Friday, October 29, 2010

Bunch of Crazy Kids

Now that we've discussed how to run safe alone.  Let's discuss how NOT to run safe.

Yesterday I wrote a post on how to stay safe while out running, and then last night I ran the scariest route I've ever been on.  My friend has been dying to show me a little 5K route she used to favour. 

Being that it's close to Halloween, we decided to ham it up a bit.  She brought all of us glow sticks to wear.  However, they were ALL duds.  We did however wear some flashing lights and carried a couple flashlights.

When we left it was nearly dark, and very quickly was completely dark.  We started in a not-so-great part of town and went downhill from there.  We ran through trails, passing groups of smoking teens in the pitch black.  We ran through dense bush.  Eeek!  I would NEVER in a million years run these trails alone in the daylight.  However, in the company of my husband and two prison guards, I felt pretty safe.


22 Years ago today I started dating my husband.  We met two days before, at my high school dance, when I was 15.  He had previously graduated from the school, but his sister had dragged him along.  I still have the costume I wore to the dance that night - it just fits a little different now, but I can get it on!

Our kids now attend that same school, and my daughter attended a dance there last night.  Hmmm, she's 14, hopefully we have at least another year or so before she meets her future husband.  Though I'm told I don't need to worry.  She says she never getting married, never having kids, and never having sex.  She actually said she would promise to never, ever have sex if I would excuse her from the HPV immunizations.
Our early days 

Speaking of my kids .... today they both dressed up for school.  I think this is a first, or at least a first in many years.

My son the redneck .... My husband & daughter .... and my daughter the cat 

I think their true personalities come out here. 

My son's belt says "White Trash".  He got it from a friends brother who wears it regular.  The friend's brother also has another buckle that says "My Other Ride Is Your Mother", with a picture of a truck above it.  Kinda funny, but not sure if the school would find humour in that.

I have a race this weekend - 5.9 miles / 9.5 Km.  It will NOT be a serious race.  It will be about participation, location and FUN.  I will most definitely have to be getting some pics.  The rumour mill also suggests that Ma & Pa will be dropping in for a visit - yippee!

Hope everyone has a FANTASTIC weekend, and a safe & funHalloween!

Keep Active!
(and keep outta the "fun" size bars)


REMINDER - Pink Dress Virtual Run


Don't forget, this weekend is Fran's  Pink Dress Run 

On either Sat Oct 30th or Sun Oct 31st (or both)
Run any distance you like and wear something pink
(doesn't have to be a dress, but gee, wouldn't that be fun).


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Staying Safe

Thursdays suck!  Why?  Because the weekend is so close you can almost feel it, yet it's not quite there.

I'm tired.  I can't remember the last time I had a full night's sleep.  Last night it was the dog waking up to puke (nice, huh?).  The night before it was cat's scrapping outside - we have a cat, but there are a few wild cats that try to invade his space once in a while, or it could have been a raccoon too.  I've been having a hard time falling asleep, and once I do something keeps waking me up.  I'm designating Saturday morning as sleep in morning.  Which probably means I'll stay in bed until 8 ... maybe.

I'm also stiff.  I haven't been giving enough attention to stretching lately, plus I've been doing alot.  Which means every day I'm a little tighter.  When the dog woke up last night you should have seen it.  My husband and I both tried to shoot out of bed but he's been doing lots of physical work this week and his back locked up.  Normally he gets up for that kind of stuff but when he couldn't I had to jump into gear.  My calves are so tight I had to run to the door on my tip toes.  We're quite the circus.

Been another active week.  Tuesday was swimming again.  Amazing what a workout that is for the muscles that aren't used to it.  I still don't love it, but I appreciate it.  I also ran Tuesday night and Wednesday night.  Just easy runs.  Wed should have been speed work, but I didn't have it in me and it was choice A) easy run; choice B) no run.  I figured A was the better choice and was glad I did it.

How can you protect yourself out there? 

In the last few months there have been some unsolved and similar attacks on women in neighboring towns, one which resulted in death.  There was also a similar attack in my town.  There isn't a certainty yet that they are linked, but the suspicion is growing.  A few of the attacks have happened while women were out walking, in mostly well lit areas, not super late, good neighborhoods - the types of places most of us have probably walked/run alone lots of times, places you would deem as generally safe.

I rarely ever run alone, which is probably your best protection.  On the odd occassion that I do run alone I often do all of the following:

- bring along my dog
- carry a cell phone
- stick to well lit routes
- try to stay in areas where there are other runners/walkers/traffic/stores
- never wear headphones alone (well I don't wear them anyway, but that's not the point)
- stay aware

Of course I also always carry ID on me in case something were to happen, at least I could be indentified.  And usually at least one other person knows where I will be.

I was told yesterday that maybe I shouldn't run alone - ever.  Hmmmm.......

To me that's a bit extreme.  I don't believe in living in fear of "what if?".  I will not jail myself.  I believe you should take precautions and be sensible.  I must admit, it scares me a bit when I hear of people going out running by themselves in the middle of the night, or very early before anyone is really out on the streets.  For me, that is too risky.

I think staying aware is also a critical point.  One of the women attacked said she heard footsteps approaching and then was attacked.  If I hear someone approaching, or see someone (or hear anything) that makes me feel even slightly uncomfortable I will change locations, or look the person in the eye, maybe pull out my cellphone.  Trust your intuition - better to be wrong than hurt or dead.  If it doesn't feel right, try to change the situation.

