Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello 2013!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and are ready to welcome 2013.  Our Christmas so far has been busybusybusy, hence the lack of posts...my BIL is getting married on New Year's Day, so it's been like Grand Central Station around here with houseguests, dinners, family get togethers...seriously, working out has been a total saving grace to keep me sane amidst an extremely crazy December.  That and stealing a few quiet moments (like right now!) where I have the house to myself...aaaaaaah.

So, how was my 2012?  Well, if I'm looking at how I did on my goals from last year, I pretty much didn't accomplish any of it.  Read 15 books?  I read 5.  Achieve a 1:50 half marathon?  Well, I was on track before I crashed and burned out one kilometre from the finish line.  A vision board?  Swimming lessons?  Volunteer more?  Epic fail on all those goals.  The year has been tinged with some unhappy events and difficult times, but in all of it, I'd have to say that 2012 has been a year of being grateful for the life we have even when things aren't going great and has been an impetus to make some real changes.  And of course, with change comes goals!  For 2013, I've cut my goal list from the usual 10 to a shorter list of 5 things that I've really wanted to achieve, so without further ado,  here they are:

1.  Volunteer
I know, I know...this one has been on my goal list for years, but this year I'm gonna do it!  I've been keeping my eyes open for volunteer opportunities (particularly food related causes like food banks, breakfast clubs, etc.) and already have a few local races in mind that I want to volunteer for.  After my "little problem" that I had at the Goodlife Half, it made me realize how many good people there are out there who are so willing to help strangers and it's really given me the push to donate my time as well as money to things that I hold close to my heart.

2.  Do One Chin Up
Ack!  I can't believe I actually wrote that publicly.  Hah!  I'm actually superdupercrazy excited about this goal.  I've been going to the Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence (PISE) for a HIIT/tabata style class with my coworker M, and have been looooving it.  It's a fabulous facility - this is the place where the Canadian Olympic mens rowing team trains, so that gives you an idea of how great the place is.  PISE offers a "build it yourself" bootcamp that M was thinking about joining, where you get a small group of 6 or so people together and you work on what you want.  Apparently the trainer is a huge proponent of strength training and was wanting to work with us for an extended period to really get our strength up, watch our progress and teach us proper form.  SOLD!  I've been dying to work on strength training for ages, but feel like I need someone to show me what to do, so this is perfect.  The classes are Monday and Wednesday (the other ladies are doing Friday as well) from Jan 18 to Apr 24 and I'm totally psyched!  And you can bet I'll be blogging about this journey along the way so you'll hear all about my foibles in the weight room. Josh (the trainer) has also asked us to send along goals so I've been ruminating throughout the holiday season as to what I want my goals to be.  I went back to my bucket list and one of my goals was to be able to do chin ups, so I thought what better goal to put down!  I don't really have a good idea of what I can lift or how strong I am since at bootcamp we usually do strength work with our body weight, so I think overall if I can lift 50% more than I could at the beginning of the session, I would be ecstatic.  I'm happy with where my cardio is from the running and bootcamps, but really want to build more muscle.

Oh...and I'm not picky on the chin up.  It doesn't have to be perfect, and if it's assisted, that's fine too...girl's gotta start somewhere, right?  As long as I can do one, I'd be happy.

3.  Eat Mindfully
This goal has a couple of conponents in it.  A few years ago, Hubs and I started doing Meatless Mondays, and we've been really enjoying it...it's helped me expand my cooking repertoire, and more veggies = good!   After watching a documentary on W5 on how horribly factory farms treat the animals, I decided that if I'm going to eat meat, I need to do it responsibly and not support factory farming.  My first step towards this goal was to sign up for a class called the "The Ethical Carnivore", where the chef will discuss the best places on the island to buy locally sourced, ethically raised and antibiotic/hormone free meat. From there I plan on trying to use ethically raised meat as much as possible in our meals. Hubs is fully on board with this change - after I told him about what they do to piglets, he's 100% behind me in this...what a guy.

The second component of this goal is where my beloved Vitamix (blowing kiss at my precious across the room) comes in.  I've been loving, loving, loving the smoothies we've been making, so we're going to be smoothy-ing it up 2013 and packing in lots of fruits and veggies into our days...goal is to hit 7 servings of fruits and veggies every day!  I tease Hubs all the time and tell him our skin is going to be green from all the smoothies we'll be drinking.  Tee hee.

4.  Yoga More
I love yoga...it gives me a sense of zen and relaxation that I just can't get doing anything else, and I barely yoga'd at all in 2012 which makes me terribly sad.  In between clinics and classes, it was hard to find the time to fit yoga in.  Well, no more!  The exercise plan for next year is:

Sunday:             rest
Monday:            bootcamp/strength
Tuesday:            yoga
Wednesday:       bootcamp/strength
Thursday:           rest
Friday:                bootcamp
Saturday:            long run

5.  Try One New Recipe Per Week
I've said before that I have a lot of cookbooks...well over 200, probably inching closer to 250 and I gots to start using them!  Sometimes it's easier to just make the usual, but I'm branching out and really going to flex my culinary muscle this year.  Aaaand it gives me a reason to "freshen up" my cookbook collection every so often, right?  Hah!

Happy New Year!  Be safe and be happy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is it Wrong?

Is it wrong to love an inanimate object so much?  I love, love, love my new Vitamix...seriously love this thing.  I'll admit...when I first got it, I was a little afraid to use it.  I know these things are super durable and heavy duty, but I was so worried about breaking it somehow because...well, let's be blunt...these things are bloody expensive!  Once I worked myself up to it, I whizzed up my first smoothie and...

Total failure. 

Gah!  What did I do wrong?  Well, being silly, I pretty much just threw everything in there and you do have to take a bit of care and attention...I ended up with a big air pocket so the blades couldn't grab onto anything.  I dumped everything out and actually read the little Getting Started guide (yes, I'm one of those types) and I think a tear may have slipped down my cheek as my first green smoothie materialized.  Orange, grapes, grapefruit, apple and kale...it was delicious and smooth as silk!  Since then, I've made quite a few smoothies but haven't had a chance to experiment yet with soups or nut butters, but it's in the plan. 

So how do I find the actual machine?  It's incredibly high powered...a smoothie takes about 45 seconds to go from whole veggies or fruits to liquid...carrots are completely broken down.  It's loud, I won't lie...but a small price to pay for the power.  And the best thing yet is that it's easy to clean...fill it halfway, put in a few drops of dishsoap and whiz it again.  Within seconds, it's clean!  I've even managed to convince one of my bosses to get one of these beauties...we were talking about eating whole foods and I'd mentioned that I was going to get a Vitamix.  After I told him about how amazing it was, he went out and got one and has been whipping up soups and smoothies ever since and has been completely happy with it.  We've got another coworker interested as her husband is also a smoothie fan and is trying to incorporate more veggies and fruits in his diet as well. 

The other thing that I do is that on the same day I do the weekly cooking, I wash, peel and cut up all the veggies and fruits so it's all ready to go.  Ultimately, I'm an incredibly lazy person so if I have to wash, cut, peel veggies and fruits, etc. each time I want a smoothie, I'm not going to bother...so by prepping everything once a week, it's all ready to go and nutritious smoothies are literally seconds away. 

Vitamix...me love you long time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What's the Story, Morning Glory?

For anyone reading my blog, you've probably noticed that I haven't posted anything about what I've been doing on the running front.  It's a bit of a long story and I'm going to warn you that there's going to be plenty of self reflection and pondering going on, so feel free to click the little red X at the upper right hand of the page...haha!  I admittedly have been avoiding writing this post because I've been worried that the minute I post that I'm OK, I won't be OK...nothing like tempting fate, right?  Anyways, here goes.

It's been a couple of months since the Goodlife race, where I had what I refer to as "my little problem"...passing out from low blood sugar and dehydration with only a kilometre to go from the finish line (arghhh...I hate just even writing that).  A week after that, I posted that I was a little short of breath on a treadmill run and I was going to the doctor to check things out...I admit, I may have downplayed things a bit.  I was running on the treadmill and remember feeling surprisingly good...the first few days after my little problem, I was completely exhausted mentally and physically.  All of a sudden, I felt my heart race, became dizzy and couldn't breathe...I immediately got off the treadmill and just couldn't catch my breath.  Hubs wasn't home, so I grabbed my iPhone and had my finger on the trigger to call 911 because I didn't know what was happening to me.  After a frightening few minutes, I was able to catch my breath but I was so scared because nothing like that had ever, ever happened to me.

