer training off, but I think I might be a fan now. I’ve struck a nice balance between still enjoying my patios and vacations while feeling like I’m still making progress with my fitness.

On Sept. 27 I will be running 21.1K at the Fredericton Fall Classic on my favourite trails in my own city. The start and finish is only 800m from my house. Yes, I measured! Right now I’m dreaming mostly of the medal and the giant meal I will eat after.

Training has been full of ups and downs, as usual. Soon after I started running four years ago I likened it to a rollercoaster ride and that hasn’t changed. I’m still waiting for running to “come easy” for me. It hasn’t happened yet, but that just makes the process more rewarding.


Other than my marathon, I think this race will be the one I’m most proud of. Getting back in shape after a winter off was not easy. I’ve had a weird and admittedly tough year. There were many times I thought I shouldn’t bother continuing training, and many times I worried I wouldn’t be able to complete the race. That’s why it took me so long to sign up.

I decided to cover the whole 21.1 km distance on the race course this past Sunday to get rid of the nervousness. I told myself I would run as far as I could — and that turned into running a whole half-marathon.

It went really well and now I can clearly visualize myself crossing the finish line.

Eleven days to go!

Something To Brag About


I’ve never been a fast runner.

My first 5K in 2011 was finished in 37:44. I whittled that down over two years to a 27:42 PR. A good time for me over the past four years is usually a 10K in under an hour and a 5K in under 30 minutes.

During marathon training, people told me I should focus on getting my half-marathon time down instead. But I loved the feeling I got from running farther and farther, instead of fast. I had to stop training with my group because they all left me in their dust. I started my long runs on Sundays an hour earlier than most. I eventually ran the marathon and it took me almost five and a half hours to complete.

I was proud of my marathon, but afterwards I switched gears and started thinking about speed again. I dreamed of whittling that time down by half an hour. I wanted to focus on improving my personal bests, but it wasn’t working.

My body was beaten up and so was my mind. I was getting slower. I ran a 10K in the fall in 58:48 and cried after. I felt stressed and was really negative toward myself.

When you think about, it’s just comical to get that emotional about a pace that is middle- to back-of-the-pack, not to mention light years away from a podium finish. And yet, I still did it. I think we all do.

I started running again three months ago after taking the winter and spring almost completely away from exercise.

I still haven’t worn my Garmin in those three months. I searched my house recently and I think it’s officially lost. The only time I get a sense of my pace is by how much time has elapsed when I check the clock when I get home, or if I’m running on the treadmill.

And judging by those things, I am a lot slower that I used to be and I’m not improving. I can go farther than I could 12 weeks ago,  but not faster.

I feel happy when I’m running, and my breathing is calm, but when I try to move my legs faster they just don’t go. If I do pick up the pace I feel panicky and I slow down again. So I don’t bother anymore. I don’t run with a group, I don’t do speedwork; I just trot along on my own.

I am writing this to tell people that running doesn’t always have to be about improving your speed.

I am also writing this to tell myself the same thing.

(When I tell myself it’s OK to be slower, I still don’t always believe it.)

I haven’t given up on my half-marathon training. I am right on track and full of excitement for race day on September 27.

I anticipate a personal worst, but I also anticipate that nervous excitement while laying out my clothes the night before, the sweat and exertion on the course, cheering my friends on when I see them pass by, the pride I will feel when I claim my participation medal, and the giant brunch with my family afterward. For me, that’s what I find fun about running.

I am proud of my running friends who work harder each and every day and keep reaching their goals, whether it be a PR or a BQ. But it’s not for everyone. It’s OK if your goals don’t have anything to do with speed.

In the end, we’re all just trying to stay healthy, have a bit of fun, and maybe have something to brag about later on Instagram, right?

My Favourite Gear for Active Women

At the beginning of the month, I imposed a strict shopping ban upon myself.

The ban has two caveats:

1. I can buy food.

2. I can buy things for a bachelorette party I am co-hosting in August.

The ban lasts until August 15, the party weekend, and will resume after that weekend until Labour Day, at which time I will reassess if I deserve to get my privileges back.

