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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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'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 and women's silvers in rowing eights, Rosie's gold, Ryan's silver, bronze for the women's'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 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 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 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 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 D (my bootcamp buddy) is on vaycay this week, so I pretty much blew off all my bootcamp workouts.  I know, I 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 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 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? 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 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.