Being a good girl, I made an appointment to see my doctor right away who ordered a bunch of tests for me, including an ECG.  The few weeks that I waited for those test results to come back were the worst weeks ever...I couldn't sleep and barely ate, I was completely stressed out, worrying that something was wrong with me...I was especially worried about having some kind of latent heart condition.  I'm not sure if it was psychological or what, but I kept feeling short of breath with heart palpitations and would have dizzy spells...I'm sure not sleeping or eating didn't help with that.  And honestly...sometimes the internet is evil because it'll turn the most sane person into a hypochondriac!  But the worst thing was through all of this, the one thing that has helped me deal with stress in the past was the very thing that I was completely afraid to do - exercise.  I avoided this blog, I avoided reading anything about running...it was awful to be so afraid to do something that you love so much and my confidence was completely shaken.

Thankfully, my test results came back clean and the doctor said to keep monitoring my symptoms but that I was OK to resume exercising slowly.  I tell you, the first few times back I felt like I'd never exercised before.  I felt so out of shape and had lost so much cardio in just a few short weeks - that initial incident really, really took it out of  me.  I think that I started back at activity too quickly and the treadmill incident was my body's way of saying "what the EFF, girl?!"  I did a few slow treadmill runs or sessions on the stationery bike, but I really had to work myself up to it as I was so scared to have another "episode".  And Hubs...he was so wonderful...he knew I was scared and would work out with me to keep me company because having him around gave me comfort that I wouldn't be alone if something happened.  I also chatted with my friend M, who had a similar thing happen...she fainted once, and then she developed a fear of fainting that was so crippling it lasted a few years and she was afraid to leave her house.  Having a heart to heart about how I was feeling really helped me that I likely needed some rest and some distance from what happened at the race to work through it mentally. Damn, I have the best friends in the world!

So slowly but surely I've been getting back at exercising over the past month.  I started some HIIT tabata style classes at PISE, but made sure I took it really, really slow.  I've started attending a few bootcamp classes again.  And I'm back at running...I started off with some 6K runs around the neighbourhood with Hubs (and yes, I carry my cell phone with me now!), running very, very, very slowly.  We're up to 10K now, and I'm feeling good and getting some confidence back.  And it's been a blessing in disguise because now I've been really concentrating on what Marilyn's been teaching us in her clinics and I'm working on my form...I want to be able to run forever, and keeping injuries at bay will help me do that.  Always a silver lining to everything!

So where am I with things now?  I'm going to keep up a comfortable level of activity but not go crazy or anything.  Are there any races in my future?  Some day, but not right now...I fully admit that I have some apprehension to racing again that I'll have to work through.  My little problem did make me come to a realization that I was losing sight of the joy of running and exercising...I truly love it, and it's fun.  I was concentrating too much on running faster and getting PBs...it's been so nice to just be able to run with Hubs, chatting while we click down the kilometres....or taking an exercise class with friends, laughing and enjoying each other's company while we work up a sweat.  It's taken a couple of months but I'm finally feeling back to normal physically and mentally...and if anything, what happened has given me an even greater appreciation for how much my health means to me.  


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Never Give Up

For all those people who don't believe in themselves or always have an excuse to not exercise...the "I can't", the "I'm too heavy", the "my knee/hips/feet/legs/back/ear lobe et al hurts"...you need to watch this.



'Tis truly inspirational what the power of the mind and body can achieve.

PS. Yes, I cried like a baby watching this.  Go Arthur.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

My New Food Obsession

Whoa!  It's been a long time since I've blogged about food...just looked at the last recipe I posted and it was a long, long, long time ago.  I've still been cooking up a storm and buying a gazillion cookbooks as per usual...I just added the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook to my arsenal and pretty much read it from cover to cover, savouring each page as I went along.  Tomorrow I'm reorganizing our library because I need more space for my cookbook collection...I think I might be topping 250 right now.  Yes, I have a serious problem.

So what new recipe discovery has brought me out of my recipe funk?  Some fantastic chicken dish?  An unctuous dessert?  An out of this world appie? 

Oatmeal.

Yes, folks...I've discovered baked oatmeal and I am loving it.  Loving it!  I'd heard of it ages ago and have been meaning to try it for eons, and last week finally gave it a whirl.  I looked around for recipes that were healthy and finally decided on one that could easily be adjusted to add in different ingredients or made even healthier with a few substitutions.  I have to say...this recipe is pretty awesome...the texture is really great because it's dense but still moist and can easily be packed in your bag for a quick, healthy snack...it's almost like a bar.  I eat this almost like a dessert by heating it up with a schmear of peanut butter and some no sugar jam...seriously yum.

Baked Oatmeal - from Cooking Light, October 2003

2 cups uncooked quick cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup raisins
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups fat free milk
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the first five ingredients in a medium bowl.  Combine the milk, applesauce, butter and egg.  Add milk mixture to oat mixture, stir well.  Pour oat mixture into an 8 inch square baking dish quoated with cooking spray.  Bake for 20 minutes.

My changes - I added two scoops of vanilla protein powder to boost the protein/carb ratio, added more like 1/2 cup of raisins and 1 cup of walnuts (good fats, people!).  Next time I think I'll use olive oil instead of the butter, try almond milk and cut back the sugar to 1/3 cup - the protein powder and raisins added enough sweetness.

Hubs liked this, but his reaction was a little muted because I made this fruit cocktail cake that was seriously out of this world and so insanely easy...so good that I'm making it for our Christmas dinner.  Look out for that recipe to come your way soon!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Healthy Questions

Survey time!  You guys all know I can't resist these, so when I saw this on Janetha's blog I had to do it.  HAD to.

1.  What did you eat for breakfast?

A banana...Hubs and I were heading out for a run this morning so this was our usual pre-run snack.  Normally we have a protein shake...Arbonne vanilla flavoured protein powder, frozen blueberries, a handful of spinach and almond milk - delish!

2.  How much water do you drink a day?

At least two litres...I usually try to do one litre before lunch, one litre after lunch and then a few glasses with dinner.  I can really feel it when I don't drink enough water and find I crave it. 

3.  What is your current favourite workout?

Tabata!  I am loving the tabata classes that I'm taking at PISE (Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence).  It's a quick intense workout that combines strength and cardio and it's over in a flash.  Aaaaaaand the instructor Mark is a real cutie pie too.  Tee hee.

4.  How many calories do you eat a day?

It changes depending on what kind of workouts I have going on but I would say the average number of calories I eat in a day is probably around 1500 - 1600.

5.  What are your favourite healthy snacks?

I love apples and peanut butter, nuts, pumpkin seeds and mandarin oranges.

6.  What do you usually eat for lunch?

Our usual lunch of choice is some kind of protein (tuna salad, chicken breast, salmon) in a whole wheat wrap, cut veggies and fruit (whatever is seasonal). 

7.  What is your favourite body part to strength train?

Legs for sure, probably because I see results the fastest!

8.  What is your least favourite body part to strength train?

Abs.  Hate abs.  Blargh.

9.  What are your "bad" food cravings?

Always salty foods - chips, cheezies, instant noodles, and pizza are the baddie foods of choice for me. 

10.  Do you take vitamins or supplements?

I go on and off supplements - when we do take them, we take Vitamin C and D, coenzyme Q10, and omega 3s.  I usually do take a multivitamin and I always take some kind of green drink like Greens Plus.

11.  How often do you eat out?

Once a week, on our cheat day.

12.  Do you eat fast food?

You know it!  We don't eat at fast food places often, but I will admit I'm not averse to a Teen Burger and fries every now and then.  I'm not a food snob and am an equal opportunity eater.

13.  Who is your biggest supporter?

Absolutely and unequivocally, Hubs.  He's supported me through some extremely stressful times at work (and never got mad when I was cranky), always listens to me when I have a problem and supports me with all my goals, especially the marathon last year.

14.  Do you have a gym membership?

Kinda - I have an annual membership with my bootcamp so I can attend as many outdoor bootcamps as I want (normally try to do three a week).

15.  How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Usually about seven.  Anything less than five hours two days in a row and I start acting weird.

16.  Do you have a "cheat" day?

You bet...Hubs and I subscribe to this method fully from our Body for Life days and have been doing it for years.  We usually do our cheat days on Saturday, which works out well as it's also our long run day.

17.  Do you drink alcohol?

Of course...ha!  Port and whisky are my favourites.

18.  Do you have a workout buddy?

Yep!  D has been my bootcamp buddy for the last five years and we always check in with each other before class so we don't jam.  We've been friends since grade six and it's nice to see a friendly face at 5:30 in the morning!

19.  What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

I'm happy with who I am and have a sense of confidence in myself that I've never had before.

20.  What was the last healthy thing you did?

Ran 10K this morning with Hubs!

Friday, November 16, 2012

It Just Takes One

Yippeee...first day of my staycation!  Hubs and I are taking a week off to just hang about the house, get house-y type projects done that have been on the to-do list forever (our garage is insanity right now!) and generally chillax.  As you know we're big Hawaii buffs, so we decided to bring a little aloha to home...all next week we're eating things that we'd normally have when we go to Maui!  Kalua pork, ahi poke, macadamia nut pancakes and drumsticks...not the meat kind, but the ice cream kind!  Every time we go to Maui, we always make sure we get a drumstick from the corner store close to our condo and enjoy it as we slowly walk back...ahhhhh.

