Monday, April 29, 2013

Times Colonist 10K - Race Recap, Volunteer Edition

Wooohooo!  Had a great day today at the annual Times Colonist 10K here in little ol' Victoria...the weather was looking a little shaky Saturday, but the weather gods smiled on us and gave us a gorgeous, sunny day.  Thanks weather gods, you're awesome!

So one of the new year's resolutions I've been carrying forward for years has been to volunteer more...and...well, I was a bit of an epic failure on this front, I fully admit.  This year however, I vowed to volunteer, specifically at races.  Last year when I had my little episode at the Goodlife Victoria Half and passed out unceremoniously at the 20K mark, so many of the other runners, volunteers and spectators were so incredibly kind and good to me...I just felt compelled to give back this year.  I admit though...I was a bit of a procrastinator and hadn't signed up until Boston hit.  Truly rocked to the core by what had happened there (it wasn't Boston and it wasn't the was two men who had somewhere gone wrong in life is how I'm choosing to look at what happened), I plopped myself in front of the computer and signed up to volunteer for the Times Colonist 10K.  Now initially when I was thinking about volunteering, I was looking at stuff like the food tents or course marshalling, but those positions were all taken and all that was left were shifts at the finish line.  Everything always happens for a reason, folks...because I had one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in my life, bar none. 

The day started early, early...the shift was 6am to 1pm, so I was up at 4:45am on a Sunday....yes was an absolute bitch getting up.  Ha!  As I parked the car and walked down to the finish line to meet up with the rest of the crew, I thought about how cool it was to see the other side of what it takes to put on a race.  It was pretty quiet and only volunteers and organizers were around, but in a few short hours, 11,000 runners and their families and various spectators would line the streets to take part in this awesome community event.  So amazing. 

The other thing that was cool was that I met some pretty great people who were also volunteering...a group of five of us seemed to really hit it off and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.  We seemed to finish things pretty quickly and somehow the group of us ended up being right at the front of the finisher's chute...I was pretty excited about this as I've always thought that being in that area and being one of the first faces that people see when they finish would be pretty neat. 

yay, finish line duty!

waiting for the the hordes to arrive...

After the race started, in a blink of an eye the elites came in and next thing you know the hordes started pouring in.  Now 11,000 people going through a finisher's chute that was not that wide was going to be problematic so I had to summon my public speaking skills and really project as I cheered my face off and directed them to keep moving.  Now this would have been all fine and good...but as we all know....sometimes unfortunate things happen at races. 

meet my friend, mr. can...
Yup, this innocent looking garbage can was the vestibule of choice for many, many, many people as they barfed their brains out after the race.  I admit, the first time someone ran across and tossed their cookies, I was in a bit of shock and just kinda stood strangely takes seeing a few people with the telltale barf signs that you kinda realize what to look for.  After that first guy, I was the queen of the barf bucket...people would run across, hunch over in that position that only another runner can understand and I would grab that garbage can and get it under them in two seconds flat...I even managed to impress the people around me with my mad barf bucket skillz!  Now I truly, truly felt badly for these people...but the real reason was that there was no way I was going to clean up any barf lest I start barfing myself.  It seemed like most of the pukers were in the 35 - 45 minute range, so after that it was smooth sailing.  I did have a few people who looked a little woozy and I made absolute sure they were OK...I think maybe because I've sooooooo been to that very, very dark place, I really wanted to make sure they were fine before letting them go.  Must be the mom in me or something.

After all the runners came in, we had mere seconds before we had to get started on the 1.5K kids that was fabulous!  Seriously...nothing makes me happier than to see kids being active and hopefully these kids will be influenced to live a healthy, active lifestyle in the future.  As the stream of little chilluns came running through, the look on their little faces and how happy they were to get their finisher's ribbon was pretty amazing.  I got high fives from kids, I got big awesome.

spidey high fiving all the kiddies!

So all in was a fabulous, fabulous day.  I loved, loved, loved volunteering today and especially loved working at the finish line.  It was so rewarding to be there to see those people cross the finish line that they've worked months for...all shapes and sizes, all age ranges...people were so freaking happy and I felt a bit of that racing itch come back.  Seeing their accomplishment and being there to witness all of it was the best part of today...people had tears in their eyes, they were hugging and high fiving each other and was truly one of the best experiences I've ever had.  Oh...and there was a very moving moment of silence for Boston and I saw lots of blue and yellow shirts in support for all the victims and their families.  The running community rocks.