This is also one of the reasons why I personally don't think headphones are a wise idea.  Countless times me, or my husband, have scared other people out on a trail.  They don't hear you approaching and next thing you are beside them and they are gasping, or shrieking, because you caught them off guard and scared them. 

Any other suggestions for those who run/walk alone?

Keep Active!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sunday = Hiking

Yesterday's post got too long so I left Sunday's activity for today's post.

On Friday, when my husband and friend decided we'd run an unplanned 20K, they also decided we would hike the Grouse Grind on Sunday.  You might recall I have tackled this beast a few times, most recently 2 weeks ago with a friend.  My husband had never climbed it before and wanted to see what all the fuss was about as this hike is very well known and popular among locals and tourists.

We were out the door by 6:30 AM Sunday morning (so much for sleeping in at all this weekend).  It was pitch black when we left, and still very dark when we headed up the mountain. 

My husband, having never climbed it before, wanted to see how quickly he could do it - so he headed off ahead of us.  He's the speedster.  Last time I went was a bit of a "courtesy hike" with my friend and the pace did not challenge me.  So I also headed off on my own. 

We were expected to get 50+mm of rain, but were blessed with just cloud cover.  It makes the trail almost spooky with the mist and the water droplets.

I knew I would not PR for this trail (and didn't even plan to attempt that), but still wanted to get my heart rate high and challenge myself.  After running 12 miles the day before I knew my legs would be fatigued.  The third quarter of the trail is steep and this is where I felt the fatigue, but it wasn't horrible - just noticeable.  However, this was also the point I picked up the pace so maybe that's what I was feeling.

My time was 57:44, 7 minutes off my PR of 50:40, but still my second fastest time on record.  I'm VERY happy with that.  My husband's rocket time was around 48 minutes.

The thing I'm most pleased with is the first half of the climb was quite a bit slower than previous climbs.  But the 2nd half was almost identical to my fastest time.  I really picked it up in the 2nd half - compare it to negative splits for running - YAY!!

We knew the other two would be behind us a fair bit, so instead of taking the tram down as planned due to time constraints, we decided to be rebels and walk down the mountain (which is prohibited).  LOTS of people were walking down this day.  In fact, we were asked by a few people if the tram was shut down because they had seen so many people walking down.  Seems we're not the only rebels.

However I'm a clutz and it takes me as long to climb down as it does to climb up.  I'm VERY careful.  My husband held my hand pretty much the whole way down.  Good thing too because at one point, while talking to a passerby, I slipped on a root and banged my knee on a rock - nothing serious, just a scratch and a bruise. 

My husband loved the trail and definitely wants to do it with some frequency.  However, I was met with two e-mail messages from the mountain Monday morning:

Subject: Grouse Grind - Time change as of Oct 29
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 09:38:20 -0700

Effective Oct 29th
The Grouse Grind hours will change Friday, Oct 29 to:

Trail hours:

The last two times we started up just after 7AM.  With both my kids in soccer I usually have to go this early to be back in time.  An 8AM start will just add a bit more of a time crunch.

Then there was this message:
Subject: The Grouse Grind is closed
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 10:35:06 -0700

The Grouse Grind is temporarily closed due to heavy rainfall. The trail will be reassessed over the next couple of days.

The 50+ mm of rain they had been calling for on the weeked arrived Monday!  Seems we got that climb done just in time!
I was happy that I got another tough workout in, and it too did not wipe me out.  The rest of the day was packed with soccer stuff (meeting/pics/exhibition game/team dinner) and I was running (literally) around all day.  In the evening I also managed to get over 4 hours of bookeeping done too.  Don't ask me how I crammed all that into a day, and still got to bed by 9PM.
Keep Active!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekends Rule!

The last few weekends have been so wicked!  I'm having such a great time.  This one was insane busy and action packed, but awesome.

Friday = Swimming!!!! 

It wasn't so bad.  I appreciated that it was a completely different cardio workout from running and it left me breathless after just a few laps.  Definitely a great workout for the upper body.  The last few laps I had to use my legs more because my arms were toast, felt them the next morning.

Funny story ... we get in the pool and my friend asks if I want to use a pair of goggles.  I hate goggles, so decline.  She says, "Are you sure?  Don't you wear contacts?  Won't they float off?".  I say, "Nope.  I've swam like this lots and never had a problem."  Then I tell her, "You know, you probably just cursed me.  I'm going to lose one now."

Sure enough, first lap down the pool, I get up and my right contact is GONE!  I wore the goggles after that.  Luckily Costco is not far away and I got a free sample to get me home.

That night we had one of those home decor parties (overpriced crap if you ask me!).  While there, my husband got talking with my running buddy and they decided that we were going to run 20K the next day.  So .....

Saturday = Running

Honestly, I was not mentally prepared for this.  I like to think I'm a spur-of-the-moment kind of gal, but maybe I'm not quite.  As soon as I learned of these plans I immediately stopped eating and started drinking as much water as I could.  Talk about cramming to prep.

I was bagged when I got up.  It was a two loop trail of 6 miles each.  The first loop I was a bit of a whiny baby.  After jumping from 9 miles to 13 miles last week Sunday, and only 6 days later attacking 12 miles again ... I was questioning my sanity.

The stomach attacked at about 3 miles (normal).  Usually after that I feel better and the run gets easier.  But not this day.  At around 5 miles we had to go up a few steps and over a bridge.  I tripped on a step (but caught myself with my hands - no harm), and I felt done.  I almost started to cry.  I didn't want to run.  I didn't feel prepared to run this distance.  It was everyone else's fault.  Honestly I was just feeling wimpy. 