So seeing as it's the first day of vaycay and I'm pretty anal, I wanted to get as many chores out of the way today so we can spend as much time as possible doing fun stuff, and the first thing to knock off the list was grocery shopping.  I don't know what it was, but it seemed like every where I went, there was rude or crabby people.  I was unloading my grocery cart and some jerk actually cut in front of me in line.  I went to a bakery to get Christmas cake (Hubs and I love it, I admit it!) and when I asked the person behind the counter if they had any yet, it was like as if  I had asked her to sell me her first born child.  Then I had to stop at another grocery store to pick up something that the other store didn't carry, and when I asked a clerk for help, he scowled at me, walked away wordlessly and came back and handed me what I wanted without even looking at me.  WTF?!

I couldn't believe how rude and nasty people were being today, and at this point it was only 9am.  It's Friday, don't these people know you're supposed to be happy that the weekend is coming up?  I was quickly getting into a bad mood after this run of shittiness so when I saw that there was construction by my house and there was a delay, I thought oh great...what else would I expect and my mood turned even more sour.  But a funny thing happened...as I drove past the flagger, he gave me a big wave and smile and yelled out a bright and cheery "good morning!!" to me as I drove past.  I couldn't help but wave and smile back, and it immediately made me feel better...that one act of smiling and saying good morning completely negated three nasty encounters that threatened to ruin my day.  Just hammers home how something as small as a smile can really affect someone and their day.  It always astounds me when people are cranky or rude and feel it's OK to treat others like that...just because you're in a bad mood, doesn't mean you have to make everyone else in a bad mood too!  Sigh.

Anyways, thanks Mr. Flagger Guy whoever you are...you made my day.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My New Toy

Ohmygodohmygod.

I've been coveting one of these forever.  Forever.  I've been pestering Hubs, I've been looking at them online, I've been reading all about them and dreaming about having one of these for my very, very own.  What is it, you ask?  Is it a car?  Is it some kind of gadget?  A skookum piece of running gear?  What has me all in an uproar?!

This.



Yep, I've recently purchased a Vitamix CIA Professional blender and I can't wait to get my hot little foodie hands all over this sexy beast.

Why am I all a-twitter over a blender?  This is the creme de la creme of blenders, and will even pulverize something as small as a raspberry seed.  I've been reading about this all over bloggieland for awhile now and if you're into smoothies, this blender is for you.  Instead of juicing fruits and veggies and leaving all that nutrient packed fibre behind, you blend the whole fruit or veggie and apparently the result is as smooth as silk.  You can make soups in this (the friction of the blades heats the soup!), you can make your own flour...bread, ice cream, nut butters...the world is your oyster.

I'm a huge proponent of eating whole foods and eating as healthfully as I possibly can most of the time...OK, OK...I did have a bit of a love affair with a bag of Doritos this weekend but c'mon...a girl's gotta have a little fun!.  It was funny today, because I was cleaning out our pantry and there was some food in there that we'd brought over from when we moved into this house, almost nine years ago (I know, gross huh).  I gotta admit, I was a little shocked...I had multiple boxes of Shake and Bake, pack upon pack of Crystal Light, and a whole whack of crazy high sodium Lipton Onion Soup Mix.  Ugh!  Anyways, I've been wanting one of these so Hubs and I can really boost our veggie and fruit intake and concentrate on whole foods...I want to know where my food is coming from.  My mind is already whirling with all the things that I can do with my precious.

Vitamix posts to come...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

PSA

So I was going to blog about a whole bunch of other things today after my little blogging hiatus, but there's something on my mind so I decided to just let my fingers do the talking.

Yesterday I found out that someone I know was killed in a car accident in New Zealand...here is the story about her, and when I first heard the news through the wonders of social media, I was in total shock.  I didn't know her well, but she was a good friend of my best friend at the time, way way back in the day so we would see each other at various social events.  Fast forward to many years later, and we bumped into each other at a birthday party.  It was funny because she looked at me and I looked at her, and we knew we knew each other but couldn't quite place from where...at some point during the night we ended up talking, had a very pleasant chat where we got caught up and went on our merry way.  Now I know that she wasn't a close friend...heck, she was barely an acquaintance, but I found myself feeling incredibly sad to hear that she had been taken from us so young.  She had been competing in a triathlon in New Zealand, and I thought how horrible it was that someone so vibrant and obviously full of life was taken so quickly. 

A second story.  A very, very close friend of mine just hasn't been quite herself lately...normally she's a very cheery and happy person, and after some prodding and poking, she revealed to me that her husband has been dealing with some pretty serious health issues.  Obviously she's beside herself with worry and as much as I'm worried about him, I'm worried about her health as the stress is starting to manifest itself physically.

So why am I telling you these depressing stories?  These things highlighted the importance of telling people you care about that you love and appreciate them and that as shitty as you think have it, there is always something to be grateful for in life.  Instead of bemoaning all the things that we don't have, look at what we do.  There's been many times where I wish I'd taken the opportunity to say or do something and didn't, and come to regret it later on...things can change in a heartbeat.  The lesson in all this?  Live in the now and be grateful.

Some last words to live by...


Sunday, October 14, 2012

One Week Later

Today was a weird kinda day...all morning I kept looking at the clock and thinking "one week ago today, I was...."  Silly, I know...but I couldn't help myself.  One week ago at this time, I was having a sliver of pumpkin pie and apple crisp and desperately wishing that our guests would leave because I just wanted to go to bed.  Ha!  OK, if anything I'm at least truthful on this blog.  I'm feeling back to normal for the most part and not feeling as exhausted as I was earlier in the week, but going to go to the doctor sometime over the next week or so to check things out...I felt a little short of breath earlier today when I was doing a brief treadmill run, so going to the doc to make sure all systems are OK for my peace of mind.  I did go through a range of emotions last week about not finishing...I wasn't really thinking about the DNF as I was just so happy that I wasn't hurt, but as the week wore on, it started to niggle me more.  The thing that is really helping me to deal with it is that I'm more than this past race, and it just wasn't my day.  So, with that...going to move on.

So...once I get the thumbs up from the doc, what am I gonna do over the next while?  I'm easing back on the running for the next few months as we always take a break after our regularly scheduled Fall race, and moving to more strength training.  We'll still do our weekly runs but keep them around the 10 - 12K mark, just so we don't turn into total schlubs.  I've signed up for a tabata style workout class at the Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence, and will throw in some yoga and bootcamping.  Basically just going to stay active and just exercise for the joy of exercising (yes, I said joy....ha!).

Some great news...got up this morning to track Marilyn as she was debuting at the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon race, and she came in as the second Canadian woman!  I watched her round the corner on the live feed and she looked like she was pretty tired but had a smoking awesome time of 2:42:44, just missing the Canadian master's record.  So excited to see her do so well!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

2012 Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon Race Report

Well...this was the most memorable race of my life for many, many reasons - geez, where do I start? 

Race morning started pretty much as per usual...I did my usual routine of waking up at 3am to eat something and having a banana before the run.  Hubs and I headed down to my work, as it's really close to the start line and left our gear there, including our cell phones (this becomes important later on in the story).  We headed down at around 7:15, and man was it ever packed!  We wedged our way into the crowd, and I looked at my Garmin and thought that it didn't look like it was reading right...but after checking it I thought it was OK. You know how sometimes you wish you would have just listened to your gut?  Well, this was one of those times.  As the run started, the pacing on my Garmin was completely off - in the first kilometre, it was telling me that I was running 3:50/km splits - OK, I've been working hard but that's just crazy!  Luckily I had a pace bracelet, so had to run by feel and hope I was making my splits. 

0 - 7K

1K  5:30
2K  5:09
3K  4:58
4K  4:58
5K  5:05
6K  5:16
7K 5:12

8 - 14K

I knew that I was making good time but my splits were a bit fast, so I tried to slow myself down after the 10K split.  Definitely a personal best on the 10K, and I was on target for a 1:50 half.

8K  5:02
9K  5:04
10K  5:02

10K split:  51:15  target 52:07

11K  5:11
12K  5:19
13K  5:32
14K  5:22

15 - 20K

Did you guys notice my heading for these splits?  You might have a feeling of what's coming next.  I was tiring fast, and around the 17K point I started to take some very quick walk breaks.  It was weird, because I remember everything up to this point...I was feeling a little dizzy but thought I was just a bit tired, and pushed onward.  Bad idea...very bad idea.  At some point, my brain must have shut down because I don't remember much past the 18K point.  My body must have just been in automatic mode and I vaguely remember running and weaving and then nothing...I passed out cold.

