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iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk , Vancouver, BC

iRun to stay fit and release those running endorphinsLiliana Plava , Calgary, AB

iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel , Calgary, AB

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk , Calgary, AB

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw , New Westminister, BC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris , Winnipeg, MB

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan , Brampton, ON

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua , Caledon, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh , Nottingham, UK

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller , Laval, QC

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter , Clearwater , BC

iRun for overall wellbeingTrish McCourt , Halifax, NS

iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie , St-Antoine, NB

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette , Carp, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling , Ottawa , ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley , Stittsville, ON

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve , Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis , Ottawa,ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan , Brampton, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker , Etobicoke, ON

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier , Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch , Ottawa, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham , Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre , Ottawa, ON

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan , Ottawa, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil , Lombardy, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn’t Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it’s cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu , Ontario

iRun because the wall is meant to be broken Jonathan Bird , Ontario

iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall , Alberta

iRun for the challenge to go faster and farther Steven Matejka , Alberta

iRun to my happy place and some days it’s very Doreen May , Alberta

iRun because food tastes better afterwards Patrick Houston , Alberta

iRun because I can’t dance Mario Javier , Ontario

iRun so I don’t say never ever again Linda Klaric , Manitoba

iRun because it makes me whole Denis Ladouceur , Quebec

iRun because it gets my husband out there Tricia LaLonde , Alberta

iRun away from the negative and towards the positive Teri Lepard , Alberta

iRun because running is like breathing to Stephanie McEvoy , Ontario

iRun because I love the solitude Janene Tailleur , British Columbia

iRun for the moment when both feet are off the ground Catherine Anderson , British Columbia

iRun to someday win the race Lindy Dunlop , Yukon

iRun to stay ahead of the weight gainMyra Abstreiter , Alberta

iRun because otherwise I’m grumpy Alexandre Charest , Quebec

iRun because I get foot rubs afterward Kate Howerton , British Columbia

iRun because iLoves my man Beverly Huang , Alberta

iRun because not everyone can Olivia Harvey , New Brunswick

iRun to get to know myself, my strength and my spirit Lisa Groulx , Ontario

iRun whenever I feel the need to escape Iona Hillis , Ontario

iRun because it’s like flying, only lower Glenn Johnson , Ontario

iRun because it makes me feel powerful Sarah Kallaghan , Alberta

iRun because I’ve lost 80 lbs and running has become fun Cheryl Kelly , Ontario

iRun because there is no finish line Claire Kilgour , Ontario

iRun so my daughters know that they can, too Shelley Kirkpatrick , New Brunswick

iRun because it reminds me of how strong I can be Monique Lavoie , Ontario

iRun because it’s a great way to see the world Sherry Mahoney , British Columbia

iRun because my heart tells me to William Martin , Manitoba

iRun to prove to them that iCan Catherine Smith , Manitoba

iRun because it’s fun when it’s done Sue Matte , Ontario

iRun because I am not as clumsy I thought I was Hanna Baer , Quebec

iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas , New York

iRun for the cool t-shirts! Pina Bevilacqua , Ontario

iRun because I want to be a role model for our six kids Catherine Empey , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my kids to tryGlen Johnston , Nunavut

iRun so I can eat ice cream Sandy Bolan , Ontario

iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean , Ontario

iRun for health, i Run for life Pat Cheung , British Columbia

iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell , Nova Scotia

iRun because it’s better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn’t Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen , Manitoba

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins , Alberta

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott , Québec

iRun to kickstart my day Sharon Strueby , Saskatchewan

iRun for me! Judi Wearing , Saskatchewan

iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie , Yukon

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello , Ontario

iRun because it helps me see things more clearly Jennifer Pitts , Ontario

iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher , Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott , Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas , Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent , Québec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams , Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville , Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail , Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar , Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle , New Brunswick

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra , Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor , Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier , New Brunswick

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon , British Columbia

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase , Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes , Ontario

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp , Ontario

Motivation, News, Racing

“I’m always representing my country.” Rachel Hannah, three weeks out from Boston.

30-year-old Rachel Hannah won the Canadian Cross-Country Championships in 2014 and earned bronze at the Pan American Games in 2015, running the marathon in 2:41:06. It was the second time she raced at that distance. Working part-time at Medcan as a dietician, Hannah is gearing up to run the Boston Marathon on April 17. It will be her fifth attempt at the marathon. Ben Kaplan reached out to Hannah to discuss her race plan, training strategy and nutrition in approaching the most famous race in the world. (Please note: Hannah is bouncing back from a foot injury which she explains in detail; that will be available tomorrow, as part II of our chat). 

Q) How are you feeling? 

A) Better now, I had a setback with my foot, but it’s getting better—not completely gone, but I’m doing everything I can to strengthen it and be healthy. I ran the NACAC cross-country championships is March, and I shouldn’t have gone, I was in too much pain, but it was my learning moment and now I’m turning a corner.

Q) That’s always so interesting when elites make the same mistakes that us middle-of-the-pack schlubs make. Like it’s so hard for all of us to disrupt the training program.

A) It’s such a hard thing, you’re always trying to get better, but you have to learn when to run through something and when to take time off. I’ve learned that your fitness won’t disappear if you take off some time and I feel stronger now, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, and it definitely applies to everybody. What can happen is you get stuck with a training plan and you want to follow it to a tee, but then things happen. That’s what everyone should know there’s nothing wrong with cross-training and you can come back stronger. 

Q) Do you feel like you’re at PB mental and physical strength? 

