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 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 feels like it was just yesterday I was starting all the clinics.  This time, I'm really going to 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 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 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 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.



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 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 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!