I came to, and I remember people all around me and one particular lady who was so wonderful - later on I would find out her name was Trudy, and she had called Hubs to tell him what had happened to me.  I didn't know where I was or what my name was, but I knew his cell phone number...weird how the mind works, eh?  Unfortunately, I knew his cell phone number but the cell phones were back in the office...argh!   I was too weak to walk so the ambulance was dispatched to get me where they started an IV on me because my blood pressure and blood sugar were dangerously low, and I was dehydrated.  The paramedic that worked on me was so wonderful...I kept apologizing to him and he was so kind.  Once they did what they could, I was taken to the medical tent and the nurses there who were also incredible worked on me.  It was such an odd feeling...not feeling your body, not being able to move, and not knowing what year or month it was or how old you are.  The nurses kept asking me those questions to see if I was coming out of it and I honestly couldn't answer them, and they were worried that I had hit my head because I was so disoriented.  Hearing that...and having no filters...I started to freak out that I was going to be like this forever and even tried to do accounting in my head!  Yep, even in a medical situation, I'm doing debits and credits in my head...such an accounting geek.

At this point, I was so worried about Hubs because I knew he would be worried...and luckily, he thought to come by the medical tent and he just happened to see my head through a crack in the awning.  I've never been so happy to see him.  Lesson to be learned here, folks...always, always, always run with your cell phones!

My final splits - I passed out one kilometre from the finish line...yes, one freaking kilometre.

15K  5:22
16K  5:30
17K  6:05
18K  5:54
19K  5:49
20K  6:57

Where did things go wrong?  I was feeling sickly at the beginning of the week, so should have listened more to my body and not pushed quite as hard as I did.  The Garmin problem was also an issue, as I was running too fast to start and likely hit the wall way too soon.  I drank along the race route, but not enough, given how hard I was pushing.  I've run all my races doing the early morning brekkie/banana routine, but maybe for this level of pace, I need to eat more.  All learning for the next time.

How am I feeling now?  I was exhausted and am still feeling tired today but my mind is pretty much back.  I've got some soreness - I think my calves must have immediately cramped when I collapsed as they are insanely sore.  I'm not going to lie...it hurts to know that I've done so much work over the past four months and to not complete this race when I was on track for a personal best sucks, to put it plainly.  But...all is not lost.  It was Thanksgiving weekend, right?  Even though this completely and utterly shitty thing happened, there are a lot of things to be thankful for...

 - I'm thankful that I wasn't injured - miraculously, I have no scrapes, bumps or bruises...I literally must have just crumpled to the ground

 - I'm thankful for the wonderful people who stayed with me (Trudy, whoever you are...thank you so much) and forfeited their race to help me, a total stranger.  I don't know your names or who you are, but I am forever grateful

 - I'm thankful for the amazing paramedics and nurses who were soooo incredibly patient, understanding and kind even was a complete spaz

 - I'm thankful that the clinics that I took showed me that I did have it in me to hit my A goal...I may not have finished, but I did hit a 10K personal best of 51:15.  I'll take what I can get!

 - I'm thankful for Hubs, always

 - I'm thankful for family and friends..we still hosted dinner on Sunday, but luckily most of it was pre-prepped so it mostly involved just putting it in the oven.  I texted my BFF to tell her what happened and was roundly chastised in the most loving manner possible because I knew she was worried and cared (love you R, mwah mwah, XOX)...having something like this happen made me realize again how important family and friends are and how things really could have been so much worse

What does this mean for my future race plans?  Well, I was already going to take a break from running to the end of the year...and I think what I'll do is run a 10K race next spring, and then volunteer for the Oak Bay Half Marathon and other local races.  What happened at this race really, really makes me want to give back and I feel it's important for me to do.  And yes, I do plan to race next year's Goodlife...and finish.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Race Goals

So I was going to be a big ol' chicken and not post my race goals...but I realized in the the past, putting it out there is what seems to push me so here I am.  How am I feeling about this training cycle?  I pushed hard at the clinics, harder than I ever would have dreamed I would have.  I am so thankful to have had such a great group to train with, and an even better instructor with Jason.  I've been working hard on my form after taking all the clinics with Marilyn, and I think if I can keep my form going throughout the race, I might be able hit my time goal as I won't be muscling myself along throughout the race...so important especially for the first half of the race.  I did all the long runs and made sure my pace was within range - not too fast, not too slow.  I've also been eating really well since about June and really kept an eye on making sure I got enough protein (thank you Arbonne protein powder...vegan, full of protein and delish to boot!).  Last year, I seemed to have lost a lot of muscle mass as I was doing no strength work and was pretty much just running.  This year, I kept up all the bootcamps as I wanted to make sure I kept up the cross training.  I think the combo of the extra protein and strength work has helped me maintain and even build muscle...I can see the difference, but more important is the lack of difference on the scale.  I weigh the same as I did in June when I was admittedly a lot fluffier than I like to be when I'm running, but my clothes are fitting much better.  Kinda excited about this result as it means I must have built muscle, and it gives me some food for thought about what I want to do in the off season as I'm really interested in doing more strength training.

OK, enough procrastinating and trying to baffle you guys with bullshit to distract you...ha!  Here are my goals for next week's half:

C goal (I know I can):  2:00

B goal (I think I can):  1:55

A goal (pinch me, I'm dreaming): 1:50

Truthfully I'm nervous about my A goal.  I've done the physical training, but it's the mental toughness part that I'm a little worried about...I always seem to fall apart at around 16K, so I'm thinking about my race plan.  Do I go for even splits?  Do I try for negative splits?   Do I try and build a cushion?  The physical part is hard but the mental part, for me, is always harder.

Let's do this!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 14 Recap

OK is it just me or does the full moon affect anyone else?  It's like clockwork...one day I'll feel a bit off...either jittery, sad or irritable which is unusual as I'm normally fairly good tempered (or at least I think I am...hah!).  Inevitably I'll look outside and voila...full moon, shining at me in the face, making me feel crazy.  Sigh.

Woohooo!  So on to taper week.  I can't believe the race is a week away...and it seems crazy to me that a year ago, I was about to run my first marathon!  Time flies...it feels like it was just yesterday I was starting all the clinics.  This time, I'm really going to taper...no bootcamps, and really take it easy this week except for a couple of very, very easy runs.  At Wednesday's clinic, Jason said to cut activity back this week by half, and even said no bootcamps...argh!  Now I'm not gonna lie...I'm already feeling anxious about not working out, but it makes perfect sense as we all know that you get stronger when you rest so I'm going to resist the urge.  I think Hubs might have to chain me down to stop me!  I know one week won't kill me and if it means I'll hit my goal, rest it is.  The break will probably do me some good...I've been feeling extra tired and a bit sickly again this week, so taking it easy is a good thing. 

So work outs this week:

Sunday:  rest day
After my nasty toe incident the day before, I decided to give myself a day off and not irritate the darn thing. 

Monday: bootcamp
Stubby was still aching, but I went to bootcamp anyways as I'm like that.  Thankfully we didn't do a ton of running, and did more of a circuit which was perfect.

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: clinic in evening
Sob...last speed session before the race.  I actually kinda can't believe I made it that night and lived to tell the tale - a group of people at work got together for dinner Tuesday night and let's just say...the wine flowed quite freely but I managed to somehow resist temptation and not overindulge.  I really wanted to make the last clinic, and luckily (I think!) I had to get up at 4:30am to get to work extra early so it forced me to be a good girl, even though I super didn't want to be.  Ha!   Last speed session was much easier than usual, which was good because I was pretty tuckered out from the previous night's festivities...we did one minute interval of sprinting with one minute of a recovery jog, and did that ten times.  I was so glad to be done by the end as again, I ended up getting stitches on both sides (argh!) and Stubby was really bugging me.  Anyways, all is done now...I'm so glad that I joined the clinic as I never, ever in a million years would have pushed myself as hard as I did, and hopefully that translates to a new PB on Oct 7th!


Thursday:  Mindful Strides Clinic
Double sob....last clinic with Marilyn.  Again, we had a really good group...one of the cool things about doing these clinics is just getting the chance to meet other runners.  Marilyn also announced that she's partnering with MEC and Saucony (she's presently just with Saucony) which is pretty awesome!  It's all pretty neat...Marilyn's turned something that she loves into something that is her career...her love of teaching others how to run properly has really taken off and you can just tell that she loves it.

Friday: 60 minutes stationery bike
Stubby was still bugging me so instead of doing the last long run (10K), I decided to do an hour bike ride while Hubs went out and did a run around the neighbourhood.  I think he's all fired up for this race, and I think he's got a PB in him.  Go Hubs!

Saturday: rest day
Taper time!  And what better way to start it with than a rest day, right? 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Goodlife VIctoria Half Marathon - Week 13 Recap

Aiieeeee!  Can't believe that the race is just a few weeks away.  I'm excited to see what effect the hill and speedwork that I've been doing is going to have on my time.  Kinda glad that there's still some time left before the race though...yesterday Hubs and I were out at Rona and I accidentally kicked the back of his heel just as he was bringing his foot back and somehow ended up tearing off a huge chunk of the nail on my left big toe...it was soooo painful that I had to run off into an aisle and grit my teeth to stop myself from uttering a long string of curse words.  It's feeling a bit less sore today and I'm sure it'll be fine by the time race day rolls along, but I'm sure glad I didn't do this any later!  I need all the help I can get to achieve my goal and don't need no sore toe holding me back.

