Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolution Run? Half-Check!

Well, hello there!

It's been a while, I know.

Turns out that in addition to the gall bladder attack I mentioned last time, I also had a fairly large gallstone working its way through my system (TMI? Sorry!) and ended up with obstructive jaundice. I've spent the last two weeks super tired, nauseous and extremely itchy ALL THE TIME, and...yellow! Yeesh.

Needless to say, there hasn't been a lot of moving going on over the last three weeks.

Good news: I have a bunch of followup doctor's appointments in my near future, but I have been cleared to go back to the gym. I tried, but only managed 3/4 of a light workout earlier this week. Bah.

Here's some great news: Looks like this is clearing up. I FINALLY felt like myself again by the end of this week. Just in time for today's Resolution Run!

My son, sister-in-law and nephew all ran this one too! We lucked out with the weather - drizzly but a pleasant 4C and NO WIND - but it was a very, very boring course. Great way to finish off the year, though!

I started strong but ran out of steam pretty fast and ended up pulling out at the end of the first lap, at the 2.5K mark. Not surprising, considering that I could barely walk my dog around the block 10 days ago.

It's a drag, but I'm at peace with it.
Starting chute. My sister-in-law and I in orange with my son between us. Can't see him, but my nephew's there too.

And we're off! Two ladies in orange and one orange-haired kid. Still can't see my nephew.

My brother-in-law, younger nephew and daughter watching the action

Me sprinting in to the half-way / finish line. Managed 2.5K in 18:20. I would have PR'd if I could have kept this up!

There's my nephew, sprinting to the finish line! He's a SPEEDY KID.  34:15
This was his first 5K. He started planning his races for 2012 before he crossed the finish line today.

My SIL sprinting behind her son. She's pretty speedy too. Another PR for today.  34:30

I walked back to meet my son and sprinted in the last 100 metres with him.
Notice how he's pulling ahead of me here. Another speedy kid. His legs are moving so fast that they're blurry!

Yep, that's another PR set today. 38:15.

Sarah and Rachel were there too. And they set more PRs!

All done and ready to go out for brunch

So - what's next?

First - celebrate New Year's Eve tonight with family and good friends. :-)

Next - Get back to the gym and build myself back up, get back in the pool, and keep a close eye on a few event websites for registration to open. More about that later.

Happy New Year! What's at the top of your list for 2012?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

Mere moments after hitting publish on last week's post about being grateful to be at the end of a hectic work season, I started to feel unwell. Tired, nauseous, achy. SO tired. Did what I could to help get the house ready - we were having the extended family over the next day for lunch to celebrate my son's birthday - but I felt like I was moving through molasses. Went to bed oh so early.

Next day, I was better but still moving slowly. Baked a cake. Tidied up. But generally had to rely on my husband to do most of the work. Family arrived and we took the dogs to the dog park while my husband finished off the cooking. Found myself doing a lot of sitting around during the party, and ultimately went to bed for the night at 4pm after everyone left.


I assumed that I was crashing hard after getting through that hectic period at work, and that perhaps I'd overdone it a bit at bootcamp, maybe strained a muscle.

Spent the next few days generally achy, tired, nauseous. With an increasingly painful ache just under my ribs. Which lead to very poor sleep and an aching back.

I finally got to the doctor yesterday and it turns out to be a gall bladder attack.


After losing so much weight, generally eating well and getting daily exercise?

Well, gall bladder problems do run in my family. And I had been terrifically stressed. And eating wayyy too much takeout and pre-holiday treats during the busy time.

Still, this seems like such a cliche, coming mere weeks after I turned 40. Actually, it feels like middle age just reared up and slapped me.

You could say that I'm taking it personally.


Next steps - changing to an ultra low-fat diet has helped immediately.Will stick to this for the better part of a week to give things a chance to really calm down. Seeing the chiro for an adjustment helped - my posture was way, wayyyy off after being in pain for almost a week. Back to the gym in a few days. Having an ultrasound later in the week to look for stones. After that - well, watch the stress and watch the treats.

On the good side - this should help me break through the plateau I've been stuck in for the past few months. I've lost a few pounds this week, but let's see if they stay off or if they were just water weight...

Anything throw you off your game recently? How are you coping with it?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

All Work and No Play...

Well, you know how that goes.

My office moved to a stunningly beautiful space last weekend. It's already a real pleasure to be working in this new environment. But getting to that point took a lot of work. Packing, tearing down, moving, unpacking. And such.

Many, many long days late last week, all weekend and this week.

Which put my life way, way out of balance. And even though it was just for over a week, it took quite a toll. Overtired. Stressed. Missing my family. Grumpy.

A huge thank you to my husband for holding things together during the past week.

I still have a lot of work to catch up on but things are more or less back to normal now. I am enjoying a lazy Saturday morning with my coffee right now. Looking forward to the days ahead, celebrating my son's birthday and Christmas.

I did make sure that I got proper nutrition and got to the gym a few times. Not interested in getting sick, y'know. And exercise is a tonic.

Speaking of the gym - our Boot Camp group has been having some fun lately after our workouts with "Hey, can anybody..."

As in - can anyone do a bridge? Can anyone do a cartwheel? Can anyone do those pushups where you manage to clap in between each one?

This has been a hilarious way to end our workouts. Nicely tired but also pumped up on endorphins makes us a bit silly. And laughing is such a great way to wind down the day.

It's also been fantastic exercise in teaching ourselves not to automatically say "I can't", and instead give whatever it is a try. And if it turns out that you really can't? Well, that just means that you can't today. Gives you something to work towards, doesn't it?

