Ambassador Susan says “Injuries Suck…Learn from my training errors!”

August 16, 2014

It’s always easier (and less painful) to learn from other runner’s mistakes. When I started training for my first marathon in 2008 I joined a running group and was running more consistently than I ever had before as well as including speed workouts in my training routine. I saw my running improve in a short period of time. A month before my marathon I ran Around the Bay for the first time. One of my running buddies at the time had warned me saying “Run it easy and save it for the marathon.” But I was feeling good on race day and ran Around the Bay hard. I was happy with my time and thought I was on track for a great marathon … little did I know that a series of training errors would leave me limping in a few short weeks.

Training Eraround the bayror #1: I ran Around the Bay on a Sunday and then did a workout on the Tuesday with the running group. The run was at a much faster pace than it should have been. My muscles and tissues were not recovered yet from Around the Bay. The result Mechanical Stress Overload!

Training Error #2: Being proud of myself for running well at Around the Bay I went out and bought myself a pair of new running shoes J There was a pair of really pretty Mizunos that I liked. Unfortunately what I didn’t realize was that they were racing flats and had a significant heel drop from the shoes I was wearing previously. Transitioning too quickly to a shoe with a larger heel drop puts a lot of additional stress on your calf muscles. The result Mechanical Stress Overload!

Training Error #3: By the end of the week following Around the Bay I had done 2 workouts at a faster pace in my new running shoes and my right calf was hurting. It wasn’t that normal muscle ache from a hard workout … it was pain. Unfortunately I received some pretty bad advice on how to manage the pain, which was to take ibuprofen and Tylenol and keep running. If you need to take medication to run, that’s probably a good sign you need to stop running and see a health care professional. Taking medications like Tylenol mask the pain you may be feeling allowing for more Mechanical Stress Overload! The ibuprofen when taken before a workout acts to block the inflammatory process before it even gets started. You need inflammation to heal! Inflammation is your friend if you want your muscles to heal after a workout!

Training Error #4: I kept running through the pain thinking that if I missed a workout I would be missing out on valuable training for my marathon. The pain in my calf got worse with every run and I didn’t listen to my body. I went from a little pain at the start of my runs, to a lot of pain throughout the whole run, to finally leaving me limping when I walked. Listen to your body! Pain is usually a signal of protection from your brain and for an acute injury it is your best friend telling you that you are in danger and you need to listen!

So did I get to the marathon finish line???

Well I limped into Fowler Kennedy got told I probably had a partial calf tear and some nice shin splints to go with it because I kept running on the injured calf. I had to stay off the calf for the entire time leading up to the marathon. Still being stubborn and downright stupid and not having learned my lesson, I ran the marathon (after taking a few Tylenol first … it really didn’t seem that stupid at the time!). I ended up running terribly in the marathon and it took me about 2 months following it to recover and be able to walk properly again. Just over a year later I was out in Vancouver training with Forerunners and my calf started to hurt again. I talked to my coach and got the best advice of my life … stop running and get in the pool. One week later my calf was better and I was back to running. We talked about what probably caused the calf pain and the answer was Mechanical Stress Overload!!! Too much stress on the calf, with not enough time to recover. I have now learned and haven’t had any issues with my calf in the last 4 years.

Sometimes you have to make big mistakes to learn from them. Pain and injuries suck, plain and simple! But one week off from running is much better than one month! Listen to your body, don’t take medications to “help” you run, be careful when transitioning to new shoes and most importantly give your body time to adapt and don’t let Mechanical Stress Overload stop you from running!

Have a great Rock the Road and recover well!!!!


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Ambassador Leanne Talks about Race Day Prep!

August 16, 2014

Race day is fast approaching. The nerves are setting in. I always have big goals on race day. Mostly I hope to have a new PR to add to my PR page at home. I have plateaued in the 5 km distance and have switched my focus to the 10 km distance where I hope to take 1 to 2 more minutes off my time. Sometimes just running more is all a person needs to run faster on race day. But sometimes I can arrive at the race start with the best preparation behind me only to fail miserably at my goal because of the race day conditions.

Race day determines whether I can hit my goal. The weather could be too hot, too cold, or extremely windy. Maybe I slept badly which is every night when I am traveling with my kids where we are all sleeping in the same bedroom with 3 of us on the bed and one of us on the floor (I get the floor tonight!) or in a tent with no sleeping pad like last weekend because I gave it to my dad to use, maybe I feel sick or didn’t eat well. I embrace rain on race day because it keeps me cool. I despise the wind. The wind was my enemy during the Mississauga Marathon (as well as the brand new shoes I wore on race day!). There is nothing worse than turning a corner and being smacked in the face with wind that makes you feel like you are barely moving forward.

