Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in the bag, almost

Usually at this time of year, I look back at my year, celebrate my accomplishments and set goals for the future, but I dunno, it doesn't seem like it's been that good of a year (ooh that's bad English isn't it??!!), as far as training and racing has been concerned. I guess I worked pretty hard for the first six months up until my half iron, and then somehow, in the second half of the year, I slacked off a bunch, took it easy, ran a bunch of races for the fun of it, trained when I felt like it, let myself gain 5 lbs and stay there( where my body seems to like to be...)  But is that a bad thing, or a good thing?  Hmmm...

So I did some races:

March 27, 2011 - Okanagan College Half Marathon - 2:13:49, PR
May 15, 2011 - Oliver Sprint Triathlon - 1:30:41, 2nd AG
June 5, 2011 - Oliver Half Iron  - 6:57:53, PR
July 9, 2011 - Osoyoos Half Iron Relay - 2k swim - 49:28 
July 31, 2011 - San Francisco Half Marathon - 2:26:39
August 21, 2011 - Kelowna Apple Sprint Triathlon - 1:31:21
October 9, 2011 - Okanagan 10K (BMO Okanagan Marathon) - 58:20 (1st 10k)
November 27, 2011 - Ginger Jar Historic 10k - 1:08:51 (injured calf) 

...actually more races than I thought, now that I see them cut and pasted here. The only two I'm really proud of are my half marathon on March 27 and my half iron on June 5.  All the rest of them were sub-par as far as times were concerned.  That being said, I was always content with doing those races for fun, wasn't I?

So when I think about it - I'm more than happy with my year. I must say I really enjoyed the 'fun' races - less pressure, less worry about a PR, more focus on fun and fitness.  I think my true 'triathlete personality' may lean more toward a @trifunster than a super hardcore tri chick. :)


As far as my training is concerned, I definitely did less biking and swimming than last year, but I did more running. Let me go drag up the stats for 2011 and see how they compare to previous years. I don't keep very good track of some workouts such as strength, yoga, walking etc. The only ones I record faithfully are swim, bike, and run.

2011 Totals  - about 180 hrs S, B, R

70h 48m 50s
1699.06 KM
100h 45m 05s
871.45 KM
8h 57m 07s
20750 M
13h 25m
Core Training:
2h 20m
Elliptical Training:
3h 20m
Rowing: 1h 10m
Skate Skiing: 3h 30m
2h 50m
1h 30m
8h 50m
4h 25 min

2010 Totals - about 234 hrs S, B, R

100h 50m 17s
2366.49 KM
88h 00m 43s
690.33 KM
45h 37m 53s
96600 M
6h 05m
Core Training:
1h 30m
Elliptical Training:
8h 50m
2h 15m
2h 00m
1h 10m
Skate Skiing:
7h 45m
1h 30m
7h 50m

2009 Totals - about 188 hrs S, B, R

102h 06m 13s
2152.08 KM
65h 42m 47s
502.33 KM
20h 10m
41250 M
9h 52m
Core Training:
2h 20m
Elliptical Training:
4h 03m
2h 00m
2h 25m 29s
1h 42m
Stationary Biking :
1h 15m
5h 50m

2008 Totals - about 216 hrs S, B, R

117h 51m 59s
2743.65 KM
62h 18m 13s
508.07 KM
36h 38m 01s
64450.00 M
26h 35m
24h 05m
2007 Totals - about 173 hrs (S) B, R
155h 13m 29s
3472.71 KM
18h 04m 02s
156.36 KM
3h 00m
3h 35m

So what will 2012 hold for me? I guess we'll have to wait and see. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Running, a fever

Well, that flu bug really kicked my ass.  I was down for the count with fever, congestion, headache, body aches, cough, and a rash all over my body last weekend.  I stayed home from work on Monday, but reluctantly went back to work on Tuesday once my fever was gone because we had Christmas concert rehearsals and I felt I needed to be there.  I was exhausted all week at work, and went to bed as soon as I got home every night. Somehow I survived the week though and now I'm on a two week break until January 3rd. Yay!

Today, I went out for my first run in 3 weeks and for the most part, I felt ok.  I'm still hacking up a lung and my chest felt kind of tight when I was running so I took it easy and ran slow.  My calf felt really good for the first 15 minutes, and then it started to tighten up so I ran a little more and then walked the last few minutes home.  I iced the calf and put on my Zensah calf sleeve (I ran in it too). I'm REALLY hoping it's going to be ok as  get back to running and start to build up my miles again in time for marathon training in January. (Crossing everything.)

Tomorrow I plan to go to the gym - I have about half my normal energy but I figure I can do an hour at the gym if I don't push too hard.  We'll see.

PS On a brighter note - I lost 3 lbs while I was sick - hardly ate anything at all.  Hoping I can keep it off during the Christmas break. Hmmm....

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Quick Update

The week after my last, upbeat and optimistic blog post on November 6, I had a fairly crappy running week - I didn't manage my long run on November 13th because everything hurt, and I found it tough to run longer than 30 minutes for the next 3 runs that week. I ran a few times on the treadmill at the gym the following week because of snow and ice and then focussed on my 10k race in Vancouver the following weekend.

On Sunday, November 27, I did the Ginger Jar Historic 10k race around the Stanley Park Seawall.  You can read the full race report here, on Daily Mile, but the short version is that I ran an awesome 9k at a potential PR pace, pulled my calf muscle, and walked/limped the last km in. :)

The next days were recovery from the mild calf strain - icing for 72 hours, heat and stretching for the days following. I tried a 1km run 10 days after the race, but it began to tighten up again so I stopped.

This past week, I had some ART done to my calf and the chiro gave me the all clear to try an easy run this weekend. Unfortunately, I came down with a bad cold/flu bug on Thursday and have been laid up in bed for several days.

