Welcome to our friend, and everyone's friend from the North - Laurel, aka Lily on the Road. We met Lily shortly after launching the Lounge and what we love about her is the constant support, happy thoughts and the fact she is always challenging her running. She loves gardening, as do Tom and I, so we imagined a virtual meeting in her garden, with a soothing beverage, to learn more about her and her running.
Note from Laurel: I would first like to thank you so much Amy and of course Tom for this wonderful privilege of sharing my running story with you. Without the enthusiasm of the two of you, many of us would not have had the opportunity of "meeting" one another!
Why and when did you start running?
Running was reintroduced to me by one of my now really good friends. At the time I was recovering from a very emotional transition to the single life and recovering from major surgery. Running as I know it now started with the simple question, "would you be interested in joining the little running club that is starting in Fitzroy Provincial Park?" I had become an overweight, out of shape woman hitting mid life. Who knew that one little question would change me for ever! All this started about seven or more years ago. I have to honestly say I've never looked back!
Tell us about your favorite running trail/route.
Being truly blessed with where I live, there are so many routes and trails to choose from.
Whether I drive into town or stay out in the rural area, we have an abundance of trails to run on. Trying to pick a favourite is difficult, but when I run in town, the route from Cattail Trail, along the National Capital trails to the Ottawa River parkway is stunning. This route will give you well over 32K of running with spectacular vistas of the province of Quebec, the Ottawa River and exciting views of downtown Ottawa. When I stay closer to home, I love getting together with my running "Wooo Hooo" friends and run in Fitzroy Provincial Park. There are great trails, lots of hills and again, beautiful landscapes to take in.
I live on a peninsula in the Ottawa River. It is a perfect 10K around Constance Bay, if I want to run from my "front door", I head out along the river, no matter the season it is always a great place to run.
What makes a perfect run for you?
The perfect run for me is being able to just zone out and take in all of my beautiful surroundings. Long, easy runs are my favourites, it gives me the opportunity to dig into my thoughts and sort things through! When I'm running the longer distances, I always run 10 minutes and walk one. It just gives me a break to get some Powerade and gels into me so I can keep on going. I don't run with "music", just the noises of nature. I love running along the Trans Canada Trail where there are so many wonderful things to see, especially running past Turtle Pond. I get a kick out of seeing all the really large turtles sunning themselves on the logs and on the banks of the pond.
What is the perfect run "killer"?
That's easy. Running with negative people.
We share some common passions outside of running - gardening and summer beverages. Tell us about your favorites in the garden and your post run beverages.
Oh, I love my gardens! When I bought my little cottage there was nothing planted, the former owners were just not into gardening. Now, I am starting to run out of room for any more plants!! The soil conditions are not the best, and it is very sandy so its "tough love" for any plant wanting to stay at my place! My absolute favourite plant is the day lily. I have at least ten different varieties, they just seem to thrive in the soil which I am forever putting in kitchen / garden compost and adding mushroom compost. I'm not too sure which is the better workout, gardening or running...
Luckily now, my gardens are at the stage where I can sit back and take in the view while sipping on my favourite beverage of the day. Believe it or not, since I've been adding the longer distances into my running programme, my body will not tolerate too much of a good thing. So, I pretty much stick to a beer or two although I do love Masi Rosso Modello delle Venezie 2002.
You recently added a 50K run to your plan for next year. What was the inspiration? How will you tackle it?
Yes, I'm looking at the Run for the Toad next October in Cambridge, Ontario!! It is a 50K trail run. I love the long runs especially trail running (as long as the terrain is not too, too crazy). I've been following Bob Gentile (Blog my Runs) and Marci (Ramblings of a Running Addict). Although they are much younger than me, I thought wouldn't be a hoot to try a really long run. Then, I was talking to a fellow I know who is in his 60's and he is running the Toad this year. Well, let me at it!!! Unfortunately this year the race is already "sold out". That's why my goal is for next year!
I'll use a marathon next spring / summer as my base and then get into trail running during the summer / fall. I am going to follow the training programme on the Run for the Toad website, but more importantly, I'll accept any knowledge other blogger's want to fire my way!!!
If you could change anything about your running, what would it be?
Hmmm, I'm not too sure....as long as I can keep healthy and injury free, that just about wraps it up for me!
What do you do when you aren't running?
My life is pretty quiet right now, so I'm either at work, in the garden or reading or reading about running!
What is your running dream?
There are so many beautiful places to run in this world!! I'm starting to incorporate running with vacations. Last January I went to the Phoenix Rock n Roll and had an absolute blast. In March we went to Hamilton Ontario for the 30K Around the Bay, where we met the Grim Reaper. This past weekend we have just returned from Utica, New York 15K Boilermaker. Now that is a really FUN race!
I'd like to be able to do more travelling to some exotic locations and include more running that's for sure!
If you could be granted a wish of run farther or faster, which would you choose?
Oh, definitely Farther. I'm built for distance not so much for speed!!
What is one running quirk/habit you can share with us?
Truthfully, I always say a prayer before every run, I'm just so thankful to have the capability to be able to run.
I always have to run on the right hand side of any race route I'm on. Don't know why, but boy am I out of my comfort zone if I'm not to the right! How weird is that??
What has been the biggest running challenge you have overcome?
Running in the Winter. Training this past winter for the Ottawa Marathon, as my friends will attest to, I am not a winter person, AT ALL, so for me to get out in some of the weather conditions we had, gah, it was brutal. Especially when we had 28 - 30K to get in.
How does your family support (and/or cope) with your running?
Sad but true, I am on my own, so I rely on my Wooo Hooo friends for their patience, guidance and support.
Your blog and notes in the Lounge always have such energy - where do you find it? How do you keep it?
I've always had an over abundance of energy! And I love positive! Positive re-enforcement to me is the tonic for my soul. We are bombarded by negative, constantly, unfortunately negative sells, how sad is that? How often do you hear a "good news story"?
Trust me I'm no Pollyanna, but I just love the positive energy I get from other people and I love hearing about achievements from other runners. I think that is why I am enjoying being a pace group leader for the Half Marathon this season. This is a "first" long distance run for many of the runners, so I get a kick out of sharing their experiences during the runs!
Since it is "Tough stuff" week, what are some of the "tough" things for you about running?
Other than getting out the door early on Sunday morning? Just keeping healthy, injury free, eating properly and staying fit enough for the longer races!!!
This September I have back to back Half Marathons!! So the tough stuff for these two races is maintaining a stronger race pace and really getting my hill work in. Nothing is better than hills to build your stamina!! I'm also incorporating more upper body strength training to help me with these two races.
The first race is very first Canada Army Run which is fashioned after the Marine Corps., and then off to Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon the following weekend where I'll be meeting blogger Vickie, (Living & Tri-ing in River City) and hopefully a couple of the other bloggers such as Marci and Tiger!!! I'm really looking forward to these two races.
The toughest thing for me in the future will be getting ready for the ultra.
What is your advice to other runners?
Don't over analyse your running, it isn't that difficult. Quoting my 76 year old Boston Marathon friend Alan, "it really is just one foot in front of the other".