This week's workouts:

Sunday - rest

Monday - bootcamp

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - bootcamp
Wah.  I was feeling really crappy Wednesday and didn't think I could get myself through a speed sesson so decided to skip the run clinic.  Sob.  I felt OK when I got up but felt extra winded at bootcamp and had this weird  headache that came on in waves...throughout the day I'd start to feel better and then the weird headache and sick feeling would come back so I thought forget it.  The antibiotics I was taking for my spider bite were also playing havoc with my stomach so I was a hot mess.  Blah. 

Thursday - clinic
We had a fantastic clinic Thursday night...fantastic!  I almost didn't go to work because I was feeling like ass in the morning (stomach still bugging me) but as the day went on, I felt a lot better and decided to go to the clinic.  Soooo glad I did...Marilyn videotaped us (ack!), and it was an incredible eye opener.  I totally thought I had it, but I soooo didn't...still reaching, not landing under my body, and actually heel striking!  Gah!  Hubs, on the other hand, was the star of the class...his form was virtually perfect, which is funny because he was the one who was getting frustrated and almost quit but I encouraged him to stay with it.  Ha!  So proud of Hubs...he's been really good about working on his form...he's not been concentrating on speed at all, but running much slower than usual but maintaining proper body positioning.  I've been trying to keep my speed up, but then my form goes to hell in handbasket and it totally showed.  Anyways, Marilyn had us do another drill that mimicked what our body position should be and videotaped us again, and the second time around my form totally improved...I landed under my body and I had the proper lean position...woohoooo!  Total improvement and I had all these a-ha moments because now I knew exactly what I needed to do to get it.   I think what I'm going to do is take one more advanced session with Marilyn (Hubs said he'd do it with me) and really work on form for the next few months as our distances will be shorter and I'm not working towards any races.  Sounds like a plan, Stan!

Friday - bootcamp

Saturday - 18K run
Hurray, last long run before we start tapering.  I really like the Pen Run training schedule...we did two 18K and two 20K runs, so I feel good and ready for the distance.  Hubs and I went out on the trail by our place, and Hubs had a stellar run...absolutely awesome!  He was feeling good and was keeping up paces at around 5:45 - 6:00...pretty fantastic as normally he's running around a 6:30 pace!  I think he's also really happy and encouraged now that he knows that his form is good, so now he feels he has the go ahead to start working on his speed.  I predict a PB for my boy! 

Bring on the taper.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 12 Recap

Boo...not feeling great today, so after much agonizing I decided to skip my speed session tonight.  Sob.  I was feeling crappy on and off today and just when I thought that I was feeling better, I'd get a wave of crappiness.  Going to make it up this week though...I know it's just one session but I'm on a roll and I'm kinda addicted to the speedwork now, as much as I hate it.  Hee.

Sunday - rest

Monday - rest

Tuesday - rest
Does walking all over Vancouver count?  While Hubs was at work, I wandered around all the streets in downtown Vancouver.  I found a fantastic cookbook at Cookworks that I'm totally stoked about...called Powerfoods, by the peeps at Whole Living magazine.  Sorry folks...I've been trying to upload a pic of the cover but for some reason can't.  I curse you, Blogger!  Anyways, I made a bunch of recipes from this cookbook for this week and they're all delish and healthy - a quinoa/pumpkin seed salad, fattoush salad, a whole wheat pasta with herb/almond pesto, a kale slaw (I did tweak this one a bit though) and marinated beets.  I really wanted to get a lot of veggies in this week as last week was a bit of a black hole for food.

Wednesday - bootcamp a.m./clinic p.m.
I was kinda worried as I hadn't worked out in a few days and had *ahem* eaten a lot of delicious restaurant food, but I think the rest and extra food helped.  At least that's the story and I'm gonna stick with it.  Jason had us run the big hill at Esquimalt Lagoon, and I actually felt pretty good for the most part.  For the clinic, we went back up to the track at the university and did a pyramid workout...intervals of 200m, 400m, 600m, 800m and back down to 200m with 100m recovery intervals in between, 85 - 95% effort, absolutely no stopping or walking.  I made a huge mistake...I felt a bit hungry at 5pm, so ate half a bar and drank some water...should known better, as immediately upon starting the intervals I had stitches on both sides.  It was pretty much a struggle from beginning to end, and I started to lose track of where I was at...at one point Jason asked how far I had to go and I yelled out that I had no effing idea!  Thank goodness we were pretty much at the end so he said do one last 200m sprint and I was done.  Overall pace was 5:05/km - slower than my last session, but still happy with it considering how I was feeling.

Thursday - Mindful Strides clinic
There was a bit of a mixup with time this week so luckily Hubs and I had some alone time with Marilyn so it was almost like a private session!  We were able to ask her a lot of questions and she was asking how we were doing with our running overall.  I mentioned that I was doing a lot of speedwork and one thing that I'm finding I'm doing because I'm pushing so hard and am so tired, that quite often I lose my form and just end up muscling my way to the finish.  A lot of it is probably my fitness level and I'm still working on my pacing, but I asked her what she did when she gets tired.  The one thing that she said that worked for her was to really concentrate on how her feet strike...really trying to keep the strides light.  Gonna try that at this week's speed session.  Marilyn also had her physio at the session too to help give some guidance, and he complimented Hubs and I on our drills and said we must practice a lot!  All those long hours of practicing our form on our runs is finally paying off.

Friday - bootcamp

Saturday - 20K run
Again...all that food we ate in Van must have helped as we both had a pretty good run...legs felt fresh and we were out by around 7:30am so it was nice and cool.  Didn't feel so fresh afterwards though...we went out for a quick errand and pretty much spent the better part of the afternoon dozing on the couch. 

Life is Too Short

Yeah, I know...the title of this post is such a well worn cliche but it's just so true.  Lately I've been pondering life a lot and where things are leading and for some reason, things always happen that help me refocus on what is truly important in life.  Sometimes we get so caught up in all the crap in life and trying to keep up with the Jones - the big house, the fancy car, the high powered career and all those material things that people seek out - that we forget what's really important in life. 

Take my very good friend V...within a matter of hours, her life changed profoundly.  Her dad passed recently very suddenly which in itself is a tragic thing...but her mom has advanced stage Alzheimer's and is unable to live on her own so she's now living with V and her husband.  I hung out with the family last Friday and that's when I realized I'm so lucky...even though V is incredibly busy with how things are now, she still makes time for me in her life.  And even though life is stressful and things have been rough for her to say the least, V is still smiling, laughing and throwing hugs out to everyone when she could be miserable and making everyone miserable around her.  Her motto?  Life is too short...sometimes life throws you a shitty hand, but everyone has a choice in how they choose to live their life, how they choose to treat others and how they choose to treat themselves.  A very sad event in my BFFs life has just punctuated this and confirmed the two things that I hold most important in life....when I think hard about it, these are the only two things in life that really, truly matter for me.

Family/friends

Health

Amen to that.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 11 Recap

Oops!  Training recap is a weeee bit late this week...but for good reason!  Hubs and I were in the big smoke this weekend to see family and do some work, so yours truly had a chance to just hang out in Vancouver and do some much needed shopping (OK, maybe not a real need).  Overall the weekend was fun and relaxing...well...except for the massive spider bite I ended up getting on my hand.... 

Here is my hand as it is normally (still a tiny bit swollen...yes, I have vein-y old lady hands, thanks):



Here is my hand after I got bitten:



I noticed it Saturday morning on our long run, and kept absentmindedly scratching my hand as I thought it was a small patch of dry skin or something.  Bad mistake, as it soon turned into a welt.  By Sunday morning, my hand was alternating between aching and tingly plus it was really hot, an angry red/purple colour and swelling at an alarming rate.  Good old Hubs whipped me to the clinic where the doc prescribed antibiotics because she didn't like how the red was spreading and was worried that it was an infection. Thankfully, the antibiotics kicked in within a few days as my hand is back to a relatively normal size instead of meaty man ham hand.  The scary thing?  We were hanging out in my FILs spare room (where we were bunking out for the weekend) and Hubs saw this monster spider traipse across the floor so smashed it to hell...if that was what bit me, I don't even want to think about that ugly mofo sitting on my hand while I slept innocently.  *shiver*

Anyways, workouts last week were:

Sunday - 18K run
Even though we were supposed to run on Saturday, we definitely were glad that we put it off until Sunday as we had way more energy.  This was a decidedly "meh" kinda run...not bad, but not amazing either.  Average.