We stopped, stretched and regrouped after the first lap.  For the 2nd lap my husband went ahead and I decided to stay back with our friends and run slower.  I wasn't in this run for time anyway.  Running slower is alot easier on your body, but it does make the miles go by slowly.  Around 9 miles my friend was feeling burned out and she asked me to go ahead.  She had been trying to run a bit faster for me and because we were talking it was draining her.  I was surprised that the last 3 miles were actually the easiest of the whole run for me.  Maybe because I was alone?  Maybe because I was almost done?

At mile 11 I ran into my brother-in-law's cousin.  She doesn't live very near to this trail (nor do I), but had decided to go out there.  She didn't realize I ran those kind of distances and was impressed, which made me smile as she has done Ironman before so I know she understands.

On this long run I carried a full bottle of powder mixed Gatorade.  It went well.  I would have liked to take along some other foods to try, but just wasn't prepared.  Next time.  While I wasn't mentally prepared for the run, afterwards I was glad I did it.  It was good to push through that mental barrier too.

Afterwards we had a couple slices of leftover pizza.  Then as soon as we got home I rushed out to watch my daughter's soccer game (they won!).  In the evening we watched the UFC fight - it was a really good one!  I did NOT spend the day nibbling on crap.  And I didn't spend the day completely exhausted.  I did have a 20 min power nap before UFC, but other than that I was good.  My legs felt good and I didn't feel drained.  I think I'm ready to move on in my training.

Sunday was another crazy, busy, active day - but I'll leave that to another post.

Hope all my fellow bloggers and readers had a fantastic weekend too!

Keep Active!


Friday, October 22, 2010

Fluffy Puffy Friday

What a sluggish run last night - ugh! I knew something was off when I got home from work and took off my boots.  My legs had major indents in them and were all puffy.  About 5 minutes into the run, my leg muscles felt SO tight.  I stopped to stretch and noticed that my lower legs looked like marshmallows.  I did a nice long stretch and massaged my legs a bit.  By the end of the run, they were back to normal.  Strange!  I also felt more energized after the run, but that's not unusual.

I don't know if it is hormone related, lack of water, something to do with running hills the night before ... or it just is.  I'm betting a pair of compression socks probably would have helped (wish list!).

This afternoon I am going swimming!  I'm NOT a swimmer, though I can swim.  But I have a friend who's asked me a few times lately and it just hasn't worked out.  Not sure how I'll feel about it, but I'm going to give it a try and see.

It's another rainy weekend here on the Wet West Coast.  Actually, I can't complain much, we've had some pretty good weather lately.  But Saturday they are calling for 30-40mm (1 - 1.5") of rain and Sunday is projected for 50+ mm (2"+).  I'd like to run 11-12 miles this weekend, but I might postpone it until midweek.  Rain is one thing, running under Niagra Falls is another!

Sounds like a good weekend to do some cooking.  I have a huge box of apples from our trees that I plan to dehydrate.  Also a batch of browning bananas that could be made into some bread.  There's also the West Coast Women's Show on which I have gone to every year since it started.  I wasn't planning to go this year due to lack of funds, but now I'm thinking if I just keep it to the entry cost I might still enjoy it.  Tara-Jean & Vincent from So You Think You Can Dance Canada are going to be there and I'm not sure I can miss that.

Have a great weekend
Keep Active!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Light Bulb Moment


Last night we did hill repeats.  1 mile warm-up jog to the base of a hill.  Then 10 repeats of about 250 Meters each.  I forgot to time the first two but the remainder were like this:

Hill 3 - 1:20
Hill 4 - 1:17
Hill 5 - 1:16
Hill 6 - 1:16
Hill 7 - 1:15
Hill 8 - 1:17
Hill 9 - 1:15

then for the final one I decided I would go as hard as I could ...

Hill 10 - 1:10

You wouldn't think a measly 5 seconds would make much of a difference, but let me tell you ... I thought I was going to puke! 

I was pleased to see that I mostly got progressively faster as they went on.  Hills are something I need work on.  They always slow me down alot in a race.


Lately I've begun experimenting with on the run fuel.  My first venture included Cliff Shots Razz Energy Gel (disgusting!) and Luna Moons (not bad).  For last weekends impromtu half marathon training distance I brought along full strength Gatorade instead of water.  This actually went well.  I have used powdered Gatorade before, mixed to be quite watery, but I didn't love it.  The full strength pre-mixed Gatorade seemed to be good.  Although, as I wasn't expecting my husband to run with me, we only had one 500mL bottle between the two of us and had to share.  I think a whole bottle to myself would have been better.  I had one Luna Moon left for each of us.  It was nice to have, but not nearly enough.  When I move up to longer runs I am going to need fuel.

I'm not a huge fan of commercial products (like the Gu's, Sport Beans, etc.) so would rather give more regular foods a shot.  Pretzels and PB&J sandwiches are on my list of things to try.  I read an article in this month's Running World that mentioned Dean Karnazes has ordered pizza enroute ... doesn't that sound enticing!  I might even give it a try.  Not a whole pizza mind you ... just a slice.

I'm struggling a bit with re-fueling after a long run.  I didn't used to have any hunger after runs, but lately I've been a starving, tummy grumbling monster.  Yet, I'm too tired to really put anything decent together and find myself grabbing foods that don't do much for me.  Because I make poor choices, the nibbling continues for the rest of the day.  I need to be more prepared so I don't have to put any effort into it, so I can have it ready to eat as soon as I get home.  After my last two long runs I did enjoy a big serving of cold chocolate milk.  That was all I thought about during the last mile of last weekend's 13.1.