When I do get back to running, I will be well rested. :)

On a slightly brighter note, I have been making better progress at getting to the gym to do my strength training. I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be, but I'm getting better at it.

 So that's it - short and sweet.  I'll try to post again later this week.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A New Month

Long time, no see - I bin bizzy....  :D

So, where did we last leave off?

Healthy Eating

I haven't lost any weight but I haven't gained any weight either - so that's a good thing. I've been eating vegetarian at least 4 days a week and other than the glut of halloween candy, I'm doing fairly well with eating in general. Always room for improvement though.

Core Strength Training 

I still pretty much suck at being consistent at this so far.  I've done a solid session at the gym for the last two Saturdays, including some cardio in the pool, rowing, or the bike at the gym. However, as I continue to struggle with getting a decent sleep, I find it difficult to do any kind of workout after school.  My plan is (was) to go to the gym after work on the days I don't run but every week, something has blocked me - either a 3-4 hour sleep the night before, a late meeting, or too many errands.  I will continue to work on this.


Over the past three weeks, I've had some real success with running. 

* I've run 3 times a week, for 3 weeks

* I've been able to do some hilly routes on my week day routes without feeling injured the next day.

* I've built up to running 9-12km every Sunday and I'm now at the point where I don't feel like my legs are lead for the half the run.

Here's what I ran for the past 3 weeks

Oct. 17-23 > Tues 30 min, Fri 30 min, Sun 60 min  (17.7 km)

Oct. 24-30 > Wed 35 min, Fri 45 min, Sun 75 min  (22.2 km)

Nov 1-6    > Tues 45 min, Fri 58 min, Sun 75 min  (26.8 km)

Marathon Plans

I've been looking around at a lot of marathon training plans, primarily at the long runs.  There are many options out there.  I don't want to be coached for this - I find I have to keep asking coaches to change things - it's easier for me to tweak a plan myself. I generally don't have any trouble with having the self-discipline to do the runs (not  true for other training tho).

Things I'm looking for:

* Running only 3 days a week, with cross training on alternate days
* Slow build of the long run with plenty of recovery weeks
* A possibility of some hill work because Vancouver marathon has some hills
* Adjustable to my life, snow/ice, work, and my breakable body

I have found a few plans out there that fit the bill but the other day I was chatting with Stuart from the Quadrathon Podcast (which I happen to be co-hosting for the next little while - check it out!) and he was telling me a little about the Furman FIRST program which he has successfully followed a few times.

I remember looking at it in the past  and being concerned that the three fairly challenging runs per week might be too much for me. However, given that I can now successfully run hills without having to walk, and I've managed to recover from my last two races without injury, I think perhaps I might be ready to try a modified version of the Furman program.

My Current Plan

Right now, my plan is to run 45 min twice a week, at least once with hills, and then run 1:15 every Sunday until mid December. I want to get my legs used to running that distance (about 25-30 km per week) and feel good doing it.

I am going to run a fun 10k race at the end of November, and treat it like a mid-long tempo run. Then I plan to start my marathon training on this base.

The Furman plan calls for 3 key runs per week.

Tues - Track workout with 400m - 1600m repeats

Thurs - Tempo run of some sort with warm up and cool down

Sun - Long run (usually marathon pace plus 5-40 sec per km - it varies)

I am basing my paces on a conservative 27:30 5km time.

It gives me a marathon pace of 6:21/km (10:13 mile)

Don't get my wrong, I'm not expecting to be able to run a full marathon at that pace, but that's the training numbers I will use, so long as I am feeling ok. Most of the long runs are based on this pace plus a number of seconds per km.

Short Tempo - 5:21/km  (8:36 mile)

Mid Tempo - 5:41/km (9:08 mile)

Long Tempo - 5:59/km (9:37 mile)

I know I can do the long run at those paces, and I tried the tempo run on Friday and felt ok. I think I'll probably skip the track workout until I've got lots of endurance, assuming I'm not teetering on injury.

I also plan to stretch out the 16 week plan over 20 weeks with a few repeat weeks and recovery weeks thrown in for good measure. I want to build up a bit slower than they suggest.

Should be interesting....


* I'm not sure how to do specific paces when I'm running hills.

* I'm not sure how to keep to specific paces when I'm running on snow or ice in the winter.

When in doubt, I'll go by my Heart Rate. :)

I guess I'll figure it out as I go. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

End of Week Three

Yeah, ok, so I gave up on the halfhearted daily blogging attempt.  Once a week will have to do. So - how was my week you ask?  Well it was pretty darn good actually.  I ran three times, and I ate meatless meals three times.  Yay me...


My run after school on Tuesday was pretty miserable, mainly because I'm on my feet all day and my legs are toast by the time I get home.  When I started my run, my legs were telling me to pack it in early, but then I decided to pretend it was the last 30 minutes of a marathon, and suddenly my legs didn't feel so bad after all. It seriously worked, haha, got to remember that one.

I was busy Thursday and really didn't want to run after dinner so I got up at 6 am on Friday morning and went for a run before my workshop.  It was just another 30 minute easy run, but it was ok.  I ran in the dark so I had my headlamp and red flasher, and I had to bundle up because it was cold.  I enjoyed being out in the cold and the dark though - I'm weird that way.

Saturday, I didn't have anything planned so I decided to go to the gym.  Erik agreed to come along and that got me motivated to swim.  I swam 1000m in 25 minutes, then changed and went up to the gym to do a core and strength workout for 25 minutes, and followed that with another 20 minutes of cardio on the bike.  What a productive day!

Today, I went for my 'long' run - one hour easy Zone 2 pace - and felt better than I have in a LONG time. I resisted the urge to pick up the pace, and tried to focus on my goal of building endurance.  Overall, I'm happy to say I got through the week without hurting and my shin pain seems to have (mostly) disappeared. 