Monday - rest

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - bootcamp a.m./clinic p.m.
Back at the double Jay days, hurray!  Morning was the usual hillwork/ass whupping that Jason usually does, but the clinic run was something else.  Did I mention that I realllly don't like speedwork?  Like really don't like it?  Jason took us to the university track and we did five 800 metre repeats with a two minute rest in between at 85% effort...the first few repeats weren't too bad, but by the time I got to the last repeat, I had to push hard to get through it as I was so tired and actually felt a little queasy afterwards.  After I checked my Garmin, I knew why...4:40/km average pace!  As hard as it was, I was super happy with my pace and how I felt from the prior week's speed session.  Yeehaw.

Thursday - Mindful Strides clinic
Another great clinic with Marilyn.  I'm kinda getting sad because I'm really enjoying doing the Wednesday and Thursday run clinics.  Marilyn is training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon which is week after my half which is on Thanksgiving weekend, so I'll be sure to be tracking her progress.  She is sooo my idol...totally want to be her when I grow up.

Friday - rest
I know, I know!  Three rest days in a week?!  I  couldn't make bootcamp as we were heading to Van right after work on Friday...sure missed it though.

Saturday - 20K run
Hubs and I ran an 8K loop in Kerrisdale three times, and then finished off at a track that just happened to be where we parked the car.  Now if it had been up to me, I would have run along the famous Seawall because it's beautiful and scenic...and flat.  Hubs, on the other hand, didn't want to have to dodge the massive hordes of runners and walkers that would be swarming the Seawall at 7am.  Anyone sense any sarcasm?  Ha!  The loop was admittedly shady and probably much cooler, but it was really, really hilly.  Everytime we had to go up a hill, I'd turn around to give Hubs the stink eye, and all I could see was his big cheshire grin which would make me laugh each time.  Oh well...train hard, run easy, right? 


Monday, September 3, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 10 Recap


Sigh...what a lovely, lovely long weekend!  Weather here in Victoria was great and it was all Hubs and me, all the time, just hanging out.  Got lots of stuff done this weekend and cleared off my to do list, including some backbreaking garden work today...a few years ago we had a retaining wall built in our backyard and I put in a fairly large flower bed.  This year I looked at it with a really critical eye...some stuff either was not doing well or didn't look great where I'd planted it, so today I tilled the whole garden, mixed in multiple bags of sea soil, moved plants around and planted a bunch of new stuff that I thought would do better.   Phew!  I was going to work out after doing that, but after four hours of high intensity shoveling, I figured I'd done enough physical activity that I could skip a workout today.  So there.

Oh...and good news!  I've finally guilted Hubs into running the Goodlife Half marathon too.  Hee hee!  It's become kind of a tradition now...every year we run the race, and then we feel completely guilt free in indulging in turkey dinner with all the trimmings.  Hubs was reticent to commit to running the race...but finally he relented so I'm signing him up for the half quick before he changes his mind.

Sunday: rest day
Huh.  I guess I didn't work out.  Ha! I can't think of why I didn't...I guess I must have been tired from my long run the day before.  Or just lazy. 

Monday: bootcamp

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: bootcamp in a.m./clinic in p.m.
Hurray!  Back at my double Jay days.

Thursday: Mindful Strides clinic

Friday: bootcamp
Whoa, this was totally hill week at bootcamp I tell ya...we did hills all three classes.  I can really feel the hill and speed sessions in my legs too, they're feeling tired and sore this week.

Saturday: Mindful Strides run
Sooooo....Hubs and I were gonna do our long run on Saturday, but we were both zonked and just couldn't get up...plus we wanted to go to the Mindful Strides run at Elk Lake and didn't want to be too tired to be able to do the drills and strides properly.  We met up with the group and did a lot of drills...and afterwards I totally regretted not coming to these sooner!  We did a lot more "running" (even though we only ran maybe 100 feet at most) and we did a few drills that I'd never done before that really helped with my pulls. 

After the session, a few of the group were chatting with Marilyn and she mentioned that she was racing that night at the final race for the Q100.3 Track Series.  We've never seen her race before, so we decided to  head out to the UVic track to cheer her on and get a chance to watch her in action.  Thank goodness we had a blanket in the car...it had been a warm day but the night was very cool and windy...I had a t-shirt, two sweatshirts and a blanket and I was still freezing my butt off!  Anyways, it was cool to see Marilyn race...after a little bit of confusion on the laps she was on, she came in second overall and the first woman master with a 34:20 10K time and a new personal best.  I know, 34:20...crazy fast!  There weren't a lot of people in the stands watching, but she had a pretty good contingent of supporters and we heard lots of "go Marilyn!!!" in the last few laps.  Seeing her race totally inspired me to really put my nose to the grindstone and train hard for the half.  Five more weeks to go to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear...yikes!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My First Speed Session


Train hard, run easy.  Words to live and die by.  Ha!  Last night was our first speedwork session at the clinic, and my first speedwork session ever.  So how did you I like it, you ask?

I hated it.

But...I know it's good for me and will ultimately make me a faster, stronger and better runner, so I'm putting my big girl panties on, sucking it up and just doing it, dammit!  After a quick warm up, we did mile repeats at what Jason said was supposed to be 80% of what would be full effort...we were to do four repeats with a two minute rest in betweeen (just enough time to catch your breath), so I knew I had to conserve a little energy and not run full out.  As we all lined up to take our places, I kept thinking what the hell is 80% of full effort?  I lined up at the back so as to avoid being embarrassed as people whipped past me and actually felt a little nervous...I was even more anxious because we were actually being timed on our intervals.

Off we went for our first repeat...my legs felt heavy from bootcamp that morning (yay, first double Jay day in a month!) but I actually like doing double days because it forces me to push through when I'm feeling tired - recreates how I'll be feeling at the 18K point when I want to curl up and die.  The first repeat didn't feel great - normally I need a bit of time to warm up, but I was pleasantly surprised when I finished and I had done a mile in 7:30!  Woohoo.  I took a two minute rest and then took off to do the next few repeats...the second and third ones were all around the same time and felt hard, but by the time I got to the fourth one I must have found my groove because the last one felt great...as I got to the halfway point, one of the clinic leaders yelled out "way to go, girl!  you're looking strong and awesome!!" which made me push even harder and it didn't hurt that he was kinda cute...tee hee.  I even tried to flash him a coy smile but I'm sure I looked more like the Joker, so I stuck with a big "thanks!" and a wave.  Jason was awesome too as he kept cheering us all on and shouting words of encouragement...he is so incredibly fabulous, I can't say enough about him.  He has this way of pushing you positively and making you want to try harder.  After the session, he came up and told me nice work as he knew I'd had a hard workout that morning, which made me feel pretty awesome.  Actually, the whole group is great...as the last few runners came in, everyone was clapping and cheering them on, which I thought was amazing.  What an awesome group of people! 

So, first speed session done.  It was hard...harder than I thought, because I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone and truthfully, it hurts.  With hills, I'm running slower but using more of my muscles to power myself up which somehow doesn't seem as hard.  At the end of the session, I checked out my Garmin and saw that my overall pace was 5:02/km, which I was thrilled with...target pace for the half is 5:15/km, so if I can continue to keep my speedwork at this level, hopefully race pace will seem easy on race day.

Train hard, race easy.  Very wise words. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 9 Recap

So you know how last week I was feeling like such a bag of poo?  Totally blah?  Well, that continued on for the better part of this week.  I pushed myself to work out, but had to miss my double workout day on Wednesday with Jason and gave myself permission to have a full rest day yesterday and I think it was just the trick that was needed to give some life back to my legs today.  I went to bootcamp this morning, and given that I had done a fairly long run just a few days prior, my legs felt remarkably fresh.  We ended up running a 1K hill that would have killed me last week, and it actually felt relatively easy today.  I felt full of energy and running was effortless...so glad that I'm getting some life back after feeling like such crap the last while!

Sunday - 12K run
This was the pile of doodie run that I talked about in my last post.  Blah.

Monday - bootcamp

Tuesday - 30 mins stationary bike

Wednesday - rest
Wah.  I had to miss my double workout day due to work commitments, but it probably ended up working out for the best in the long run.  Normally I would have tried to make up the hill work last week, but my BFF was in town and well...I wanted to hang out with her instead.  Ha!  Anyways, I'm feeling pretty good with the hills, which is good timing as we're starting speed work this week.  And no, I still haven't done the 3 x 10 minute tempo sessions we're supposed to do.  Sigh.  Must get on that...six more weeks of clinics and then I face my maker at the Goodlife.  Ack!

Thursday - clinic
Hurray!  Back training with Marilyn.  It's actually pretty cool doing these clinics with her because she inspires me.  She's a cool, fun person...but to hear her talk about running and to know how darn fast she is, is pretty fabulous.  I may have a bit of a girl crush on her.  Just sayin'.