Sooooo...when's the next race?  Grin.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Give Me Strength - Session One Recap

Wow...can't believe fifteen weeks has flown past since I started the strength work at PISE...are we seriously almost into May?  When we first started the classes it was cold, dark and rainy out but at our last session we were working out outside in the gorgeous spring weather.  Me likey!  Anyways, we're at the end of our first session so I thought a recap of my foibles into the world of weights and strength work was in order.

Thumbs Up or Down?
Two huge thumbs up!  I loved doing more strength work...absolutely crazy loved it, and am now really intrigued by strength training and really want to incorporate it into my exercise routine on a regular basis.  To recap, the first ten weeks were mostly focussed on building our strength and the last five weeks have been using that strength foundation and doing circuits that combine both cardio and strength, sorta cross-fittish almost.

At the beginning of the session we were given logs to keep track of our progress on the weights and Josh had asked us for our secret whisper goals that we wanted to achieve.  My goals...

1.  Do One Pullup, Assisted or Otherwise
Check!  I have yet to do an unassisted pullup but I'm working hard towards it now that I have bands at home.  I've been able to do two sets of eight on the green bands and can eke out five pullups on the orange bands...woohoo!  I need to work my way through purple and red bands until I might be ready to try an unassisted pullup.

2.  Squat 50% More Than At the Start
Check check!  Goal achieved...well sorta.  Ha!  We actually didn't do any squats in the class...Josh had us doing a pretty good variety of exercises but the two that we did through the three programs i this session were bench presses and deadlifts with the trap bar, so I'm going to use those two exercises instead:

Bench Press (start):  45 pounds
Bench Press (end):   80 pounds
Result:                     78% increase, 67% of bodyweight

Deadlift (start):         85 pounds
Deadlift (end):         141 pounds
Result:                      66% increase, 118% of bodyweight

Not gonna lie...when I first started the bench press, we were just using the bar and honestly, I found that a little hard and I was pretty sore after the first session...those poor little chest muscles didn't know what hit 'em! 

The Mirror Vs The Scale Vs Clothes
Sooooo...not sure if any of you remember but I took pictures of myself at the start so I could visually see what difference, if any, there would be between the start and end of these sessions.  Now at the beginning I was adamant that I wasn't going to weigh myself and now after the fact I kinda wish I had just so I had a starting point.  As far as the scale goes, I think I weigh slightly more than I did before...the last time I weighed myself was around November-ish (honestly, I rarely weigh myself anymore...truly a victory in itself) and I've actually gained around two or three pounds since that weight.  However, my clothes are fitting better than they did in January and I can see a difference in the mirror and in the pictures...I can see more muscle definition in the back and a little leaner overall, especially around the midsection and upper body.  Another regret that I have is that I wish I'd actually taken measurements, but I didn't want to get hung up on numbers and wanted to go by the pictures and the fit of my clothes.  Sigh, live and learn.

Future Plans
So what's next?  As I've mentioned before, we're doing another session through until the end of July and I've signed up for three sessions per week, as I wanted to do the Friday strength maintenance sessions as well.  I'm super happy about that as that means a solid six months of strength/power sessions!  D is coming back off her April hiatus, so that also means I'll be back at bootcamp was nice to have the break from bootcamp and the early mornings, but I feel like my cardio has suffered a bit over the last month and I'm excited to get back to the hills and sprints.  I think what I might do is try to hit all my PISE sessions, go for Friday bootcamps and then go to either Monday or Wednesday bootcamps depending on the location.  And of course still hit the road on the weekends with Hubs for a nice leisurely run.  The other thing I've done is picked up "New Rules of Lifting Supercharged" so I can continue on with the strength stuff on my own if we don't continue on with the PISE sessions after July.  Methinks I'll be a busy girl this summer!