Yesterday I was thinking.  My eating has become habit.  I prepack my breakfast and lunch every morning for work.  Typically it's about the same thing, always in the same quantities.  It occurred to me yesterday ... why not reduce the quantity a little. 

Really, would I notice it that much if I had a Tablespoon less of my morning oatmeal?  If I had 4 crackers instead of 5?  A little less than a cup of pasta? 

Those are little changes.  I probably wouldn't even notice them ... but maybe my body would.

Part of me has given up fighting to get this last bit of fat off me.  I can't stand the thought of journalling anymore - I have years and years of journals.  I haven't weighed myself in probably over a month.  Not even the measuring tape.  I'm not interested in being obsessive with it anymore.  But yet, I still would like to feel better.  I'd still like to be trimmer and lighter, which would no doubt help me improve my running (which is the most important to me these days).

Such a simple concept ... now let's see how it plays out.

What's your favourite post-workout food?

Keep Active!


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

If Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you too?

WOW, a girl goes away for a few days and it takes me nearly a full day to half-ass catch up in blog land.  There's been a lot going on out there.  Thanks to those who missed me and sent me messages. :)

Congrats to everyone who ran races this weekend.  So many great race reports out there!

What another beautiful weekend.  The weather was perfect.  I love these fall days when there is no rain and the temperature is crisp. 

On Saturday I went out for an "easy" 5 mile run.  My plan was to keep the pace between about 9:30 to 10:00 miles/min.  The first mile was about 9:20 and I figured I would probably slow down a bit after that.  But by mile 2, I had picked it up and had an average pace of 9:10.  I kept trying to slow it down, but apparently my legs were having none of it.  I ended up with an average pace of 9:06 ... 45:36.  At least it felt easy so I won't complain.

Sunday I had planned to run at least 10 miles.  As I said in my last post, I haven't run double digits since April.  I say I planned at least 10 miles because in the back of my mind I kind of wanted to up that to 11. 

We were in Penticton, home of Ironman Canada, and I had planned to run part of the Ironman run course along the east side of Skaha Lake.  I have never been down that road before and I've heard it's quite scenic.  However, with me and my issues I knew I needed access to a washroom at some point within the first 3 miles so I had to take a slightly different route.  Really, no matter where you run in Penticton it's beautiful.

On the drive up there my friend called and said that since I was going to run 11 miles this weekend, she was going to sign up for a half marathon at home.  Keep in mind this is my friend who is just back to running and ran her first 5K back 3 weeks ago, and her first 10K back last week.  She's a crazy woman!  However, she has the mental side of running nailed down and knows to take it easy so she doesn't end up hurt.  She finished in 2:23, pretty impressive if you ask me.

Well, I'm not one to leave that on the plate ... so I too decided to run the half marathon distance!  I'm horribly competitive - hahaha.

It was done carefully, and I didn't "race" it.  After the first mile I stopped and had a 2 minute stretch break to loosen things up.  My legs felt horribly heavy and I needed it.  Then at mile 3 was a potty break for me and at mile 4 was a potty break for the hubs.

Mile 8-10 were the hardest.  Thankfully it was also the most scenic.  We were running right along the lake on a winding road.  Pretty!  At 8.5 miles we turned around and did take a 30 sec break.  We were feeling DONE.  However, after that break I started to feel a bit better.

Mile 11-13.1 was run along the main road in town.  Boring, boring, boring.  For a regular run it might be OK, but at that distance my mind needed something interesting.  My parents drove by at Mile 12 and I had to dig a bit deep to not jump into their car and call it a day.

In the end our running time was 2:02:41 (9:21 pace), this was not including stretch & potty breaks.  Hubby says this is not a fair way to calculate time, but for training runs I have always done it that way.  I know during a race the clock does not stop, but in a race I don't typically stop either.  It works for me.

That evening my whole legs were pretty achy.  Not sore in any particular spot, but achy - like you feel when you have the flu.  Twice during the night my husband actually massaged and stretched my legs.  Awww!  He's really quite sweet for that.  However, I did get up around 4AM and took a tylenol.  After that the ache resided and I felt comfortable for the rest of the day.

I'm actually REALLY happy that I challenged this 13.1 miles now.  I'm one who likes to run a full distance before a race.  And with my half coming up mid November, this is good for me mentally.  I now know I can do it, and unless something goes wrong, I should be able to finish under 2 hours.

18 miles in 2 days ... yup, I like it.

Keep Active!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

10 Miles, Race Pics & Well Wishes

There are so many people doing big races this weekend and I want to wish them all good luck.  I hope you ladies have an amazing time at your races.  I want to mention these ladies who are all conquering their FIRSTS at certain distances:

Linzi @ Destination 26.2 Doing her FIRST full marathon at the Nike Marathon in San Francisco.  I am SO excited for her.  She has worked so hard for this and has been a huge inspiration to me.

Aneta @ Confessions of a Rambunctious Runner - Also doing her FIRST full marathon, the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon.  These last few weeks have been a challenge for Aneta (injuries and flu symptoms just to name a couple), but she is trudging forth with amazing spirit.  I can't decide if I'm more excited to read her race report, or to see what cute running outfit she picks for this race.

Nej (Jen??  OMG how did I not see that before, duh) @ I Think I Can, I Think I Can - Running her FIRST half marathon.  She has just recently been suffering from some leg pains and a bit of pre-race doldroms (don't you hate those), but is so excited to conquer this beast.  She's also looking for some "after the big race" ideas for "what's next?".