Friday - bootcamp
I need to stretch more...I'm so bad, I know I should do it but I just don't.  My calves have been feeling tight, and I woke up in the middle of the night with an excruciating charley horse that I could still feel on my run Saturday morning.

Saturday - 18K run
We had totally planned to go to a Mindful Strides session at Elk Lake on Saturday but we got up too late and didn't finish our long run in time to meet up with the group.  Basically the session is just putting what we learn in the clinics into use, rather than just doing drills...but we didn't finish until 45 minutes after the start.  Next week for sure!  This was our first run at Elk Lake this year, and I'd forgotten how much I liked it.  It was overall an average run...not super awesome, but not bad either.  Given the way I'd been feeling for the better part of two weeks, I'll take it!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 8 Recap

Blah.  That's all I've got to say about today's long run.  Actually blah is how I've been feeling for the latter part of this week...really tired, and it totally showed today.  As soon as I started running I thought uh oh...this isn't good...the first few kilometres are usually tough ones until I warm up and get into a groove, but it felt extra extra hard today and I never found my mojo.  I'd get a burst of energy every so often and then I'd completely peter out.  Hubs on the other hand, felt great and was running like a rock star!  Happy at least one of us had a good run and some days, it's just not there.

Sunday - 30 mins stationery bike

Monday - bootcamp
Woohoo!  D is back so I went to my first bootcamp in two weeks.  Good thing, as I didn't realize how fast my overall fitness had gone down in two weeks even though I was still working out.  Just means how important strength training is!

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - run clinic
Couldn't do my usual double workout day as I had to get up at the ungodly hour at 4:30am to get to work extra early.  It's funny, as I was driving in to work I was thinking huh...usually at this time I'm running and doing burpees...and I thought maybe I am a little crazy to get up that early to exercise.  Ha!   Anyways, the evening clinic more than made up for missing bootcamp...in fact, if I had worked out in the morning I probably would have really sucked wind...or at least sucked more wind than I did.  It was a hot, hot day...temps hit 30 degrees here in little old Victoria and I was really not looking forward to the run due to the heat and the early morning (even though I had some assistance from some extremely potent high-test coffee).  The hill portion of the workout was in a shaded trail close to the University of Victoria, but it was an extremely hot 2K run to get there so I was already feeling a bit draggy before we even started.  We did two fast loops of the trail...after the first loop I was finding it hard to catch my breath, and after the second time it wasn't any better.  Not my finest  hour!  I was so relieved to be done but not looking forward to the run back...when I got back to the car I realized that we'd been out there running for almost 90 minutes!  My legs were cramping up again...not sure if it was from exertion or dehydration, but note to self to take a salt pill before the next clinic workout.

Thursday - rest
Rest day...but not for long!  Hubs and I have signed up for another session of the advanced Mindful Strides clinic, just so we can really fine tune what we've learned and then we're going to take our training wheels off and just go with it.  We're both feeling really good with how we're doing and marvel at how much fewer aches and pains we've been having, knock on wood.  Gah, just realized I still haven't done any tempo work.  Must get on that!

Friday - bootcamp
Blah.  Just wasn't in it, but thank goodness for D.  I went and felt so much better after we were done!  Reminds me of this poster:



Saturday - 30 mins run
Ummm...so we were supposed to do our long run on Saturday, but we jammed out.  When Hubs and I woke up, we were both so tired (him from playing hockey Friday night, me from a long night of cooking) and it was already hot out so we settled for a short workout in our nice cool basement and decided to run on Sunday when the weather forecast was for cooler temps.  Well, it was definitely cooler today even though I still sucked.  Ha!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 7 Recap

I give!  I give!  Uncle!  My heart can't take it anymore.  OK, seriously...Canada has not had it's share of luck these Olympics.  I know...it's about who is the best on any given day and shi!t happens, but wow.  This isn't to discount any of the medals that we have won...men and women's silvers in rowing eights, Rosie's gold, Ryan's silver, bronze for the women's soccer...it's all fantastic.  But it was so sad to see Paula Findlay apologizing to Canada coming in last, Simon Whitfield wiping out in transition and looking crestfallen, and now the men's 4x100m were disqualified after initially getting a bronze...that visual of one of the men crying into the Canadian flag and seeing Jared Connaughton apologizing and accepting responsibility for the DQ absolutely just broke my heart.  Anyways, tomorrow is another day and here's hoping that the Canadian men kick some serious ass in the marathon tomorrow!

Moving away from the kleenex box now...

Sunday:  20 mins Spartacus, 20 mins HIIT stationery bike

Monday: rest
Hubs and I had decided that this was going to be a total rest day...sleeping in, no working out...and that's exactly what we did.

Tuesday: 30 mins stationery bike
Well...truth be told I felt a little guilty about not working out on Monday, so I snuck in a workout on Tuesday.  We seem to be having lots of thunder and lightning storms lately, and that night there were some huge cracks of thunder that actually made me scream...for once we were happy to head down to the basement to workout.  Ha!

Wednesday: 20 mins Spartacus, 20 mins HIIT stationery bike in a.m./run clinic in p.m.
Super loving the Spartacus, so another session Wednesday morning.  Evening clinic was, of course, more hills.  We went out to a local trail that was made up of five steep hills...we had to run from the bottom to the top and then come back down and do repeats of the first hill and then back down, up to the second hill and back down, etc., etc.  After the first time up, I seriously considered turning around and heading home...the uphill was hard, but the downhill was way, way worse.  The trail was dry and some parts were gravelly, and it was so steep that at points I couldn't control myself coming down and had to stop myself on trees.  I was not loving it, but I told myself to suck it up, not wimp out and somehow I manage to finish unscathed.  Another guy in our clinic wasn't so lucky though...just as I was coming back up on one section, I saw a huge commotion ahead of me...one of the guys went ass over teakettle on the way down, smashed his face on the rocks and was bleeding.  I'm kinda hoping that we stop the trail  runs and just stay on asphalt!

Thursday: rest

Friday: rest
Yeah, yeah...I was supposed to work out but I didn't and blew it off.  D is back from vaycay next week so I'll be back at bootcamp for sure.

Saturday: 16K run
Hubs had something he had to do Saturday morning downtown, so we got up bright and early and did our run downtown.  We were running by 6:30a.m., and it was nice and cool which was great...it turned out to be a pretty warm day so glad that we got it done early.  Overall I had a great run...I felt like I had lots of energy, even though my legs have been feeling a bit stiff and tired recently.  I think taking  a few days of rest off after that tough hill session helped to give me some extra juice.  I was able to maintain a 5:30/km pace for the first 10K, and then slowed it down so Hubs and I could run the rest of the route together as we were playing it by ear until we reached the full 16K.  Poor Hubs, he was so tired after but he had to meet up with some people so I hung around downtown and engaged in some retail therapy a la lululemon.  Ha!

The other thing that I've noticed is that at our last Mindful Strides clinic, Marilyn really talked a lot about the position of our necks...keeping it tall and long is the goal, and by doing that it's hard to have the wrong body positioning.  When I get tired, my shoulders tend to come up and my head falls back, and because I'm carrying so much tension in my neck I've been getting awful headaches after I run.  The last few weeks I've been working on my neck position and voila...no more headaches!  Did I say that I love this woman?!

PS.  Sinclair for flagbearer!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1.  How About Them Women?
As much as I love the Olympics, I'm almost glad that it's over...pretty much every night I'm blubbering my face off and I can't take the rollercoaster of emotion!  The latest reason for my latest bawlfest...the women's soccer team bringing home the bronze medal after that crushing defeat by the US.  As much as I love sports, it's seeing how people fight against adversity and give it everything they've got on any given day that really makes me verklempt.  I guess ever since I did the marathon, seeing these athletes do what they do means even more...not because I'm some fantastic athlete (because I'm so not), but their dedication amazes me.  Training for a marathon required a lot of time and discipline...hours out on the road, early mornings when I didn't feel like it, always feeling achy...not that much fun some days.  Well, this is nothing...it was a short five months out of my life...these people have been training for years for their sport and it is their life.  So amazing...and definitely inspiring.

2.  Lean Mean Running Machine
As I was looking at my calendar today, I realized that I'd started Operation Lean and Mean seven weeks ago and things are going awesome.  Back when I posted that entry, I was ending my long run of debauchery and getting back to eating properly and exercising.  I've been logging my food faithfully to keep me on track and to make sure I'm eating enough (working out hard really kills my appetite!) and I've been working out a ton with all the bootcamping, running and clinic work.  I'm feeling really strong and can really tell the difference in how I'm running - lighter on my feet and running feels easier. 