Monday, April 22, 2013

2013 - Week 16 Recap

For those of you who are super astute...yes, I skipped right from Week 14 to Week 16.  Normally I recap my week on Sundays or Mondays...and...well, we all know what happened on Monday and recapping my week just really didn't seem all that important, KWIM?  It's been an incredibly emotional week to say the least and to be honest, I'm a bit shocked at how hard this has hit me.  Some people will wonder why I feel so strongly about this...I didn't know anyone running this year, I've never been to Boston and would never have a hope in hell of ever qualifying.  However, these people hurt the running community that I love so much.  I've seen glimpses of the good side of humanity this week which gives me hope, but I'm going to feel sad/angry/heartbroken about this for a bit but I'll deal with it how I usually deal with things like putting on my shoes and running.

Sunday:  30 mins treadmill
This week I was heading to Van for a conference and was unsure how many workouts I was going to be able to fit in, so I decided to squeeze in an extra insurance workout.

Monday:  PISE p.m.
Spartacus workout...yowza!  OK I've done this workout at home, but I will fully admit that I don't quite push myself as hard as when Josh is standing there, giving me the old staredown.  Ha!  I was soooo sore for the next two days and the workout was exactly what I needed to distract myself from all the day's events in Boston and helped me release some of the tension and emotion...exactly why exercise is such an important part of my life.  Also found out that Josh is going to be with us a month longer (hooray!) so he'll be training us until the end of May and then we'll be working with a different trainer...all the ladies want to continue on so it looks like we're all doing another session until the end of July.  This week coming up will be the last week of the first session, so look out for a post on how I did!

Tuesday:  6K run for Boston
Even though I was insanely sore and could hardly walk from Monday's Spartacus, I felt compelled to go for a run after work...I suppose it was my way of showing my support for those in Boston.  It was a gorgeous, sunny warm day and I just had to lace up my shoes and get out there.  It felt good to just put one foot in front of another and hit the road.

Wednesday:  rest
Off to Vancouver for a conference!  No workout today as I got in late.

Thursday:  30 mins Spartacus
The conference started at 7:30am, so I dragged my decrepit old carcass up at 5am to get to the gym.  It was awesome...there was no one in there so I tucked myself in a little corner and pounded out three rounds of Spartacus.  To motivate myself to push harder I imagined Josh was there, giving me the stinkeye if I slacked off.  Hee hee.

Friday: 20 mins treadmill
Up at 5am again to fit in a short workout...just some easy running on the treadmill to get the blood moving. 

Saturday:  10K run
Woohooo!  Saturday was my birthday, and I had the absolute best day ever.  I woke up to my phone pinging with Facebook messages and texts wishing me happy birthday...makes me so grateful for the people in my life.  We slept in a bit (yes!!) and then headed out for a 10K run along a local trail that we run a lot during the summer.  It'd been awhile since we'd done this trail and it was so nice to just head out with Hubs...such beautiful sunny day.   Later on we squeezed in a bit of shopping, went out for some yummy Japanese food and then settled in for the evening to watch the Canucks game where my boys did me proud and clinched a playoff spot!  We even had a bit of cake...I say that calories, fat and sugar don't count on birthdays...that's my story and I'm stickin' too it!

FOOD: was not great this week, mostly because I was feeling a bit crave-y and was on the road eating conference food.  Cleaning it up for this week for sure...and yes, I still owe everyone a post on how the new clean eating is going! 

I bought Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook "It's All Good" recently and tried a bunch of recipes out of it last week...the recipes aren't vegan, but all are gluten and dairy free which is right up my alley.  Recipes I tried were pasta with tuna, olives, fried capers and parsley (had anchovies and garlic too...this was fantastic), turkey meatballs in tomato sauce, Thai chicken burgers and lentil salad with mustard and tomatoes. 

Monday, April 15, 2013


I'm truly heartbroken right now over what's happened in mind is reeling from the days events and I can't stop feeling emotional about how senseless this all is.  What should have been an joyous day for runners and their families has been taken away from them.  As a fellow runner, there's a bond that exists even though I don't know these people personally.  The only thing that gives me hope is the selfless reaction of all those who ran towards the explosions to help the injured, that are giving blood, those that are helping complete strangers.  A bright spot in all this craziness and a reminder that there are way, way, way more good people in the world than bad.

Never have I ever wanted to lace up my shoes more than I do right now.  Thoughts and prayers to all the victims and their families.