I wish all you ladies the best on your FIRSTS this weekend and look forward to your race recaps!

Stop by and wish these ladies good luck.

Now ... ABOUT ME! (because, really, isn't it ALL about me - haha)

My friend sent me the picture she took after our race this weekend.  What a ham!  Not my hottest, but this is me, hahaha. 

Speaking of goofy pics.  I found a couple from the actual race.  I can't decide if I run in my sleep or this is some horrible coincidence.  I can't post the actual pictures here but you can see them at these links:

Actually, I know what the problem is here.  I tend to look at the ground when I run, which makes my eyes appear closed.  I try to force myself to look up, but then I worry that I'll trip over something and history tells me this is a real possibility. 

Another thing I notice (and has been oh so sweetly pointed out to me by my loving, caring, embarrassed husband and children) is that I run with my shoulders hiked up and my elbows high.  The more tired I get, the more they creep up.  I've been working on trying to let them hang down more, but they have a mind of their own.

A few weeks ago I was laughing at the girl on that Lotto 6/49 commercial (it may be a local thing .. I can't find a video of it).  Anyway, it's based on their "Can You Imagine" campaign and shows a woman running basically all over the world - because she can.  I was commenting on her posture.  She is VERY erect and holds her arms quite high.  My family all looked at me like I had fallen off the turnip truck and informed me that I run just like that.  Hmmmm, so I look weird but apparently could do commercials.  Yup, I'm going with that.

This weekend I have 10 miles planned and I'm going to try out a new route.  I'm hoping I can have a biking companion along with for company and supplies.  That would be nice!  I haven't done a double digit run since April, and I can't wait!

Have a great weekend!!!

Keep Active!


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Day Race Report

I seem to have found a formula that agrees with me for nutrition leading up to a race.  In the day or two before a race, I limit my starchy carbs dramatically.  Breakfast the day before was a couple of eggs - not my typical oatmeal, no toast, no cereal.  Even Thanksgiving dinner for me consisted of just turkey, broccoli & carrots with my one indulgence of cheese sauce.  Also, as much water as I can remember to drink.

I have done this twice now, and both times felt fantastic the day of the race.  I think for my upcoming half marathon I will extend this to maybe 3 days prior.  It seems to agree with me.

Another thing that seems to bring me success is a good pre-race warm-up.  For Monday's race I did a good 2 mile slow warm-up.  By the start of the race I was all ready to go - systems cleared (wink), muscles warmed-up, core temperature warmed up.

I had no intention of going for a PR in this race.  It was a last minute decision to do it and was mostly about going out there with my friends and enjoying the course.

The Start

We started at the VERY back of the pack.  This was a new thing for me.  I've never started at the very back.  It wasn't a huge race, but decent ... about 1200 people.  We actually walked across the starting line.  Though right away I knew I had to break through the pack or I would feel frustrated - I don't like to shuffle.  I said goodbye to my friends and began the weaving game.

Mile 1 - 8:30

The first 1/2 mile I was weaving the entire time.  People were leaving room, but you did have to find it.  I only really got walled a few times.  It wasn't until after the first mile before I could run freely without having to dodge the whole time.  I think I could have picked up 45 seconds or so in this mile had I started closer to the front, but I don't regret starting at the back.  It was almost fun dodging everyone this time.

Mile 2 - 8:49

The only slightly challenging hill was a bridge.  It's a long one though and seems to go on for a while.  I've run it before and knew to pace myself.  Because I'd reserved a little there, as I crested the bridge I picked up speed and started passing people who had flown past me going up it.  I checked my time and was pleasantly surprised with how I was doing ... so, I decided to hold her steady and finish with a decent time.

Mile 3 & 4 - 8:26 and 8:29

It was an absolutely GORGEOUS route, the sun was shining and reflecting off the water.  I really forced myself to look around and enjoy the scenery instead of just focusing on my finish time.  I wanted to experience this run.

There was pretty decent support throughout the run.  For a small run there were quite a few people out there with bells and pom poms.  The people at the 5K water station were great.

Mile 5 & 6 - both 8:21

I was starting to tire here.  This is typically when I peeter out in a 10K and start to lose steam.  I wanted to push a bit harder, but my legs were feeling the after effects of my mountain climbing. 

This is when I remember a technique that some runners do.  I started picking off runners.  I'd look ahead and say to myself, "the women in the green, catch her".  Then when I did I'd pick another person.  This completely carried me these last two miles.  What a great way to occupy your brain.  Every time you catch someone you feel a sense of accomplishment.  Of course, there is a strategy to who you pick to pass.  It has to be attainable.

The Finish - 7:41 pace for 0.2

With 0.2 to go, I gave it my all.  I LOVE to finish strong.  Although this almost got me in trouble because I was weaving through some people and missed seeing a park bench until the last moment and had to hop the corner of it.  Whoops! 

Finish Time - 52:18

Just over a minute slower than my PR, but I'm totally happy with it.  I never intended to PR, wasn't prepared to PR, and given the course differences this will probably never be a PR type race.

What a fantastic race though!  Great support, the most incredible food at the finish (yes, I ate myself silly!  No regrets on that), probably the prettiest course I've ever run.  Awesome!

Sadly my husband couldn't run it as he is still nursing an injury, plus he had a job to finish that morning. :(  I know he'd love it and I really hope we both get to do it next year ... of course with our friends who took me there.

My friend has a great picture of me from after the race.  I'm waiting for her to send it to me and then I will share.