The only #FAIL for the week was that I did not do my planned Core/Strength workouts on Monday and Wednesday. I was really tired and mostly just lazy. However, now that I had a successful workout on Saturday, I think I can get back into the habit again.

Healthy Eating Front

I made a few new recipes this week.  One day I made "Yummy Black Bean, Brown Rice, Swiss Chard Mess" when the boys were having leftover chicken.  Another day I had mushroom/onions/tomatoes on a bun when the boys have burgers. I made a batch of hummus and ate lots of fresh fruit and veggies as well as my soup at work this week. On Friday, I was at a workshop that had delicious lunch served so I enjoyed myself and ate what I wanted and when I got home, I made a big batch of the soup she had served - the recipe for Spicy Sweet Potato Soup is on my blog as well.  On Friday night, Erik and I shared a rib eye, a baguette, and a bottle of red wine.

So - that must be why I've gone through the whole week eating relatively healthy but not losing a single pound.  Maybe I just need to eat LESS healthy food.... ??

Plan for the Coming Week

Mon - Upper Body / Core
Tues - Run 30-45 min easy
Wed - Lower Body / Core
Thur - Run 30-45 min with hills
Fri - day off
Sat - Gym workout, swim, row?
Sun - Long run 1:15

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Day 11-16 Catchup

Another week has gone by - time to take stock and analyze how well I met my goals.


This one is pretty easy. My goal was simply to recover from my race and I knew that would likely take most of the week.  My legs were pretty sore for 3-4 days and my shins continued to hurt right until the weekend so I didn't bother running until Saturday.  I went out for a run Saturday morning, hoping to get in 30-45 minutes around the neighbourhood.  My right shin was still kind of tight and sore but not enough to deter me. I actually felt good enough to run the hills in the area and did just under 8km in 50 minutes. I ran up every hill except for the end of one steep one. I also did a lot of stretching throughout the week.

Healthy Eating

It was nice to have meals planned and fruit/veggies and snacks prepared in advance for the week. 

I ate breakfast twice out of four mornings - ok I need to work on that some more. 

I switched to decaf tea during the school day.  That went well.

I ate with the boys all week instead of eating meat alternates. However, I tried to make healthy food for them and I practiced portion control.

I ate crap too often.  Someone brought doughnuts to work one day. Another day, there were Girl Guide cookies.

I still eat too much over all and I didn't eat enough veggies at dinner time.

My favourites this week were:

Homemade Fruit/Nut Bars

Homemade Spicy Sweet Potato fries. I eat these cold for lunch all week. YUM!

Next Week

Monday - lower body strength, and core
Tuesday - run 30-45 min after work
Wednesday - upper body strength and core
Thursday - run 30-45 min after work
Friday - core, lower body if I'm not sore or rest day
Saturday - core, lower body if I'm not sore or rest day
Sunday - run 1 hour

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 10 - Race Recovery, and Following Through

Well, today I'm feeling stiff and sore  - hamstrings, calves, shins... I guess I ran a race yesterday. :)   I don't think I'll feel ready to run until Thursday and that's ok. Today I just took it easy and did lots of stretching and that's about it.

Following Through

Although today us Monday, it's Thanksgiving holiday so I have the day off. I took the time to get organized for the week ahead and try to be proactive and remove any barriers that might stand in my way of healthy eating (see my blog post Day 6, 7, 8).

* My menu planning is done for the week, as is the shopping.

* I plan to eat meat with the boys 2 nights and have meat alternates on 2 nights.

* I cleaned and cut up a bunch of raw veggies for my lunches and snacks this week.

* I have yogurt for breakfasts.

* I have lots of fruit in the house.

* I made a batch of fruit, nut, seed bars for after school snacks (recipe is here).

* I boiled some eggs for lunchtime protein.

* I have a pot of veggie soup ready to take to work this week.

* I'm going to try drinking tea this week instead of coffee to cut back on caffeine.

* I have my water bottle packed to take to school.

I think that's it.  Now to execute the plan.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Day 9 - Okanagan 10k Race

I had a plan and I stuck with it! Yay!

This was my first 10km race and I had no idea what I could do but I was kind of hoping to be under an hour. My previous fastest 10km training run was around 1:04 I think. There was no way to find out except to get out there and do it.

Pre Race, Weather and Gear

I got up around 6am and had half cup coffee and a banana. Erik was still deciding if he was going to be able to race or not but his back was feeling better this morning so we were hoping for the best.

It was mostly cloudy with a hope of some sun, about 10C as we left the house and got up to a high of about 14C by the end of the race with a few rain sprinkles now and again. I decided to wear my tights and a LS tech shirt instead of my warmer jersey, and in the end, I even decided against the vest and my headband. I probably could have worn shorts and even a short sleeve shirt but I was not uncomfortable.

I taped up my right ankle and shin quite well with KT Tape and thought my legs were feeling pretty good this morning. I was optimistic I'd have a decent race.

As usual, I took my handheld water bottle with half a Nuun tablet and I had a chocolate Hammer gel to take 15 minutes before the race, mainly because I don't eat much breakfast. 

We left the house around 7:10am, parked in the Chapman Parkade, and walked 2 blocks to the race start. I hit the porto-potties twice (as usual) but the lines were not bad at all.  We checked our gear and got to the race start line.  Erik went ahead to the :50 pace group and I positioned myself just behind the 1:00 pace group.  It was narrow and crowded in the chute and it took me 30 seconds to reach the starting line but once we were on the road, it was fine.

The Plan:

Run first 2km at 6:15km
Run next 6km at 5:45/km
Run 2km whatever I can do but keep it under 6:00/km.
Goal time: 59:45

The Race

Once we hit the road, there was a huge ability spread amongst the runners and I did not really feel much pressure to run too fast. That being said, I wasn't able to stay at 6:15 as planned, but I figured I was close enough, and my HR was in zone 2 for those two warm up kms.

