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Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 7

Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 7
Portland Marathon Training Reflections: Week 7

On October 9, 2016, I will be running Marathon No. 2: the Portland Marathon. Follow along as I post my weekly training recaps. All training recaps can be found here.

Here is week 7 of my marathon training: 

Scroll down to the bottom of the post for a new feature: my weekly fuel (recipes I am making) and inspiration (what’s keeping me motivated during training).


This week was definitely better than last week. I am really starting to notice the benefits of consistent hill training. From making the Grouse Grind climb a bit easier, to improving my strength/conditioning workouts, it has been nice to see hard work pay off.

July 25: group personal training in AM

Does anyone else not sleep well the evening after a long run? I felt really good on Sunday post-long run (eating more food has done wonders for my energy), but I woke up several times throughout the night and was wide awake at 4 am. You better bet I took a nap when I got home from work today! It goes without saying that I am always really hungry the day after a long run. You did not want to see me at 11 am: I was starving, out of snacks, and decided to pick up my favourite scone… only to arrive at the cafe and realize I had forgotten my wallet.


July 26: group personal training in AM + 8.25 miles (13.25 km) hill pyramid in PM

I am infamous for my kitchen and apartment disasters and today highlighted my special ability to break things. Minutes before I was supposed to leave for work, I ripped my contact lens and discovered I ran out of contacts. I blindly made my way to work, only to find our phone and internet down. After several hours, we were back up and running and then I broke the printer. Pre-marathon clinic, I decided to make a smoothie and discovered my blender unscrews from the bottom. Cue: smoothie all over my kitchen. Accepting defeat, I took a nap.

All this to say, I was looking forward to running it out at marathon clinic tonight. After a great talk by chiropractor Dr. Aaron Case on running form, injury prevention, and bio-mechanics, we headed out for our run. Instead of our regular hill repeats, we did a pyramid style workout at Queen Elizabeth Park. For 45 minutes, we ran 1/4 up the hill, 1/2 way up, 3/4 way up, to the top, and back down the pyramid. It was killer, that hill is steep! Taking Dr. Case’s advice, I really tried to engage my glutes and not just use my quads to power me up that hill.

July 27: group personal training in AM + Grouse Grind in PM

In the morning I went to group personal training. In the afternoon, I rushed to Canada Place after work to catch the free shuttle to Grouse Mountain. Technically, the shuttle is intended for tourists, but it wasn’t too busy and they let me on! 30 minutes later, I was climbing up mother nature’s stair-master, the Grouse Grind: 2.9 km (1.8 miles) and 853 m (2800 ft) elevation gain. While it wasn’t my fastest time (55 minutes), I can’t believe how much hill training, running, and regular strength training has helped with me conquering that elevation gain!


July 28: group personal training in AM + 6 miles (10 km) easy run in PM

It must be the week of pyramids! This morning, we did a brutal strength and conditioning pyramid workout:

5/10/15/20/25 reps of push-ups, burpees, medicine ball slam + squat jump, kettlebell swings

2/4/6/8/10/12 reps of supine pull-ups

2/3/4/5/6 sets of stairs

Once we reached the top of all the reps, it was back down to the bottom. We had about 40-45 minutes to complete it, and I almost finished (I only had 1 round to go) before we ran out of time. If you’re looking for a killer workout that will test your strength and endurance, this is a good one.

In the evening, I did an easy 6 mile run on the seawall. Facebook reminded me that one year ago today I signed up for my first half marathon (November 2015). Little did I know 1 year later, I’d run half marathons, trail races, my 1st marathon, and be training for my 2nd marathon.


July 29: active rest day (1.5 hours standup paddle-boarding)

My friend Angela and I embarked on an adventure to Salt Spring Island for the long weekend. Stay tuned for my recap! The weekend was full of good food and fun, hiking, beaches, running, and plenty of exploring. On Friday afternoon, we ventured out into the ocean for 1.5 hours of standup paddle-boarding.


July 30: 8 miles (12.85 km) hilly run + 3.5 hour hike 

Early Saturday morning, we hit the hills of Salt Spring Island. Hello, hill training round 2! We ran 4 miles out to Bader’s Beach and back. While the route was pretty killer, the views were totally worth it! We kept the pace relatively easy with all those hills. In the afternoon, we drove out to Ruckle Provincial Park and hiked the rugged coast line for 3.5 hours, covering 10-12 km.

July 31: 2 hour hike (long run rescheduled to Monday because of travel) 

On our last day on Salt Spring Island, we explored the trails at the top of Mt. Maxwell and spent 2 hours hiking along the mountain ridge and through the forest. Because of travel, I rescheduled my long run for Monday morning.


Weekly Fuel: Recipes I’m making 

Grain-free porridge with coconut butter and berries; chocolate egg white mug cake, raw vegetables and tahini; chocolate hemp seed spread; sweet potato cooked in the slow cooker and mixed with Vega Sport protein powder; paleo curried lemon coconut chicken (super easy); paleo lemon tahini tuna salad (very simple).

Weekly Inspiration: What’s keeping me motivated

Running On Om podcast interview with Sally MacRae, professional ultra trail runner, Nike athlete, and coach

I love all the interviews I have listened to with Sally MacRae. Her positive attitude, mental stamina, dedication to training, love for running and the trails, and desire to constantly better herself is so inspiring. I have been keeping several of Sally’s mantras in mind during training: “You can always be better, so why not try?” and “The further I go, the stronger I get.” She also emphasizes the importance of mental training: “We are so much more resilient than our physical bodies. The mind is so powerful. But if you put your mind to something, you really believe, and it’s worth it to you, it is amazing what you can overcome.”

What’s inspiring you lately? Do you incorporate hill repeats in your running? 

  • Carmy says:

    The hill pyramid sounds tough! You’re amazing for getting through that!

    • says:

      Thanks Carmy, it was a challenge! It really helps to everyone else there, suffering through it and cheering each other on.

  • I always sleep terrible after long runs too. I don’t know if I’m dehydrated or I’m at the point where I’m so exhausted I don’t feel tired? Who knows! Great job on your training 🙂

    • says:

      Thanks Diana! Yeah, I don’t know the reason either. I think being so exhausted or still running on adrenaline. Or drinking too much coffee after the long run, haha!

  • Jessica says:

    That Sally McRae interview was AMAZING. That girl inspires me just so so much.

    And you had me at “mug cake..”

    • says:

      I love her, I don’t know what it is that is so inspiring! I think just her attitude, grit, and work ethic. I love following her on Instagram too!

      Mug cakes, never fail.

  • I also often can not sleep well after a long run. Feeling exhausted with weary muscle pain. I think many people will be the same situation, so do not worry. By the way, your pictures look awesome. So beautiful and peaceful. They are very suitable for a marathon training.

    • says:

      Yes, it’s funny that you can be so exhausted yet have trouble sleeping! Thanks, I really love taking pictures out on my runs and hikes.

  • Michael says:

    I have try to run daily . First time, i feel pain all part of body and muscle pain. Then I try my best and i have gain good result.

  • You had a great training week! Hard training and then had those wonderful views, I think I would try if I were you. Keep going on girl, you’re so strong!

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