A) I feel good going into this; this winter I’ve done the greatest number of long runs over 30k, nine long runs. And the pace is slower in the winter, but I’ve been putting in the minutes and my workouts have come around and everything is starting to click. We’ll see on race day, but things are looking good. 

Q) Can we drill down on your training, just three weeks out from your race?  

A) Last Wednesday I did my longest interval workout, now it’s shortening the sessions and refining—on Wednesday, I did three-times 8k at marathon pace; 24k of quality mileage. I’m happy the workout went well and not having wind and it being a bit warmer, that was significant, and on Saturday I did a long run with an hour at marathon pace, and now I’m cutting back volume and focusing on quality sessions this week, then I’ll taper back. I’m grateful to have such a good care team—you need that when running so much mileage.  

Q) Who are the folks on your team? 

A) Here are the wonderful support crew who keep me healthy! I am so grateful to be working with such caring and smart individuals: Desmond Fung, Physiotherapist; Jim Marando, DCh. Chiropody; Aly Hodgins, Physiotherapist; Patrick Stiles, Registered Massage Therapist; Alex Marion, Massage Therapist at Medcan; Mark Gottfried and Devon Truscott, who were very helpful to me during my NACAC XC trip as they were the IST on that trip, and Greg Lehman at Medcan, who helped me for many years being very generous with his time, but is now traveling the world teaching others his skills and sharing his expertise. 

Q) So those folks help get you ready to race. Now that race day is approaching, what’s the game plan? 

A) I have to be conservative. The goal always in a marathon is to run as evenly as possible; you’ll have bit more left if you don’t alter the pace. Given the hills, I recognize some kilometres will be a little slower, but I’d like to run anywhere in the range from 3:34-3:38, that’s around 2:35, anywhere in that range would be great.

Q) Given that the female winner stands to earn US$150,000; you’ll be facing the best in the world. What is your ideal outcome? 

A) To place well. If the conditions are ideal for a fast time, in the temperature range of 5-8 degrees and no headwind, and I’m feeling good on the day with positive thoughts and if everything falls into place, it would be great to run personal best time…unfortunately, winning the whole thing is unrealistic. 

Q) Tell me about Boston. Why this race? 

A) Once I got into doing the marathon and liked it, Boston was always a goal. It’s the history of it and the strength and courage of the city, you want to take part of it—it’s almost the Olympics of the marathon, plus the events you get to do and interact with other athletes, you grow as an athlete. There’s actually a funny story of how this even came to be: my mom and her friends from the Running Room were cheering me on at the Pan Am Games and my mom met Boston’s elite director. My mom gave her my information and that’s how we got in touch. 

Q) That’s awesome. You have to bring your mom to the race to say thanks. 

A) We’re trying, but it’s expensive.

Q) Reality keeps getting in the way of all the best stuff. Let’s talk about diet. You’re a dietician, a few weeks out, what are you eating and what are you not eating? 

A) You don’t want to change too much when you’re getting closer to the race; I am cutting back on training volume and intensity, but I keep my calorie intake quite consistent to have extra energy and go into the race feeling strong and well fueled. I will always maintain high quality food choices. I’m focussing on eating properly every single day, making sure I eat right away after a work-out and that there’s no gap of three or four hours where I’m not eating. Plus, I continue to monitor my calorie and macronutrient intake to ensure I am getting adequate carbohydrates. 

Q) But it changes a little. How so? 

A) A few days beforehand I cut back on fibre in-take, monitor that for sure with tracking using My Fitness Pal and focus on higher carbohydrate in-take: lots of fruit, like bananas, grapes and melons. Other carbohydrate sources include starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and various different breads. Some of my favourites are spelt and buckwheat bread. I also enjoy gluten-free rice crackers that are low in fibre.  Oatmeal will always be a staple in my diet as I consume it daily! 

Q) Do you have spaghetti like the rest of us the night before a race? 

A) I’m actually not a big pasta person since I find wheat does not agree with me. The night before a race I like to keep things simple and I will always bring my own food. I usually have a sandwich with a banana, natural peanut butter or sunflower seed butter and greek yogurt or cottage cheese. I will usually have some crackers too and a Clif bar if I am still hungry. I monitor fibre intake closely especially the day before to make sure it is low. 

Q) And for breakfast on the morning of the Boston Marathon?

A) I cook oatmeal ahead of time and have that with greek yogurt, a banana and some almonds. I will usually have another banana 1 hour before and drink Eload. I always start the morning off with coffee too. 

Q) I know you’re focussed on Boston, but how far ahead do you plan? Do you know what you’ll do after this? 

A) We have an idea. In spring and summer, I want to get back on the track and also do some 10ks. I’ll do the 10K championships in Guelph, and I’d like to do a half, but I don’t know when…maybe in the fall. 

Q) Lastly, and thanks so much for your time, but you’ve come on the scene quickly and done well in the sport. What advice would you give to our readers? 

A) I’d let people know that the marathon gets easier the more times you try; you learn what to expect and you practice things like how to fuel and your body gets used to it. But it takes lots of practice. I’m still kind of slow at drinking while I run, I think I’ll always be slow at it. I spend a lot of time carrying the bottle.

Q) Good luck, Rachel. Don’t carry your bottle too long.   

A) Thanks, and you know, I feel pretty lucky to be at a major race representing Canada on that day in Boston and trying to inspire Canadian runners there, but also back home. I keep that in the back of my mind and try and run my best. I’m always representing my country. 

[Tomorrow, Rachel explains exactly what happened with her foot; how she detected the injury; how she treated it; what worked; what didn’t, and what you should do if you suffer from a similar situation.]

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April 3rd, 2017

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