(FYI - 6:15/km = 10 min mile,  6:00/km = 9:39 mile. 5:45/km = 9:15 mile)

My Splits:
1km - 6:03
2km - 6:09
3km - 5:38
4km - 5:45
5km - 5:43 (5 km split time - 29:18)
6km - 5:48
7km - 5:47
8km - 5:51
9km - 5:43
10km - 5:32 (2nd 5km was 28:45 - neg split)
extra .05km - :15

My Times

Chip time: 58:20  <--yahoo!!!
Gun Time: 58:57

My Stats

288/706 overall
135/422 women
10/63 age group (50-59)  (WOW, I was really happy to be in the top ten for this age group!)

I'm so happy with my result - I felt good and strong and was able to keep on going even when it got tough for the last 3-4 km.

My heart rate was in zone 2 for first 2km, then zone 3, 4, 5 for the last 8 km. I think my pacing plan went well for this race. If I was better trained, I could probably go out harder from the beginning but for today, I was happy to be able to negative split the race and finish strong and fast.

I figure if I was able to actually train for a 10k race, I'd be able to come closer to 55 minutes. Erik wants us to go to Vancouver and do a 10k race around the seawall at the end of November so if we do, maybe I can improve my time.

I'd post about Erik's race, but maybe it would be better if we push him to blog about it himself. :)  Email him at to give him a little encouragement. :)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 6, 7, 8....

On Thursday and Friday, all I did was stretch.  My shins are still a little sore and I am really tired so I haven't done much more than that as I lead up to my first 10k race on Sunday.  On Thursday, I got home from work, lay down for a few minutes and fell dead asleep.  Luckily, my son woke be up within half an hour or I probably would have been down for the count.  Friday, we went out for dinner and again, I was really tired.  Today, my plan is to loosen up my legs and stretch.  I'm holding off on the strength and core work until after my race.

Healthy Eating Battle

I am still struggling with healthy eating. I do really well in the beginning of the week, but start to fall apart as the week wears on when I run out of energy and food for healthy meals. On Thursday night, I woke up after my nap and ordered a pizza for the boys and I, then on Friday night, we went out to Original Joes where I had fish tacos. I have still not managed to solve my issues.

I guess what I need to do is look at the reasons I fall apart, and find solutions.


Problem One - Sometimes I am too tired to think about what to make for dinner and/or I don't have the ingredients for a healthy meal.

Solution - Take 20 minutes to plan a WEEK's worth of dinners every Sunday.  Shop for the ingredients I need on Sunday (when I have time and energy). Continue to make my big pot of soup for my weekday lunches. Pre-cut veggies for a quick easy snack.


Problem Two - The boys often want to eat tastier, less healthy stuff, and it's sometimes tiring to make two meals. Not all meals are easily converted to healthy.  If we have tacos, I can make mine meatless and can have a taco salad instead of using a wrap, but other times, it's not so easy.  Also, if I'm really hungry, I'd much rather eat (and taste) the unhealthy version.  I can eat healthy if the bad food's not around but I have lousy self-discipline when bad food is available.

Solution - When planning the week's meals, choose foods that have an easy meatless or healthy option so there's not a lot of extra work in making myself a healthier choice when I'm feeding the boys.


Problem Three - I'm not eating breakfast lately. I drink a cup of coffee in the morning and that takes the edge off my hunger so I don't even notice I'm not eating. Then I sip on my thermos of coffee all morning at work so I never really get hungry.  I know that in theory, not eating breakfast is a bad thing, although it's not like I'm overeating at lunch because of it....

Solution -  Be sure to plan the breakfasts as well when I'm doing the meal planning for the week. I have several easy-to-eat breakfasts that I enjoy. I just need to follow through.


Problem Four - Since fall began, I seem to have stopped drinking water. I have my water bottle on my desk, but I'm not sipping on it all day long like I normally do.

Solution - Add ice to my bottle (I drink more water if it's really cold) and take a glass up to my room. Make myself drink a glass of water before I'm allowed to pour coffee from my thermos into my cup.


Problem Five - I'm hungry after school, and/or REALLY hungry when I get home from work, then I make poor food choices.

Solution -  Bring healthy snacks to school and have them handy at all times. 


The Race Plan

Today, I picked up my race packet (#2958) for tomorrow morning's the race. I'm pretty low key about it - I just love the race atmosphere and I am enjoying racing for fun.  My shins have been sore since my hard-ish run last Sunday - what else is new - but I know if I stay off my feet, I'll be ok for tomorrow.  I think sub-60 minutes is going to be a stretch so I'm ok if I don't meet that goal, as long as I do my best.

The biggest challenge is going to be to start off slower than the rest of the crowd.  However, some of the 10kers are walking so it won't be as bad as the half marathon last March.  There should be enough people who run slower than me to make me able to keep to my planned paces.

My goal is to run the first 2 km at 6:15/km, then the next 6km at 5:45/km, then try to keep to under 6 min km for the last 2 km - depending on how I feel.

As a side note, Erik was painting earlier this week and put his back out (again).  He's still at the 'hard-to-walk-without-pain' stage and it's difficult to say if he'll actually be running tomorrow or not.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Race Time: 8:15 am

Goal time: 59:45-65:00 minutes

Expected weather: Partly cloudy but dry, 5-8 C (mid 40's F)

Gear: Tights, Sugoi mid zero zip LS jersey, hat, Newtons, headband to cover ears.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 5 - Happy World Teachers' Day!

Well, maybe not so happy.  More threats of the government legislating us back to work, and/or legislating a contract. Argh.