I wasn’t always a big shopper, but this year I’ve been a little out of control and I definitely needed reining in.

Even though I can’t shop, I can still tell you about my favourite gear, clothing and products, and then you can go shop and let me live vicariously through you.

Note: This post is definitely not sponsored. If I was sponsored by Lululemon I would probably quit my job and just Instagram mirror selfies all day. And my husband would probably leave me.

Current favourite Lululemon pieces:


Yoga top – Wild Tank Multi-use tanktop – Cool Racerback Sports bra – Run Stuff Your Bra II Leggings – Wunderunder Running pants – Speed tights Socks – Keep It Tight sock

I am a complete Lululemon addict. There’s no denying it, so I may as well just make the brand its own list. The funny thing is I used to despise this company and everything it stood for.

Of course, that was when I was a couch potato. I still think spending that much money on workout clothing when you never workout, just because the brand is “cool”, makes no sense. However, I choose to spend my money there because I spend a lot of time sweating, like to dress down on the weekends, and appreciate the good quality and fit.

Favourite running shorts:


Old Navy Lightweight Workout Shorts

Surprisingly, this award does not go to Lululemon. I love the Old Navy active wear line of shorts. I even wore them in my marathon because they chafed the least out of all my shorts.

By the way, they are currently on sale for $9.99 with an extra 25 per cent at checkout. I will wait here while you go browse.

Favourite beauty product:

Lush No Drought dry shampoo

No exaggeration: I have changed many lives by recommending this product. I even get emails at work about it from colleagues.

Throw it in your gym bag and sprinkle it in your hair after a workout when you don’t have time to shower. Or take a shower and don’t bother washing your hair, just apply this after. It’s all natural, smells great and works better than any other dry shampoo I’ve tried.

Favourite sunscreen:

Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen

Have you ever noticed that elite runners kind of look … old? I mean, they’re still amazing athletes of course, but the sun has obviously taken a toll on their skin.

I recently started wearing SPF 45 on top of my regular moisturizer with SPF. Apparently the moisturizer cuts down on the effectiveness of the sunscreen so it wasn’t working as well as I had hoped. I apply this every morning on top of my moisturizer and before applying makeup.

Favourite hat:

Lululemon What’SUP hat


I have two of these and wear them all the time — you may have noticed them in my photos. They do get a little warm when the temperature goes up so I recommend a lighter weight mesh running hat in those cases. I wear mine running or for after a workout when my hair is a mess and I need to go out in public.

Sports bra:

Moving Comfort Fiona

I get a lot of questions from both friends and blog readers about sports bra recommendations. It’s so important to wear a properly fitted bra when exercising. My hands-down, gold medal, no-questions-asked favourite brand is Moving Comfort. For larger chested women — and I can personally attest that it will fit a FF cup — the Fiona is great. Anyone smaller than that should also check out the Juno.

I would love to hear about your favourite products … leave a comment or write your own blog post. I look forward to reading and trying to restrain myself from purchasing your recommendations. 

Kinda Sorta Half-Marathon Training: Week 3

Another week of kinda sorta maybe preparing for a fall half-marathon is done. Last week was a classic week of training — ups and downs, a big push to get it all done in the end, finished off with a triumphant feeling of success.


Plans are starting to come together to transition my training from “should I run a half-marathon” to “which half-marathon should I run?” I had envisioned doing the PEI half-marathon in October but right now I’m leaning toward sticking around home and doing the Fall Classic in Fredericton at the end of September. Maybe I’ll go crazy and do both.

We shall see.

In the meantime, I keep running.


Plan said – Rest

What I did – Rest


Plan said – 5K

What I did – 5K

I was too lazy to get out of bed in the morning and by the time I got off work it was more than 30 degrees Celsius. I decided to wimp out and hit up the treadmill. This seriously took all of my willpower — all I wanted to do was go home and hang out with Dan. Of course I felt great after the run and was glad I didn’t miss it.