Race's are so much fun!  I wish I could do them all the time.

Speaking of upcoming races ....

My blog buddy Fran is hosting a virtual run on either October 30th or 31st (you pick) - the Virtual Pink Dress Run.  Conditions are that you must wear pink and post of picture of you wearing it.  Check out her blog HERE and join us if you can.  It's an international affair. ;)

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Ahhh, another fantastic weekend.  Given that this was the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend ... I am definitely thankful for some pretty awesome weekends lately.

Saturday I climbed the Grouse Grind, a local mountain (2.9 Km/1.8 miles long, but with a 900M / 2800 ft. elevation gain) with a friend.  I swore I wasn't going to climb it this year because they DOUBLED the cost of the tram ride down.  It's still cheap, but on principal alone it makes me mad. 

There is a tram you can take up to the top of Grouse Mountain which is $40 return.  Of course there is also the option to hike the Grind (as it is known) and then take the tram down only.  It's become quite the attraction for tourists, as well as locals, to hike this trail.  The mountain claims that too many tourists are climbing it ill-prepared just so that they can pay less to view the attractions up top.  Therefore they raised the return only tram price from $5, to $10.  Yes - it's still relatively cheap ... but it's a rip and a farce!  They have claimed that the main reason for doubling the price is to discourage tourists who may be out of shape and not wear proper hiking gear.

First, it's difficult to even find a price listed anywhere for how much it costs to ride the tram down.  Second, for a tourist who is probably going to do this once in their life - $5 or $10 is irrelevant - they will still hike it at either cost.  But for locals who don't quite do it enough to justify the cost of annual membership, but might do it multiple times in the year - it's a major rip off!  Annual membership is $100, so I'd have to go at least 10 times to break even.  Which is fine if you live very close and can go often enough.  But for someone like me, who it's just a little too far away to do too often, 10+ times a year is tough to pull off.

I was quite angry about the price increase.  They also increased the parking fee.  I was determined that I would not hike the mountain again because I wanted to rebel against their price increase.

To top it off ... they have prohibited downhill travel, so you are forced to pay for their tram.  The trail is NOT owned by this mountain, it is owned by the parks board.  There is also another (not as popular, not as well marked, and not as travelled) trail nearby that you can hike - but I've heard that if you request at the mountain for information on this trail they will tell you it is unavailable and that downhill travel on that is also not allowed ... which I understand is complete bull!

So, we were rebels and we hiked down the trail.  I'm bad!!!  I'm normally very against breaking rules like that, but I was just mad enough (and perhaps broke enough).  The trail was not very busy that day anyway, and we made sure to give complete right of way to anyone hiking up and were respectful. 

I took along my daughter's camera to capture a few pictures.  It's not the greatest quality so the pictures are quite blurry, though it does have the advantage of being waterproof and shatter-resistant.  Good thing as it rained pretty good on the way up. 

Check out the rain splatters...

Though we did go early (left home at 6:30 ... started climbing around 7:30), it wasn't nearly as dark as it appears in this picture.  The trail is quite tree covered, and we were in alot of fog.  My Garmin couldn't even work properly.  It calculated the elevation gain fine, but told me I only travelled .12 miles ... just a little out hahaha.  A few times the skies just opened up and drenched us.  It wasn't so bad.  My jacket kept me mostly dry and it was nice not to get hot.  Quite refreshing really!

I said before I went up that I was not aiming to break any speed records on this climb.  I decided I was just going to hike with my friend and whatever pace she was comfortable with.  Though I was absolutely thrilled with how easy the climb was for me. 

Last year my best time was around 50 minutes and that was pushing hard the entire time.  My worst time was 1 hour and 32 minutes, which honestly felt about as difficult as my fastest because I was in such horrid shape then.  This weekend, going at my friends pace, we did it in 1 hour and 13 minutes and to be honest I got VERY little cardio workout.  I could easily talk the entire time and never felt winded.  Yes, I could have had a better workout ... but it felt awesome to be in that good of shape that this felt easy.

I think the hardest part was the climb down.  That sure uses completely different muscles and I definitely felt that.  It was OK coming down, and even the next 24 hours I felt pretty good.  But starting yesterday and still today, my calves are screaming at me and my quads are a little tender too.  Wearing heeled boots today probably wasn't a wise decision. ;)

Don't mind the blob, my friend wasn't
comfortable with her face showing.

We were soaked, but it was fantastic!  This was just part 1 of a VERY enjoyable weekend.

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Friday, October 8, 2010

Another Weekend of Great Plans

Kinda the same ol' thing going on around here these days. 

Wed - 4 miles at the track including running stairs.  Wasn't really feeling it and couldn't face speedwork.  Had good company though and enjoyed myself which is always #1 mission.

Thu - 5 miles through a subdivision.  Got to see another cool filming set.  No idea what they're filming.  That kills me because I'm super nosey (it's a genetic disorder).  Whatever it was it's Halloween themed based upon the overkill decorations.  OK, really I'm jealous.  I want them to come decorate my house like that!