Running away from it all

I got home from work, totally exhausted today.  I knew I had said I would run but my legs were feeling really tired and I considered skipping it.  I sat in front of the computer for awhile, getting caught up with the news of the day, and then saw BMO Vancouver Marathon tweet the new course for May 6, 2012.
The new course looks very pretty and although it has a couple of long, fairly low hills (2% grade) there are lots of flat sections and downhills along the beautiful waterfront of Vancouver. It looks doable. I think.

So then I thought, if I'm planning on signing up for a spring marathon, I'd better get out and do my little run right now. So I did. My legs were still feeling heavy, stiff, and achey but I ignored them (shut up legs a la Jens Voigt) and I went for a short run with a few one minute walk breaks thrown in for good measure. I stopped after 25 minutes because my ankle was starting to hurt too much and I didn't want to risk injury so close to my race.

10C, 50F, almost dark, light rain - lovely weather for running actually. I wore shorts, my merino wool t-shirt and my awesome Sugoi Versa jacket, a head band to cover my ears, and my hat. If I'd run any longer, I would have taken the sleeves off my jacket.

So, not all that impressive - only 25 minutes, about 3.3 km I think - whatever. At least I ran. And now I'm going to rest my legs until Sunday. My plan for the next 3 days is stretching and yoga - that's it.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 4 - Playing it Smart

Well, I got home from work, got into my running gear, headed out for my run, ran 200m, turned around and came home.

It was a toss up to run today or tomorrow, but as soon as I got out there, I could feel the tension in my shins so I opted to wait until tomorrow for my run.

Plan A had been to run easy Tuesday and Thursday, before my race on Sunday. Plan B was to run only Wednesday.  I guess I'm going with Plan B so I'm in top shape on Sunday. My body always needs to be well rested before a race.

In lieu of running, I did 30 minutes of yoga and stretching. Tomorrow will be an easy run and upper body/core work like I did yesterday.


I am facing a great deal of stress at work right now and it's been mentally exhausting. We are in the midst of job action (work to rule) and there is news coming out daily about how that is all going to play out. I am increasingly frustrated with the government, the media, and the general public in their lack of knowledge and subsequent lack of support for teachers and our education system.

Then yesterday, the government announced sweeping changes to our education system that would rely completely on further gutting of our collective agreement. Not surprisingly, they appear to be planning to legislate these changes, rather than negotiate them. I feel sick just thinking about it. No wonder I can't sleep at night...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Day Three - Monday, what can I say?

I had an awful sleep again last but I seemed to feel pretty good most of the day despite the lack of sleep. My glutes are still sore from Saturday's workout and Sunday's run, so I tonight I rested my glutes and did some core and upper body work, followed by a good stretch, yoga style.

10 knee pushups
20 crunches
20 bike crunches
15 knee pushups
20 crunches
20 bike crunches
20 knee pushups
20 crunches
20 bike crunches

Then some stretching: calves, ITB, glutes, piriformis, upper back and shoulders.

That be all.  I need some sleep and I want to do an short easy run tomorrow after work.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day Two - Long(ish) Run

So far so good, I'm still on track.

Today the plan was to run 10 km.  My plan was to run 3 km as a warm up  (6:30/ km ~10:30 mile), then 5 km at 10k race pace (under 6:00/km <10 min mile), and then cool down for the last two km.

Feeling Chipper This Morning

I felt pretty good when I got up - I've had some awful sleeps this week and I think I finally managed to catch up a bit on Friday/Saturday night. My hip flexors and glutes were feeling a little stiff and sore from my workout yesterday - I tried to go easy but I guess it wasn't easy enough. They seemed to be ok on my run though, thankfully.

I had a cup of coffee and a pear for breakfast and took an espresso Hammer gel before I left as fuel for my run. Erik and I drove down to Gyro beach to park and we ran along Abbott and into City Park, then back to the car. (He ran his pace and I ran mine.)

It was partly cloudy and about 13-14C (55-57F) so I wore my tri shorts and a tech t-shirt.  I felt a bit cool at the start but decided against my vest. I ran with my 20 oz hand held bottle and a Nuun tablet and drank about half of it.

The Run
I kept to my planned paces quite closely, even though my Garmin pace seemed to wander all over the place while I was running. I went partly by pace and partly by heart rate, being in Zone 2 for the warm up and in high Zone 3 for the middle 5 km  (14 min were into Zone 4).

The big unknown was what kind of pace I'd keep for the middle 5km - I wanted to be under a 6 min/km but wasn't sure how much under.  In the end, I averaged about 5:45-5:50/km (9:15 mile) so I'm really happy with that. I felt good for the first 4 km but the last km was painful and I could feel my form falling apart. My HR was starting to climb into Zone 4 at this point and my avg HR for the last 3 km of that section was 170 bpm. When I finished that race pace segment, I walked for one minute and then jogged for the last 2 km, at about a 6:30/km.

Overall, I felt really good on this run. My shins, feet, and ankle all felt ok and I was quite happy that I didn't seem to having any of the usual lasting effects after my faster hilly run last Tuesday. I stretched and iced when I got home and now, later in the evening, I am felling pretty stiff and sore (glutes mainly).

Race Plan for Sunday

However, I don't think I'm going to be able to hold that 5:45/km (9:15 mile) pace for the whole 10 km next Sunday.  My plan, if I can stick to it, is to run 6:15/km for the first 2 km, then 5:45/km for the next 6 km, then whatever I can for the last 2 km. If I can keep the last two km around a 6 min km, I can break an hour. Just barely. I've never raced a 10km and I've never tried to break an hour so I have no idea if I can do that right now. I guess we shall see.  I'm not too worried about it though - what will be, will be.  I'll be content with a slightly faster run than I did today - each time is a PR for me.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Today is the First Day of the Rest of... life. Yadda yadda yadda.  OK, you know how that line goes - but honestly, it's still a good way to look at things.  It's never too late to be who you might have been.... right? 