 Screenshot 2014-08-16 20.13.33I used to be a nervous racer. I thought if I was not nervous that I would not care. If I did not care then I would walk if I got tired or just give up. In fact the 10 km distance used to be the race distance I avoided. Give me a 5k, half marathon or full marathon any day and keep the 10 k race for yourself thank you very much!

A 5 km race is perfect for speed. Short enough to make speed possible and just long enough to survive that speed. When I start hating the race I only have 1 more km to go! A half-marathon race is perfect for endurance. My strategy is to line up in front of a pace bunny whom I hope I never see in front of me! I settle into a good pace for the long haul and speed up for the last 5 kms. A marathon is the party at the end of a long training cycle. I focus on each 10 km section until I get to 30 kms and then at 32 kms I count down the final 10 kms telling myself that I have run 10 kms hundreds of times. But a 10 km race presents a challenge for me. I want to push hard but it hurts to push hard for 10 solid kilometres. I dread it, I despise it, yet I keep signing up for 10 kilometre races. I got a PR last week in Fergus by a big 9 seconds. This week I hope to take off even more. None of the pain and agony matter once I cross that finish line. PR or no PR, good race or bad race, race day is always a magical experience for me. I can be happy just being out there, alive in the world, and then I change my focus to my 3 kids who steal my medals and then play race day at home.

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Ambassador Brayden (Age 6) Offers Running Tips for Kids!

August 16, 2014

It’s not too often that I see other kid’s running, but often I am stopped by other adults, who always give me a high five for my runs and ask for tips.

1. Start by running as far and as fast as YOU can. Each day, work a little harder to run a little further or make your time a little faster. If you need to slow down and do walking/running intervals, go for it!

2. Find new places to run. Even though, I do most of my runs on a school track or on the treadmill, it is always a treat to run in new places. Just this past week, I have done my runs on the boardwalk in New Jersey and along a beautiful lake in Iowa. I enjoy switching it up every once in a while.


3. Stretch before you run. Even kids need to stretch. Not only does stretching help loosen up muscles before a run, but it can also help you have a longer stride and sprint faster.

4. Register in some crazy and fun runs and races in your city! Registering for fun runs like the Rock the Road races are good motivators to keep training.

5. Have FUN and remember the goal is to make yourself proud!

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2014 Rock the Road 10K-Elite Athlete Press Release

August 13, 2014

This coming Sunday, August 14th the city of London can expect to see hundreds of Londoners dashing down Richmond Street.  Leading the pack will be some of Ontario’s most elite distance runners and even a few Olympic hopefuls!

The Rock the Road 10K strongly believes in supporting elite runners in hopes that these individuals will use the Rock the Road “stage” as a opportunity to inspire Londoners of all ages and ability levels. Here is a sneak peek at our elite field!

 We are especially excited that so many London-based elites will be participating this year!!


Men’s Elite 10K Field (alphabetical)

Terrance Attema 2013 Around the Bay champion 1:35:44 2013 Vancouver Half Marathon 4th place 1:05:25 2012 Around the Bay 2nd place 1:35:04

Seth Marcaccio Recently ran 32:54.0 at 2014 Bayfield Safe Harbour Run Plans to attend Fanshawe College this fall

Josh Morrison Recently ran 15:00.92 at 2014 London Series Finale (RCLDS #5) Member of the local ‘elite’ London New Balance Racing Team

Andrew Nixon Ran 7:57.92 for 3000m indoors at the Boston Valentine Invitational-Feb 2014 Represented Canada at the 2014 FISU World University XC Championships Represented Canada in the 5,000m at the FISU Summer Universiade

Thomas Omwenga2013 BMO Vancouver Marathon Champion 2012 Rock the Road 10K Runner Up 2012 Goodlife Victoria marathon Champion

Kyle O’Neill Recently ran 29:59.39 at 2014 London 10,000m (RCLDS #2) Represented Canada on the 2014 National Cross Country team 5th place finish at the 2013 Rock the Road 10k * Member of the local ‘elite’ London New Balance Racing Team

Adam Stacey

Recently ran 15:10.9 at 2014 Downtown 5k *Member of the local ‘elite’ London New Balance Racing Team

Women’s Elite 10K field (alphabetical)

Victoria Coates
Represented Canada at the 2014 FISU (University) Cross Country Championships
Grad Student at Queen’s University