The rain is definitely coming in this weekend (BOO!).  Starting pretty heavy tonight and expecting 50 mm (almost 2 inches!!!) tomorrow.  Oh well, I still plan to be out in it.  My plans this weekend include:
  • Possibly swimming tonight!  REALLY?  I'm not a swimming kind of girl, but I'm being talked into trying it as a workout.  Grrr, hahaha, we'll see how it goes.  I know it's a good, effective workout, I just don't think it's my thing.  I'll give it an honest shot anyway.
  • Tackling this beast - the Grouse Grind.  I'm not aiming for any time goals this time.  After doing it in 50 minutes last year, I'm satisfied with that for now.  The people I'm going with aren't quite as fit as me and I'll probably just hang with them and enjoy it.  I REALLY hope we don't get the rain they are calling for.  That would be nasty.  Maybe it will hold of just half a day longer - puh-lease!!!
  • Hopefully finally getting those fall decorations up.  It's been all work & play lately, which I'm not complaining about, but a few decorations would make me happy.  Here's a few from my MIL, who lives next door.  Her display is way nicer than mine will be, but at least I can enjoy it whenever I want.

  • Greeting a friend and her daughters from Germany who are coming to stay with us for a couple weeks.  Last time she was here was just after my daughter was born and I hadn't lost an ounce of baby weight.  In the often typical German way, she commented on my weight increase (and to be fair hers too as she had recently had a baby as well).  I shouldn't be, but I admit that I'm a little anxious of what she might say this time.  There are a few people in my life who ALWAYS comment on my weight - up or down.  Even when I'm feeling good about myself I get a bit anxious wondering what they will come up with.  Usually it's not in a rude way, it's just they are very observant and open. They're just always the first to notice change. 
  • Having a massive Turkey dinner - YUM!  We're cooking two birds - a 15 lb and a 20 lb. for about 14-18 people.  I a roast turkey and would enjoy one at least once a month, or more.  My family however isn't in to it so much.  Boo!  I always skip things like potatoes because there are so many other, healthier choices to choose from.  My one big indulgence is cheese sauce, which I make with 1% milk and no more than 1 tsp of butter.  I spice it up with cayenne & black pepper, paprika and a bit of lemon juice.  MmmMmmmMmmmmmmm!!!!!!
  • Running a race!  My friend had an extra entry and is taking me along.  YIPPEE!  It's a 10K and I don't expect to PR.  This is probably the first race that I don't have any goals set for.  I just want to have fun.
What's something exciting you are looking forward to this weekend? 

Have a great one!

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Clean Bill of Health

Last week I had a bunch of blood tests done and yesterday I got the results.
  • Glucose - Good
  • Iron - Good
  • Thyroid - Good
  • Hormone Levels - Good
  • Cholesterol - Good 
Yippee!  A few years ago (before I lost weight, started eating healthier and began exercising regularly), my cholesterol levels were still within the normal range, but climbing.  I was warned I was borderline high and to make some changes.  I'd love to say that this was the thing that prompted me to change my lifestyle - but it wasn't solely.  It did however sit on my mind and has since become a driving force.  I'd hate to think of where I'd be 5-10 or 20 years from now if I had not changed my habits.

I must admit that I was a bit afraid that after all the changes I've made, that I wouldn't see any improvement.  This was a big relief!  I now feel confident that I am living a healthy lifestyle and have made changes that will serve me well in the years to come.

One of the changes, was really highlighted for me last week.  As we're living on such a budget lately, we have been using up as much food in our cupboards, fridge & freezer as possible and limiting shopping trips.  However, the produce doesn't last as long as necessary and I recently found myself with pretty much nothing fresh in that department.

Last week I hit up the produce stand and YUMMMMO, it was like Christmas for me.  I ate 3 pieces of fruit on the way home and then followed it with a massive stir-fry.  There was more than this, I didn't photograph it all.

My body was craving fresh produce!  It's hard to imagine people (like my son) who doesn't each much of this.  I hate to go without.

Tonight is some speedwork at the track.  I can't say I'm truly looking forward to it, but the benefits of it are my prize.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday's Run

I eluded yesterday that Sunday's run was pretty rockin' ... and that it was.

My original plan was to run 9 miles.  My normal running group didn't come out (I think one girl has an injury, not sure about the others), but my husband came along, as well as my new running friend and her husband (who despises running, but runs with her occassionally just so they do things together - cute huh?).  My husband is nursing a nagging injury this week and wasn't sure how much he was going to run.  He said he would try, but also brought along his bike just in case. 

We all started out together, walking & yakking too long - but it was fun.  Eventually we started to run.  The new running friend is just getting back into shape so her pace is a bit slow for me (for now, she'll catch up quick), but I decided to run the first mile along with them because I was enjoying the company.  After that, hubby and I ventured ahead on our own.

We kept the pace a little slower than usual and we're feeling pretty good.  But my hubby said that he didn't think he had 9 miles in his leg today.  I was feeling a little bummed out that I wouldn't get in what I had planned.

When we got to the turn around point I said to him "Why don't you stretch for a bit and I'm going to do a little extra loop".  That worked out well.  I had more than enough energy and was feeling really good.  As it was, someone in the parking lot was lost and as he helped the guy find his way, I got in another extra loop. YAYYY!

Around mile 6 I decided to try something new.  My friend had given me a couple of sample packs she had laying around.  First out came the Clif Shot Energy Gel in RAZZ.  Hubby and I were going to split it.

REVIEW:  Ummmmmm, ICK!  I seriously don't know how some people enjoy these things.  Nasty stuff!  I had a little then gave it to my hubby.  He had a tiny bit and nearly threw it at me.  I did chuck back the rest because I wanted to see how it affected me.  But really, I can't see myself trying this again.  Maybe another flavour or brand - but this one was gross.  My friend said if she never has to swallow another energy gel product in her life again, it will be a good life.  After years of having them she developed a gag reflex to them.  Nice!
Thankfully she had also given me a pack of Clif Luna Moons in Blueberry to try.