Today is October 1st and what better time to make a clean slate and start fresh. I've done really well sticking to my running plan for the last two weeks and now it's time to add in the rest of my goals.

The week before last, I ran 30-45 min on Tuesday and Thursday, and then a moderate paced (for me) 10 km last Sunday.  Then this past week, I ran 6k (40 min) on Wednesday (a hilly and fairly fast run with friends), and 4.5 km (30 min) after work on Friday, and I'm feeling pretty good despite jumping into 3 runs a week after only 1-2 a week the previous month.

Today's Work out
This morning, I did about an hour of core strength, yoga, foam roller, and stretching.  I decided to start off easy so I don't feel to sore to do another workout on Monday.

20 minutes core strength - focus on core, hip flexors and glute med

20 crunches
20 bike crunches
10 knee pushups
20 lunges
Downward dog
20 side leg lifts
20 crunches
20 bike crunches
10 knee pushups
10 one leg step downs
20 crunches
20 bike crunches
10 knee pushups
20 side leg lifts
1 min plank

15 min yoga - Runner's Yoga - I'm still feeling some pain in left hip/groin when I do Child's Pose, Runner's Lunge, Pigeon Pose etc.

5 min foam roller - focus on glutes, piriformis, ITB, and calves

15-20 min stretch - 1 minute hold for each stretch

Tomorrow's Plan

Tomorrow my plan is to run 10km - with a 2.5 km warmup, gradually building speed, then 5k at race pace, then 2.5 km cool down.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Regrouping Part 4

The Goals and the Plan

Writing out my goals - that is the hard part. Once I write them down and put them out there, there is a certain commitment and pressure to follow through.  And some of these goals are ones I've written down time and time again, but failed miserably.  How do I make this time different? I dunno.  But I guess I'll just keep on trying.

I have a number of things I want to accomplish this fall/winter.  Running, Biking, and Swimming are only a part of the plan. I also want to focus on core strength in the off season and regain control of my diet.

The "Sports" This Winter

Running - 10 km race on October  and full marathon in the spring

* Two 30-45 minute runs during the week, and one long run on the weekend.
* Short runs on Tuesday/Thursday or Wednesday/Friday
* Zone 2 runs only until December/January
* IF I am feeling good and there is no inkling of injury, start to throw in some hills and/or tempo runs once in awhile.
* stretch/ice/tape/shin sleeves - whatever it takes to stay loose

Biking - Crosstrain only throughout the winter

* One or two 30-90 minute sessions on the trainer per week
* Zone 2 HR only

Swimming - Maintain swim fitness

* Undecided - possibly swim this winter, if I can arrange some one on one sessions with a coach
* After January, swim 2-3 times per week
* Upper body strength - swim specific muscle groups

Core Strength

The off season is the time to work on core and overall strength.  It's so hard to fit that in during the regular season - now is the time to give it my full attention, and hopefully develop some habits and routines that can carry me through the next race season.

My plan is to do core and strength training, in addition to yoga on most of my non-running days - three days a week minimum.

The 'D' Word

In addition, as always, I need to look at my diet once again.  I tried something different this year. I tried to just eat smart and not count calories, splurging once in awhile, enjoy life, but try to be mindful.  It doesn't work for me. As of June 1st, I was up 3 lbs, by the end of the summer, I was up 6 lbs, end of September, 7 lbs.  If I don't count calories, I gain about 1 lb a month.  That sucks. My clothes feel tight and I it is affecting my fitness. If you're fit and you don't believe me, try tying a weight belt of 7 lbs around your waist before you head out for your next run.

Throughout the summer, instead of counting calories, I played around with a lot of different 'diets' (for lack of a better word).  My standard favourite is the Mediterranean Diet that allows lean meat and dairy, healthy fats, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and lots of fruits and vegetables.  This summer, I played around with a vegetarian and vegan diet and have subsequently found it easy to make vegetarian choices much more often.

Four Hour Body

I tried the Four Hour Body diet for about ten days at the end of August - which allows primarily meat, beans, and vegetables - no white carbs, sugar, dairy, or fruit.  I lost weight quite quickly but it seemed to be mostly water weight as I was eating much less carbs. As soon as I ate carbs again, the weight came back in 2-3 days. The breakfasts were the worst - meat and vegetables just aren't a nice breakfast.  I can only eat so many eggs - and I missed fruit and yogurt/cottage cheese terribly.  I also happen think whole grains are good for you.

So - I think I will go back to my Mediterranean diet with a greater focus on alternate protein choices and very little white carbs. I will also begin counting calories again as it seems that's the only way I can lose weight.  Hello Sparkpeople....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Regrouping Part 3 - Tidbits

OK so I said I would talk about my goals in this post, but I remembered I have a few short bits of news to share first.  

Brace Yourself
For the most exciting news - I finally got my braces off last Wednesday, after 2 years, 9 months, and 18 long tortuous days!!  Yeah, I know, "First World Problems"...  I should be glad to have the opportunity to spend $6500 to get my teeth straightened and another $6000 to get dental work done. Anyway, although the horrendous metal contraptions are finally off my teeth, I'm not done yet.  It'll be another 6-12 months before I get new veneers on my four worn down front teeth and everything is finally 'fixed.' :)

Hip Hip No Hooray

OK, so I haven't done an update on my hip lately.  I got the results back from my MRI and met with the sports doctor last week. The good news - no tear in the labrum (the inside coating of the hip joint).  The bad news - I have a 6mm (1/4 inch) piece of bone or cartilage floating around loose inside my hip joint. They could not tell what the object was, nor where it came from, and there's not even any definite connection that this loose body is what is actually causing my pain.

The MRI report recommended a CT Scan to see if they find out where the piece came from, and I tentatively have one booked for Oct. 25, however my doctor isn't sure it's worth getting the extra radiation because the treatment will likely be the same regardless of where it's from.

