Curly’s Girls hit the training trail

August 25, 2012 - 3:48am By DEBORAH WILES | Curly Girl Runs

Two minutes. That’s how much I missed my half marathon time goal by: a mere two minutes.

It’s not much. That’s how much time it takes to brush my teeth in the morning. Heck, it even takes longer to zap a bag of microwave popcorn.

Usain Bolt could run 12 races in two minutes. OK, bad example.

Two minutes isn’t much in one regard. But it’s an eternity in another.

It means I have to shave more time off my race pace. It means there’s more hills, more speedwork and more early morning runs in my future. And I will probably need to drop a few pounds.

I’m sweating just thinking about it.

I decided in February to push myself and see if I could get faster, to see if I could break the two-hour barrier in the half marathon. With the help of coach Stacy Chesnutt, I almost did, finishing in 2:02 at the Scotiabank Blue Nose Half Marathon. It was close — but not close enough.

And so I’m ready to try again.

But this time, I’m not going it alone. This time, I’m heading down the training road with friends Lena Thompson, Amy Lachance and Heather Laycock.

We have shared middle-of-the-night runs on the Cabot Trail Relay and freezing-but-tipsy runs at the Muir Murray Wine Run. But I’ve never really shared training tips and triumphs, sorrows and sore muscles.

Until now. This time, we won’t just show up at the same race. This time, we will get there together.

Girl power, harmony and all that.

We hit the pavement together last Saturday for our first official training run.

“So if we are training with you, are we Curly’s Girls?” Lena asked.

The name has stuck but the Kumbaya moment was short-lived.

“Is this run all uphill?” one whined.

“I need to find shade!” another grumbled.

So much for harmony.

The fact is that trading solo runs for group runs means a lot of compromise. Agreement on location, time, distance, pace, even post-run treats.

But the payoff is huge: Motivation, camaraderie, laughter.

“(Having company) makes all the difference in the world,” says coach Chesnutt, a local elite runner.

“You have folks with a shared focus, it will keep you from cheating or sleeping in or making excuses. Plus, it just plain makes it more fun!”

Fun until I got my friends’ bios and realized I am the oldster of the group. By several years.


Because we live quite a distance apart, our actual group runs will be scarce. To keep in touch and share our training stats, we have created a group on, a website where you can log workouts and share goals.

My goals? To finally break that two-hour barrier for a half marathon. I am also aiming to lose at least a few pounds since there are no chubby speedsters.

I’m ready to give up a few things to reach those goals — but not Lena’s post-run cookies. After all, I wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Group harmony and all that.

Deborah Wiles, an editor for The Chronicle Herald, also writes a column for Canadian Running magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @CurlyGirlRuns



Age : 39

Biggest challenges : Finding time to train with two kids under 3 ½ . Also training alone. “I have a regular running partner but if she is not running I struggle to get out."

Goal : Finish P.E.I. half marathon (Oct. 14).

Sub goal : Finish in under 2 hours 10 minutes.


Age: 41

Biggest challenge : “There’s no denying my biggest challenge is pacing. I start too fast, get tired, and want to give up."

Goal: “My short-term goal is to even out my pace. It might mean sucking it up and getting a GPS, something I’ve been putting off because I think I should be able to do it on my own."

Long-term goal : “I’ve chosen a 20k trail run in November as my next big race. At this point my goal is to finish injury-free in less than 2.5 hours."


Age: 40

Biggest challenges : Heat and lack of extra time in the day. “I am terribly behind with my training."

Goal : P.E.I. half marathon

Sub goal: “To finish! I do hope to have my time under 2:08. So far my best is 2:05."