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 - Week 14 Recap another week of being thwarted from getting my workouts in!  Last week I was sick...this weekend my back totally went out on me.  Like I've said before, nothing makes me crabbier than not exercising...I'm well onto Day 3 of no workouts, and I'm startin' to get a wee bit owly and a l'il stir crazy.  I'm super hypermobile so while it's great that I'm extra bendy and flexible and can do all sorts of weird tricks with body, my ribs sometimes don't really like to stay where they should.  I was innocently sitting on the couch and my neck felt a little stiff and immediately I thought uh oh...within a few hours, I could barely turn my neck and my muscles were totally starting to seize up and spasm.  I have no clue what triggered it but I'm thinking that I was likely a bit out for awhile and I just made some small movement that did it.  Luckily my chiropractor's office is open on weekends so I jetted myself in as soon as I could...turns out I had ribs out on both sides of my back...gah!  Anyways, things are settling down and feeling better...on the bright side, it's been almost a year since the last time my back went out this badly...I've managed to keep it under control with massages, yoga and regular chiro visits...and why I really wanted to do more strength training.  Compare this to when it used to happen every few weeks...well, I'll take it.  Gotta look at the bright side of everything, folks!

So...what did I get up to this week then?


Sunday - 20 mins treadmill, 20 mins Spartacus

Monday - 20 mins treadmill, 40 mins Spartacus
Seriously, I was a Spartacus monster on the long weekend!  Four rounds of Spartacus was hitting my max for sure...I was beat by the end of this workout.

Tuesday - yoga
Yup!  Made it to yoga.  And it was awesome.

Wednesday - PISE bootcamp, 25 mins treadmill
Crrraaaaaccccccckkkk!  What was that sound you ask?  That was the sound of five womens' hearts collectively breaking as Josh told us that he likely wouldn't be training us for another round of bootcamp...I totally feel like I just got broken up with or something...hah!  I know, I know...there are lots of trainers but I tend to get a little attached to people and it's so nice to like and feel comfortable with your trainer.  I am thankful though that I've been lucky enough to like all the trainers I've had at PISE and BDHQ, so I'm grateful for that.  Anyways, after Josh delivered this devastating blow and I slowly crawled out of the fetal position from underneath the weight bench, the ladies chatted and it sounds like everyone still wants to continue training together.  Gotta say, I really like our little gang of five great to work out with such a fun group. 

Thursday - rest

Friday - bootcamp
Wooohooo!  D texted me to see if I was into bootcamp for Friday morning...umm, hells yeah!  D usually has to take April off as her hubby is busy with tax season so I was excited to go and work out...I know, I could go on my own but it's hard for me to get motivated when my buddy isn't there with me.  Great class...and glad I fit one last tough workout in because I was going to physio that afternoon, and after an IMS session, I have to take a day off to recover.  I've been having some issues with my right calf and knee and I knew it would be because of muscle physio confirmed it, and the tightness was pulling my right side out of alignment.  Out came the dreaded needles...not gonna lie, it was super painful and some spots made me hit the roof...I have a total love/hate thing for the results but hate the process!  I have to make a preventative maintenance plan so I don't let things get out of hand...I think quarterly physio and massages combined with regular chiro visits should keep me all tuned up.

Saturday - rest
Day spent recovering from IMS...until my back went out.  Grr.

Separate post to come on this topic!

Salmon with garlic, lemon and dill.

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 - Week 13 Recap

Life is good!  I've been walking around this long weekend with a perma-grin on my face and a little extra hop in my step.  What has me in such a good mood?

Hmmm...methinks these legs need to get some sun!

Yes folks...flip flops and shorts!  This past weekend in Victoria was absolutely gorgeous...the cherry trees are in bloom, the weather was warm and sunny (19 degrees on Saturday) and that round yellow hot thing in the sky was a very welcome sight.  Combine that with the long weekend (an extra long one for me as I've got Monday off too)...what's not to be happy about?  Anyways...busting out the flip flops and shorts always makes me smile.

Cherry blossoms in gorgeous...


Sunday - rest

Monday - bootcamp a.m./PISE strength workout p.m.  sick
Grr.  This flu hit me like a freight train...just before I went to bed I had a slightly sore throat but thought big deal, and texted D to tee up bootcamp in the morning.  Within a few hours, I had a screaming headache and was achy all over.  Gah!  I had to jam on D which I absolutely hated to do, but there was no way I was getting out of bed.