My doctor and I both suspect that:

1) the loose object may be a piece of a bone spur that broke off when I hurt my hip skiing last winter.

2) the pain in my hip isn't actually being caused by the loose object, but rather, other bone spurs (osteophytes from mild arthritis) in my hip joint are rubbing and/or catching when my leg is moved into certain positions.

However, we aren't positive so....

Call in the Surgeon

After some discussion, we decided to get a consult with a surgeon to get his thoughts. He can view the actual MRI and might have some insight as to what course of action I should take. If it is a bad thing to have that piece of bone in my hip joint, it's a fairly simple procedure to 'scope' my hip and remove it. I say 'simple' in the relative sense, since anything surgical is never really 'simple' and naturally would require some time off training, and probably work as well.

The way this hip pain affects me right now, I really don't feel that surgery is necessary, but I am concerned about the long term effect of that loose piece floating around in there. If it ends up doing damage to the hope joint over time, the resulting repair could be much more complex.

In the meantime, I will wait to hear from one of the local surgeons and hope I can get a consult appointment within the next few months.  I have no idea what the wait list time for any of this is.

In the meantime, I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow - short term goals.  Thanks for reading. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Regrouping Part 2

So I left off last night, mulling over my race goals for the upcoming year.

As I mentioned, Erik and I have both decided to do the 10k race held here in Kelowna, on October 9th, part of the Okanagan International Marathon weekend. It will be my World Wide Festival of Races race for 2011. I've run lots of 5 k's and a few half marathons, but I've never ru a 10k, so this will be interesting and fun to do.  I haven't trained specifically for the race, but if I'm feeling ok, I should be able to push hard enough to come in just under one hour. If not, plan B will be under 1:05.  I don't really care - I just want to get out and race. :)  

Marathon Training versus Triathlon Training

The dilemma for me has been how to train for both a half iron and a marathon. I think if you come from a running background and move to triathlons, you can d both simultaneously, but for me, it doesn't seem to work that way. One thing I've learned about myself is that I take a LONG time to recover from races, even a short sprint tri. If schedule a race in the middle of marathon training, I get behind on my long runs while recovering from the race. So next year, I need to have a different plan.

My Fall Plans

Here's my thinking - between now and January, I will focus on running three times a week.  I will run 30-45 minutes twice a week on school days, and I will do a long run on the weekends. I won't try to lengthen my long run - it'll be from 60-75 minutes every week, just to build up my endurance. I've done this before but never long enough. I start building too soon and then hurt myself.

If I take 3 months to focus on running 2-3 times a week (yes, I snuck in the 2 there because some weeks I just can't get out for a run on two school days), then maybe by January, I will be ready to start slowly building my long run. I also plan to build my long run slowly, taking a step back week every 3rd week instead of every 4th.  I am hoping that this will help keep me from being injured.

During this off-season time, I will also stick with my core and strength program religiously.  I will ride my bike indoors or out, but only Zone 2 easy rides to burn calories.  I don't want to tire my legs out.

No Oliver Half Iron?  :(

The hardest part of all of this, is having to stop triathlon racing between now and June, and primarily that means missing the Oliver Half Iron the first week of June. I find that a really hard decision to make but I know that I won't be able to race a Half Iron one month after running a marathon. I just wouldn't be ready.

However, in 2012, Outback has decided to move the Wine Capital of Canada Sprint and Olympic races to June 17th (instead of mid May) so I think a new goal might be to do the Olympic distance in June.  It would be about 6 weeks after a spring marathon - that seems manageable.  As you probably know, I've never done an Oly, so maybe this year will be the year I focus on doing a few Olympic distance races.

Training for a Spring Marathon is tough

The other challenge will be doing some of those long runs in the winter when there is snow and ice. The longest I ran last winter on a cold snowy day is 1:45 and that was tough. For that reason, I am giving myself a time goal and a distance goal for each long run. If the conditions are such that my pace is slower than expected, I will stop when I reach my time goal, regardless of the distance done.  My plan is to add 15 minutes each week.  That is about 1-1 1/2 miles (2-3 km) per week. January will be the toughest with three or four 1:45-2:15 long runs scheduled during the cold, snowy, icy time of year.  And no, I don't do treadmills.  Maybe with any luck, we'll have another non-winter like last year.

Tentative race plans for the next 12 months

October 9 - 10km race in Kelowna

May 6 - BM Vancouver Marathon (or one of the other two BC marathons in that time period)

June 17 - Oliver Olympic Triathlon

August 19 - Kelowna Apple Olympic Triathlon

Other possibilities

- a few local 5-10k races
- Okanagan College Half Marathon on March 26 (as part of a 27km training run)
- Desert Half Iron in early July (not likely but always possible)

Tomorrow, I'll talk about my lesser goals for the next three months. Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Time to Regroup

So, I managed to survive the first two weeks of school more or less unscathed.  The first week was exhausting as always, and I did not get a single workout in.  I was too busy and too tired and it was still hot out so I wouldn't have wanted to run after work even if I had found any energy [insert a plethora of other excuses, some of them being I'm just plain lazy].


Although my new class seems to be a good group of kids, I am facing a few other pressures at school this year.  I spent a couple of days after school teaching teachers how to do some computer stuff, and although it was my choice and I'm happy to do it, it did take away from my planning/prepping time.  In addition, teachers in our province have been without a contract since last June and negotiations are going HORRIBLY.  Subsequently, we started the school year with job action which causes some stress and extra work because I am the acting staff rep while another teacher is on sick leave for 2 months. In addition to the regular start up pressures, I have had a number of extra meetings to attend and information to send out to keep teachers informed. For example, last week I had a 7am meeting on Wednesday and a 4-7:30 pm meeting on Thursday and I've had to field many calls and emails to stay on top of things. It's hard to fit in a workout around 12 hour days.