REVIEW:  Ahhhhhh, so much better!  We only had two moons each, to get rid of the nasty aftertaste from the gel.  I've had a product like this before and didn't enjoy the chewing and gummy bits all stuck in my teeth while running.  This time I chewed a little then basically just swallowed.  It gave me a little taste which my mouth needed, then just got it into my body as needed without sticking all over my teeth.  I'd be apt to use these again.

Did I notice a difference in energy after having these products?  No ... but I also didn't fade out at all.  It was also almost perfect running weather, so who knows.  I'll keep trying things and see how it goes.

The extra loops at the turn around gave me enough that I would finish the trail at about 8 miles.  Still less than I'd planned but not bad.  When I got to the end my husband was just ahead of me, as were my friends as they had run less distance.  They were all stretching out.  I was at 7.8 miles and just couldn't leave it at that, so kept going onto the road.  I don't like finishing a run on an odd number ... is that weird?

I got to the 8 miles and noticed the rest of the group had just started walking back to the coffee shop.  I figured I could get another 1/2 mile in before they wandered back there.  When I finally got to the coffee shop I was at 8.6 miles, and my husband was just ordering, so I barked out my order to him and went off to finish up the whole 9 miles.

So the 9 miles that wasn't to be, became the 9 miles that was.

And afterwards, other than feeling a bit tired from a very full weekend ... I felt great.  Not an ounce of muscle soreness, no pain.  I feel great!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fun, Oh Fun!

Oh what a WONDERFUL weekend!

I had so much fun this weekend, and am utterly exhausted.  Friday was a pretty relaxing evening as I met up with a friend for tea and chit-chat.  Always love our time together, and a relaxing evening was just what I needed.  Will have to do more of this ... soon.

Saturday was a bit of a thriller!  My new running friend has done a couple of Ironman competitions before and she just happens to have an extra road bike ... and is about my height.  My husband and I went out riding with her and her husband on Saturday.  I have NEVER ridden a road bike before.  A mountain bike, yes, plenty of times ... but never a road bike.  And this one had the clip in pedals (which I swore I would never use).

We get there and first thing I get told is that my red tank on her completely color-coordinated yellow bike just will not do.  I'm given a yellow bike jersey to wear.  And my baby blue Walmart special helmet is also a no-no.  I even had to be given a yellow ponytail holder for my hair.  Too funny!  Luckily I was just able to squeeze into her biking shoes.

Next comes the lesson about how to clip into and out of the pedals.  I felt like such a tool.  For the first 5-10 minutes I could NOT get into those things and had to be helped in.  But eventually I got in a couple times and she said it was time for a trial run.  We wheeled around her neighborhood a few times learning how to clip and unclip, changing gears, how to drink from the fancy water bottle (yes, it's a skill) and a few other things.

No this isn't me.  No, the bike wasn't quite this fancy. 
But see that straw thingy there in the handlebars?  That's the water bottle.  Nifty, eh?

Then we were off!  There was the three of us on these tri bikes and my poor husband on a regular mountain bike.  We're all in color coordinated gear and at least look professional and he's wearing just basic shorts, t-shirt and his Walmart special helmet.  But he was a trooper.  Had I just gone with the other two on their road bikes I probably would not have realized how different it was in speed from my mountain bike.  I can ride pretty decent, but do struggle to keep up with my husband.  But with him on his mountain bike, riding as hard as he can, nearly busting a gut ... I was just cruising along like a casual Sunday stroll with minimal effort.  He estimates we rode 30-40 Km.  I would have guessed about 15 by the effort, though we did cover a lot of area.

I am DEFINITELY interested in one day getting a nice road bike.  Sadly it will have to wait a while, but before I kind of thought I might one day want one ... now I KNOW I want one.  So much fun.

And I was deeply honoured to find out afterwards that she has NEVER let anyone ride that bike before and she is extremely protective of it.  I am so thankful that she did though.  I was just told that if I was going to tip over for any reason to put myself between the bike and the road - hahahhaa. :)

Tomorrow I'll share about how today's run went.  Here's a clue ...

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome October!

I always love the beginning of a new month.  There's just this "renewed" feeling.  It's also a good time to look back on what was accomplished the previous month.

September was my first full month following my mileage build-up plan.  I started it late August.  And, other than one week where I got a really bad cold where breathing was beyond difficult, I am very happy to say I followed it.

Even with the one week off, I ran 71 miles (114Km) in just under 11 hours.  I'm quite pleased with that and look forward to doing more this month.

October's plan has me running over 100 miles.  As well, I'm taking part in Syl's Challenge to do 20 minutes (or more) of exercise per day.  Most days I do this, but there is the odd day where I laze out.  I think as part of this I will also be taking on the challenge that Marcelle followed last month to do 200 sit-ups, 4 sets x 10 push-ups and 4 sets x 12 tricep dips every day.  Those are muscles that surely need some work.  Just completed day 1 of that ... at work, on my office floor - hahaha.
Last night I did 5.3 miles at a very easy pace.  Ran by a movie crew filming which was kinda cool - lots of old cars and all set up to be very fall-like.  After speed work the day before my legs were feeling heavy.  But I like the challenge of running on very tired legs, they always feel better at the end.  Today is supposed to be a running rest day, although I am considering running to a friends house for tea after work and leave Saturday as a rest day from running before I tackle 9 miles this weekend!

This weekend I will also tackle putting up the fall/Halloween decorations.  We used to have a big Halloween party every year.  I sure miss that. :(  But I still enjoy the decorations anyway.

Have a great weekend!