Tuesday - yoga rest
I had all intentions of going, but was still feeling a bit tired/sick so decided to rest.

Wednesday - PISE bootcamp p.m.
Wheee!  I was itching to exercise so couldn't wait to get to evening PISE class.  I skipped the morning bootcamp as I didn't think a Jason/Josh double day would be a great idea after being sick on Monday.  Class was a toughie...there was only two of us, and we did a tabata/HIIT type class that left me wrung out like a sponge..and yes, Josh brought out those darn battle ropes.  He then had an extra special treat in store for us...we went outside and pulled these racks with weights on them and seriously...I could barely pull these things!  It was even better because we were right in front of the cardio area so everyone on the treadmills got quite the show...I'm sure I was quite a joy to behold...sweaty and red-faced with all the veins bulging in my head and neck, with Josh standing behind me yelling go!go!go!...hah!

Thursday - rest

Friday - 30 mins treadmill, 20 mins Spartacus
Poor Hubs...he's been having some weird knee pain so we've been laying off the running and have been working out at home.  I've got my physio appointment this coming week too so will be glad to see what's up with my calf...seriously dreading the IMS cuz it's gonna hurt sooo bad, I just know it.

Saturday - rest
Hubs and I had planned for weeks to sleep in Saturday, lounge around and just have a nice, leisurely day kicking about town.  Somewhere, somehow I got roped into going to Sports Traders under the guise of Hubs needing "hockey tape"...this quickly turned into him taking off like a shot and hiding in the hockey gear selection for ages.  Luckily for me they have a fitness equipment department so I started moseying around and happened upon a shelf that was tucked away in the corner that had the same resistance bands that we use at PISE to help us with the pullups.  Score!  Now my goal is still to be able to do at least one unassisted pullup and it looks like my time with Josh is ending soon (oh double sob!) so I bought three of them with different resistances (green, orange and purple) so I could practice at home.  What a keener, eh?  Ha! 

Looks kinda ominous, no?  Check out our old school bike in the back!

I've been practicing a bit the last few times I've worked out at home and tried the orange definitely feeling it in my back!  Just one pullup...just one...

Sigh.  More eating out this week which I'd forgotten about...two work lunches.  It's funny, now that I've cut back on salt, whenever I eat at restaurants I'm dying of thirst.  And I did have a handful (or two) of my coworker T's amazingly addictive super delicious and scrumptious dilly Chex mix...OMG, so good...I'm totally salivating thinking about the salty goodness.

White bean and sage patties and Mediterranean chickpea salad from Meatless by Everyday Living.

Brianna's Story

I just finished watching this video and I had to...absolutely had it right away.  I don't know Brianna personally, but we're both members of the BDHQ family and I happened upon her blog one day (check it out here...seriously, do it) and have been reading it and silently cheering her on from bloggieland ever since. 

Anyways, I am a huge, huge, HUGE proponent of exercise and healthy eating...I would say this truly has become one of my passions in life and after I saw this video, I thought man, this person exemplifies what changing your life through health is. When people ask me why I exercise and watch what I eat, I think most people assume it's because of the physical aspect...fitting into certain clothes or keeping my medical numbers in line.   Yes absolutely...I started living more healthfully for the physical benefits...and while it's of course incredibly important, for me it's way, way more about the mental aspect than anything else...the feeling of confidence and self esteem that comes from being healthy, fit and strong, and how those feelings spill over into the rest of your life.  In Brianna's case...yes, she's lost a lot of weight (190 pounds to be exact...190 pounds, people!) and has changed her physical appearance...but what's amazing to see and in my opinion even more important than the physical, is what is happening to the rest of her life after she embraced a healthy lifestyle.  She's starting a coaching business to help those with significant amounts of weight to lose, is a leader for BDHQ's Biggest Winner program (yes, she's the poster girl for the program) and is now giving speeches to others in the hopes of moving them with her story to make changes in their own lives.  Inspirational?  You this is what I'm talkin' about.  For those people who think they can't change their lives or that things are insurmountable, Brianna is living proof that you can.