Valerie Cote
Recently ran 35:27 at the Sporting Life 10K

Rachel Hannah 2013 Rock the Road 10K Defending Champion 2014 Canadian Half Marathon Champion, 1:13:37 2014 Speed River Inferno T&F Meet 5000m 1st15:50.31 2014 Ottawa Race Weekend 10k 8th, 33:22

Stephaney Hortian

Ran a personal best over 5000m in 2013: 18:11 3rd at Around the Bay 5km 2013 2nd at the Mudpuppy 5km in Kitchener

Lioudmila Kortchaguina 2013 Rock the Road 10K Runner Up 2:29 Marathon Personal Best

Courtney Laurie Recently ran 37:06.55 at 2014 London 10,000m (RCLDS #2) * Member of the local ‘elite’ London New Balance Racing Team

Bethany McChesney 37:50 10km Personal Best 3rd place at the 2012 Rock the Road 10k Coached by Dave Mills

Kate Reid 37:50 10km Personal Best 4th Place finisher at the 2012 Rock the Road 10K Coached by Dave Mills

Leslie Sexton

33:14.91 at 2014 London 10,000m (RCLDS #2) 1st-2014 Canadian National Track and Field Championships, 10000m 2013 Columbus Half Marathon Champion-1:13:13 * Member of the local ‘elite’ London New Balance Racing Team

**Women’s 5K Brittany Hambleton 5k 18:16 3k 10:29 Member of Western University’s Cross Country Team

Julie Hambleton 5k – 17:52 3k – 10:15 1500 – 4:45 Member of Western University’s Cross Country Team






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Ambassador Sandra’s latest blog: Good Race, Bad Race, No Race

August 12, 2014

Good Race, Bad Race, No Race! !! Over the last two and a half years of running, I have had good races and bad races. The good races, and the feeling of elation and accomplishment that comes with those races is what keeps me signing up for more races. Last year, I had a fabulous Rock the Road. I achieved a personal best in the 10k, and that was even with me stopping to re-tie my shoelaces. It was such a great day, I signed up for this years race the next week when registration opened. This is me last year-I was passing people right up until the finish line. The AWESOME volunteer photographers took this!! !!


Bad Race—ughhhhhh! I have had a couple of races where I just could not stop looking at my garmin and wishing for the end. I had a yucky 10k this year where I walked and debated just going right over to my car and heading home. I finished it, and was happy I did. It was not the race I was hoping for, but I like to believe that those bad races serve a purpose. They are humbling. An opportunity to look at where/what/how things went wrong. Did you sleep badly? Big meal the night before? Wardrobe or running shoe malfunction? Weather? Water? Just a bad day? I try not to hold onto those negative feelings of a particular race. The past is behind you! Keep your best foot forwards!! !

The last one is No Race. I had not encountered this yet. Races are not ran due to injury, illness, family emergency, work commitment and bad weather. I have actually debated not running a race due to the fact it looked like rain, and it was windy. I did not want a “bad race”. I decided to run it anyway, and it rained HARD, right into my face! It was windy, and blowing against me at the hilly part! But I finished, felt hardcore, and learned I could overcome those challenges. I did not personal best, but I did not expect to, and I think that was key. ! !

This year, I will not be running Rock the Road. I registered for it last year, paid my fees, and became an Ambassador. I did the training. I am ready to destroy my personal best at a fabulous race that is super fun, and very fast. But it is not going to happen. I am having a procedure that will have me off running for 10 days. This is what I am having done, if you are interested at all—- After waiting for months for an appointment, my name came up, and I will be having it done this week. Which means no Rock the Road race for me.! !

My darling husband Ted will be running Rock the Road this Sunday. He has never run a race before, but has been doing some running since spring. He has worked up to doing a 10k long run on weekends, and I cannot wait to support him, and cheer him on with our 5 kids. He has been my greatest cheerleader, and shoulder to cry on since I started running. Instead of Rock the Road being a great race for me, this will be even more memorable as Ted’s first foray into road racing. For me, I will never forget my first race-the nerves, the excitement, the blast of the starting gun, and the elation of finishing. This is me after my first!! !!


If you managed to get through all this, I hope you will feel inspired to run, or even try a race some day! I started running just before my 38th birthday, and never dreamed that I would finish a 5k, let alone a marathon. I have 5 kids, a full time job, and finding that “me” time is always going to be a challenge, but it has been so worth it for my mental and physical health. Go and leave some footprints all over town!

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