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.