When I think about how many minutes I spend on Instagram a day, there’s no way I can justify not exercising.


Plan said – 7K

What I did – Nothing

As I was getting ready for work on Wednesday morning I slammed my ankle on the corner of our platform bed. I screamed and immediately started crying … it hurt so badly. I couldn’t put weight on it for half the day and then spent the rest of the day hobbling around. After last week’s impromptu cold, I was pretty annoyed about this turn of events and having to miss my run. I’m really trying to focus on 100 per cent adherence to the plan.


Plan said –  5K

What I did – 5K

To round out our series of mildly unfortunate events, I had an appointment at the hospital to address a nerve blockage that is a result of my surgery from December. I’ve been having some pain because of it and I ended up having to get three shots into the nerves.

I was woozy after and ended up having to walk a lot of my run and even sat on a bench with my head between my legs. This was definitely the low point of the week. I started questioning everything.


Plan said – Rest

What I did – 7K


As much as I would have loved to spend the hot, sunny Friday afternoon on a patio, I needed to make up for Wednesday’s missed run. I ran on the treadmill while Dan lifted weights. As is almost always the case, this run was a complete 180 from the day before and I felt great. And I even got to hit up two patios after.


Plan said – Long run, 10K

What I did – Cross-training


I did my favourite 75-minute yoga flow class outside the YMCA. I count yoga flow as cross-training because it gets my heart rate up, strengthens my muscles and increases my flexibility, all at the same time.


Plan said – Cross training

What I did – Long run, 12.8K

I felt excited when I woke up on Sunday morning. I haven’t run more than 10 kilometres since June 2014. It’s been a long road of recovery since my marathon in the spring of that year.

My schedule said 10K but I felt like going a bit longer so I sketched out a 12K route. I ran along the river and over to the northside before realizing the trail I planned to take is closed this summer due to a sinkhole. I’m not running with my Garmin right now so by the time I got  back I had covered 12.8K.


This run felt great and was such a good boost for my confidence. Not paying attention to pace and relying on my own intuition with my body is probably the smartest decision I’ve ever made.

Planned mileage: 27K

What I did: 29.8K

Kinda Sorta Half-Marathon Training: Week 2

Week 2 is done already. I feel like time goes by really fast when I’m training for a race. This can be a bad thing in the summer, when I really want time to crawl by and for it to never, ever be winter again.

I was aiming for 100 per cent adherence in Week 2 and felt like I wouldn’t be very difficult to hit that goal. In the end, I missed one workout thanks to a cold. A cold, seriously? Those should be illegal when it’s not winter.

Here’s how I did:


Plan said – Rest

What I did – Rest

IMG_20150706_154522 We drove 14 hours back from Ontario so the rest was much appreciated.


Plan said – 5K

What I did – 5K

I did this run in the morning before work. My husband was on his way home that night so I wanted to make sure I could spend time with him in the evening. I wore a running skirt (purchased on my trip to Ontario) for the first time on this run and did not enjoy the experience. Kudos to all you running skirt wearers out there, but it’s not for me. I think I will stick with wearing it as a casual piece, which is the reason I bought it.


Plan said – 5K Race Pace

What I did – 5K Race Pace

Still wanting to maximize time with Dan, I decided to go to the gym with him and do this run on the treadmill. It went OK … but I didn’t enjoy having to pay attention to my pace. As much as I try to pretend I don’t care, I’ve gotten slower this year and it’s frustrating.


Plan said –  5K

What I did – Blew my nose a lot

I came down with a cold and was so exhausted by the time I got home from work. I decided to take it easy, especially with the race coming up on Sunday. Really, my body made the decision for me.


Plan said – Rest

What I did – 3K


Just an easy 3K with my friend Katherine to shake out my legs.


Plan said – Long run, 8K

What I did – Rest

My cold worsened. I wanted to go outside so I went for a little walk and swim in the community outdoor pool but got so tired. I barely slept that night and was so worried about the race.


Plan said – Cross training

What I did – Long run, 10K race

Read all about it here.

Planned mileage: 23K

What I did: 23K