Week two of school was a little better, I started to get things under control and had a bit more energy.  I went for a run after work on Tuesday AND Thursday (yay me) this past week, but I did not do any of the other stuff I had been thinking about. This week is the week that I am hoping to add in the "other stuff". As usual, I am recording my goals and my plan here in my blog in a, hopefully not lame, attempt to make myself get stuff done.

Mojo, Where Are You?

If you listen to my podcast, you know I've been suffering for a distinct lack of mojo for the past month or so.  In fact, I really haven't been feeling I'm at the top of my game since my "A" race at the Oliver Half Iron last June.  Throughout the summer, I decided to kick back and relax and do my training and racing for fun instead of pushing for time goals. A minor foot injury in July kind of forced me into that frame of mind as I prepared for the San Francisco Half Marathon on July 31st, and it carried me through the summer until the Apple Sprint Triathlon on August 21. I found myself becoming something of a "Triathlon Funster" (to steal the title from my twitter friend, Dawne).

Funny thing is, I really enjoyed the "low-keyness" of this style of training and racing - less pressure, more fun.  But it also meant less fitness.  That part is a little more difficult for me to accept.  When I went low-key - riding when and how I feel like riding, swimming minimally only to prep for a race, but continuing to run 3 times a week (mostly 3 times a week, but sometimes only twice) - I found I lost some fitness, particularly on the bike. I guess I'm the only one who can decide if that's a big deal to me or not.

Running Goals

I've also be hashing and rehashing (is hashing a word?) my running goals all summer.  Originally I had hoped to do a full marathon October, although in the back of mind, I knew it would be a serious challenge to train for triathlons all summer as well as build up my long run for a fall marathon. After my sore foot injury and SF race, I decided to push the marathon goal back a month and see if a November race might be easier to attain.  But it wasn't. My running legs just weren't responding in the way I wanted, and my long runs were a big enough struggle that I couldn't seem to get past the 12km mark.  Eventually, I consoled myself with the plan to do a Spring marathon and to shelve all triathlon training throughout the winter, including preparing for the Oliver Half Iron (insert sad face) which is held in June, and just focus on core fitness, strength training, and running.  I will spin on the trainer and swim a little as cross training, but do nothing that will fatigue my legs.

Although I have not yet chosen a spring marathon, I have a few possibilities in mind.

* BMO Vancouver (the new course will be revealed in 2 weeks) May 6, 2012
* Elk Lake Trail Marathon (flat easy 4 loop course) in Victoria May 5, 2012
* Run for Water Marathon in Abbotsford, mostly flat - May 29, 2012 (later than I want)
* There's also a flat, marathon length race in Richmond on March 6 but I don't think I'd be ready that early.

In the meantime, I am planning to run my first 10k race on October 9, 2011 here in Kelowna. It's flat and I've never run a 10k race so it should be interesting. I'll be happy if I can break an hour.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this post. Tomorrow, I'm going to decide on my long and short term goals and how I plan to attain them.

Thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Six Pounds of Fat

This is how much weight I need to lose to once again feel comfortable in my own skin.  I was thinking about it when I bought a pound of butter at the store today.  I imagined each block of butter and slathering it onto my hips, belly, and butt.  Maybe a half pound on each arm.

I know six lbs isn't a lot to some people but on my fairly small frame, it's a lot. I'm now at the point where my clothes feel tight.  I need to make some changea.  Starting Tuesday, September 6 when I go back to school.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Number Crunching

I was curious about how many kilometres I'd ridden since I started riding my bike in 2006, so I went into my various online records to see what my totals were and decided to put the info into spreadsheet format.

From Beginner Triathlete, I was easily able to get my Swim, Bike, Run totals for 2007 to date, and I still had my bike numbers from 2006 online at  It was really interesting to see how the numbers added up. I think I will put this chart onto my "Training" page (see the menu above) so it's easily accessible and I can update it twice a year.

Year Bike kms Bike Hours Run kms Run Hours Swim kms Swim Hours
2006 2774.67 132:38:18 0 0:00:00 0 0:00:00
2007 3472.71 155:13:29 156.36 18:04:02 0 0:00:00
2008 2743.65 117:51:59 508.07 62:18:13 64.45 36:38:01
2009 2152.08 102:06:13 502.33 65:42:47 41.25 20:10:00
2010 2358.59 99:52:27 703.23 89:34:43 96.6 45:37:53
to Aug 2011 1643.56 68:16:42 598.49 69:06:41 19.75 8:32:07
 (in miles)
675:59:08 2468.48
304:46:26 222.05

As you probably know, I'm a numbers junkie.  I find it tremendously motivating and I enjoy looking for patterns that help me better understand myself as an athlete.  On their own, the totals above don't mean a lot - it's the quality of my day-to-day training that important - but it's stll interesting to see the how far I've come in the past 5 years.

Erik and I were discussing the role technology plays in training today, after he read a facebook comment by somebody suggesting that we need to throw out our computers and just get out and ride (or swim or run). I think that in some situations, and for some people, this might be a good idea.  But for me, keeping track of my training is a very enjoyable and motivating aspect of working out. Most days when I finish a workout, the very first thing I do is sit down at my computer to upload or record my data, even before I shower. ;) The feeling of accomplishment is tremendous.

If you do not currently keep track of your riding, running, or swimming - I encourage you to sign up for one of the many free online journals such as Bikejournal, Beginner Triathlete, Dailymile, or Training Peaks and give it try. If you're not a computer nerd, you can buy a cheap notebook and record your training long hand.

And you don't need a computer to figure out how far you're run or ridden.  There are many free online mapping websites such as Map My Run that will do the figuring out for you, not to mention many apps that are available for your smartphone.

But no matter how you decide to record your info, the most important thing is to get out there and do it!