3.  Spartacus
OK...I admit that I've been bad and jammed out of bootcamp for the last two weeks, but the good thing is that I've found out how much I really like the Spartacus training program!  It's been really awesome for getting my heart rate up and getting in a really good workout in a short period of time - basically if you did a 20 minute bike ride or treadmill run with four sets of the circuit would only take an hour.  Doing this program has really inspired me to look for something else in the same genre...circuits of intense work with short rest periods.  I'm still looking for a strength training program for the period after the Fall race, so maybe something similar to the Spartacus program is it.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 6 Recap

Ahhh....nothing better than a long weekend to rejuvenate the bones.  I took off an additional day on Friday so had an extra long weekend, and even though I had all intentions to relax, it turned out to be busy but really awesome.  Friday was my Get 'Er Done Day...I had a list of to do's a mile long, and with the exception of a few things, I finished everything on my list including staining the deck and running a billion errands...I was like the Energizer Bunny!  Saturday was the day that Hubs and I set aside to just hang together (saw the Dark Knight Rises - two big thumbs up...hellooooo, Christian Bale!) and Sunday I hung out with my friend B in the morning and then over to a really close friend's for dinner.  Today...well, today was bliss as we finally got a chance to sleep in and recharge my batteries a bit as my body has been feeling pretty tired.  So workouts this week...

Sunday: 30 min stationery bike ride

Monday: 40 min treadmill run
Um...so D (my bootcamp buddy) is on vaycay this week, so I pretty much blew off all my bootcamp workouts.  I know, I suck...it really is a push to have a workout buddy and I'm so grateful for D!

Tuesday: rest day

Wednesday: circuit & HIIT in a.m./hills at home in p.m.
Sigh.  Wednesday was not a great day...I woke up feeling a bit off but got up and did an interval workout that one of my coworkers gave to me called the Spartacus workout...basically it's 40 seconds of an exercise and 20 seconds rest, with 10 exercises in each set (I've linked it for you, juuuust in case you guys are interested!).  Two sets of Spartacus with a 20 minute HIIT session left me absolutely dripping in sweat!  I felt OK at that point, but as I made my way into work I started to get the worst headache and my stomach was doing flip flops and I felt nauseated all day.  I started to feel a bit better later on in the afternoon, but we were going to be doing stairs and track work with the clinic, so I decided to skip as I really didn't want to risk barfing in front of anyone and it was a hot day to boot.  I ended up running a 3K loop and then did the monster hill by my house five times...it was hard and I had no energy in my legs and had to walk a bunch of times, but I did it.  Just barely, but I'm proud of myself that I pushed myself and got it done.

Thursday: rest day

Friday:  25 minute treadmill run
Tired and no mojo.  I had fully intended to do some tempo work...as part of the clinic, I'm supposed to do an hour long run with 3 x 10 minute intervals at goal pace, which for me is 5:15 minutes/km.  I'm actually kinda wondering how I'm going to fit this in with bootcamp as I'm already doing double days and want to make sure I still get at least one rest day in per week.  Anyways...I seriously had full intentions of getting up and doing it as I had Friday off, but I just had no energy when I woke up.  I forced myself to go on the treadmill and made a deal with myself that if I really felt like crap that I could stop, and I made it to 25 minutes and then pulled the plug.

Saturday: 16K run
See, it's so weird.  I wasn't feeling super energetic the past week and had crappy workouts Wednesday and Friday...but Saturday I had a great run!  Go figure.  It was smoking hot out at 7:30 a.m. when we started, but I was able to keep up a pretty good pace for most of it and felt good at the end.  Ahhh....thankfully, it's a new week!



Sunday, August 5, 2012

What Do You Love More?

Q&A time!  It's been awhile since I've done one of these...but when I saw it on Janetha's blog, it had to be done, folks.

So.  What do I love more?

1.  Strength training or cardio?
Cardio for sure.  I know strength training is important though, so am really trying to be mindful to not just be a cardio bunny and make sure that I get in some strength work.  When I was training for the marathon last year, I did very little upper body work/strength training and I could feel my arms jiggling when I was running.  It was not a good feeling.

2.  Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
Being a foodie, this was hard for me to choose just one.  It's like asking who's your favourite child, for cryin' out loud!  While I love all three, I would give the advantage to dinner.  Just so many food options, and I love lingering over a good meal with friends. 

3.  Dress up or workout clothes?
Workout clothes hands down!  If I could live in workout clothes (hello, Lululemon and Underarmour!), I so would.  I hate being uncomfortable, and hate anything tight or constricting especially around my waist...and yoga pants are just so comfy.  I do like dressing up and looking nice, but I admit I don't love doing it.  However, I do like shopping for dress clothes.  I know, I have issues.

4.  Wine or beer?
Um...how about neither?  I don't mind a nice ice cold beer on a cold day or the occasional glass of wine (not really a wine fan, but I'm learning to like it more), but I'm more of a hard liquor drinker.  Fave drinks?  Whiskey, gin and tonic and a nice salty dirty martini with olives.  Mmmmm!

5.  Peanut butter or almond butter?
Peanut butter, hands down!  Love peanut butter in all forms, and if it's a peanut butter and chocolate dessert?  My achilles heel.

6.  Heels or flats?
I love the look of heels, but I cannot...cannot...walk in them, so for me it's flats...flip flops, runners, sandals, flats...I'm all about comfort, and high heels are just so painful.  I'm also a very fast walker, so I haven't quite learned the technique of how to handle heels.  I do have some low heels (2 inches or so) but recently discovered the joy of a good pair of wedges.  I bought a pair of fabulous 3 inch wedge sandals in Chicago and I can actually walk in them and not feel like a dork. 

7.  The actual cake or the frosting?
Frosting.  There, I said it!  I like the frosting!  Sugary, ooey gooey, sickly sweet frosting!!  Hubs usually scrapes the frosting off his cake and I'll go and eat his after I've eaten mine.  I know, gross.

8.  Spring, summer, fall or winter?
This is a real toss-up between summer and winter.  I used to hate summer, but now I loooove it...love the longer days, the sun, the warm weather and summer clothes, namely flip flops and shorts.  On the flip side, I also looooove winter...I love it when it's dark and stormy out, and I'm all cosy inside the house with a nice fire and a good book and a snifter of whiskey in each hand. 

9.  Real animal or stuffed animal?
Real.  One day I'll have my own furbaby!

10.  Bright or light?
This one is referring to colour, and I have to say bright.  I hate pastels, and like bright true colours.




Sunday, July 29, 2012

Goodlife Victoria Half Marathon - Week 5 Recap

Oh yayz!  The Olympics are finally here and I've already done my first ugly cry.  I don't know what it is, but I just love watching all the athletes who've worked so hard for their moment to shine...I find it so amazing to see what these people can do with their bodies and pushing themselves to their limits for their sport.  A bit of sad news, I heard that Paula Radcliffe, the fastest woman marathoner in history, won't be racing at these games because of a foot injury. She hasn't had her share of luck at the Olympics, but I hoped that she might take this one since she'll be in front of her home crowd.  Well, it doesn't take away from her previous accomplishments, and she'll still go down in history as one of running's true greats.

Workouts for this week...just how things fell, it was a busy one:

Sunday:  12K run
The weather turned out to be cool and drizzly, which was perfect!  The route was beautiful...we ran down by the University and ended up running by the water where we could ogle some gorgeous homes and dream what we could have if we won the lottery.  Ha!  I wasn't in much of a talkative mood, so ran with a few small groups but mostly trailed just slightly behind so I could just enjoy the run.

Monday:  bootcamp

Tuesday: rest
Whew.

Wednesday: bootcamp in a.m./run clinic in p.m.
Another double duty day with Jason.  The man knows how to push, that's for sure!  I think I've finally acclimatized to the double Jay days as I like to call them, as I'm not feeling as tired as I was the first few weeks. 

Thursday: Mindful Strides clinic
Wah, my last clinic with Marilyn.  Sob.  We had a great last clinic...we did some hillwork with the elastics, and she was saying that we all looked great.  Hurray, success!  Things have finally clicked for Hubs too...he was struggling a lot with his body positioning, but the last class really hammered it home for him.  Marilyn is away for most of August as she'll be in the throes of marathon training (I think she's training for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon) and is going to scale back some of her clinics for the Fall.  Can't really blame her when she's going to be doing many double duty days and accumulating mileages of 160km or so a week.  A week!  Hubs and I are going to take one more advanced session with her to really cement what we've learned, and then I think we're going to take the training wheels off and let 'er rip.  I have to say I felt a little bit sad as we wrapped up this session because we really liked the other clinic members...it was a really good group and we all seemed to click really well.

Friday: bootcamp

Saturday:  14K run
Hubs and I went for a run down one of our local trails, and it was great because Hubs had a great run!  He's finally clicked with the new running technique so I'd run with him for bits and watch his form and then zip ahead and loop back to check in.  I think the hill training is really paying off as I'm learning to push through running hard while tired from the morning bootcamp (useful for the last few kilometres when I usually implode) and I'm running at faster speeds and it's feeling easier.  Just need to keep this up for a few more months and Goodlife Victoria, here I come!