Which means that I'm practicing cartwheels these days.

I wonder - what can you do?

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - Work, work and more work.

Early Sunday morning walk
Sunday - 2K dog walk first thing, then headed to work.

Monday - Work, work, work.

Tuesday - Work, work. Got Stella to the dog park (2K round trip), had a file of fun playing soccer with her for a good 15 minutes.

Taking a quick breather. I guess it makes sense that a shepherd would love soccer!
Wednesday - 1K dog walk, Curves machines + 5 mins stairstepper + 15 mins Zumba + 290 assorted crunches + 3 sets of 30 pushups (that's 90!); 2K dog walk.

Thursday - Zumba class, Curves machines + 380 assorted crunches + 30/30/40 pushups (that's 100!) and then 5 of those pushups where you manage to clap inbetween each one. WOOHOO!

Friday - Worked late. Family crawled into bed with me for cuddles and a DVD. Glad to see the end of this work week.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Rudolph Run? Check!

I mentioned last week that my 7-year-old daughter was organizing a 1K/3K fun run. We held the run this past weekend, and we had a great time!

From the poster made by her brother

The weather was...wet...but we still had a great turnout. 25 people had signed up, a few backed out because of the rain, but then a few extra came! In the end, we had 27 runners (11 kids, 16 adults) and 3 dogs.

We had planned on an 11am start, but we ended up sending people out in waves as soon as they arrived. So much better than standing around in the rain and getting chiily.

My daughter said a few "thanks for coming", then yelled TWEET to send the first wave out (we forgot the whistle!)
First wave heading out - me in red, my daughter in pink, my son to the right
 She and a friend ended up doing the 1K twice - once with the first wave, once with the second.

These folks came in from out of town for this - THANKS!
We made jingle bell necklaces  for everyone - and believe me - it was SO great to hear all of the jingling in the grey, gloomy weather!

Apples, crackers and water at the finish line - and umbrellas

Hanging out, having some snacks and waiting for the last wave of the 3K-ers to come in
 The good thing about the rain? We pretty much had the park to ourselves!

With Kat - our first run together since the St. Pat's 5K earlier this year

I have to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who came out to this event. On a Sunday morning. Did I mention that it was raining?. So amazing!

Everyone was wearing a big smile, too. In the rain. Fabulous!

The kids were really eager to go through the race routines, the same way we all are - put on their official bibs, run the course, have some after race-snacks, hang out and feel great.

Each of the adults mentioned that it's important to help a kid go for it when they have a big idea like this. I agree completely - and as a parent, I can't thank them enough for their support for my daughter's plan. I think she fully expected that if she held a race, some people would show up, even if it was just her immediate family. I don't think she realizes how fabulous it was that she had such a great turnout. regardless of the weather. Even her teacher came out and cheered us on!

And not only did these folks show up, they also helped her raise about $200 for the Terry Fox Foundation.

I'm speechless.

Thank you.

We're going to have to think about doing this again next year...!

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - Curves in the morning. Daughter and I went to the ballet to see Romeo & Juliet in the evening. Lovely performance!

Sunday - the Rudolph Run (I ran the 1K); 2K run/walk with Stella later in the day

Monday - 2K dog park walk, Curves circuit + boot camp (5 mins on stairstepper, 30 pushups, 290 assorted crunches), 2K dog walk

Tuesday - rest day.

Wednesday - Cuves circuit + boot camp (10 mins on stairstepper, 30 + 30 pushups, 150 assorted crunches, 2 minute plank), 2K dog run/walk. Oh - and I signed up for the...
Who's going to get muddy with me?
...for June 2012. It's 5K with 12-15 obstacles. Because if there's one thing the Warrior Dash taught me, it's that I'm stronger than I think I am. Also that I have a twisted idea of what fun looks like. It's also possible that I'm having a bit of amnesia about how exhausting the Dash was. But what better way to test out how strong boot camp is making me? :-)

Thursday - Curves circuit + boot camp (6 mins on stairstepper, 60 pushups, 280 assorted crunches). And I did a bridge again ;-)

Friday - My office is moving this weekend, and so I worked a 14-hour day packing, organizing, cleaning and such. According to My Fitness Pal, that's about 89 billion calories burned. Phew!

Friday, November 25, 2011


You've seen my daughter here a few times. She's a smart, sassy, fun-loving 7-year-old who loves being outside just as much as the rest of our family. Skipping, biking, swimming and sledding are among her favourites, but she's really up for anything. 

Maple Syrup Festival - March 2011

Kayaking - July 2011

Monkeying around - September 2011
This girl announced 2 weeks ago that she wants to host her own race this season.

She even had a concept: call it the "Rudolph Run", invite our friends and try to raise money for cancer research.

Excuse me while my jaw hits the floor.

"Sounds great - do you have anything else in mind for this?"

Yes. It should be about 5K with a 1K for any smaller kids, it should be at a local park, it should be free to sign up, we should have water and snacks at the finish line, and we should have race bibs.

"Okayyyyy - you've clearly thought this out! Do you want to make this happen?"


So - we've spent the last two weeks picking a day (November 27), measuring trails at a park (thank you, Google Maps), settling on a 3K and a 1K route, selecting a charity (the Terry Fox Foundation), getting the word out to our friends and her classmates, picking up supplies and ordering bibs. She's the Race Director and has recruited the rest of us as event staff - I'm the secretary, her brother designed and typed up a poster, her father will work the start & finish line and take pictures.

Can I tell you how proud I am of this girl? Actually, I don't have the words for it.

She's seven.

I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

I'm really looking forward to this race! Please say a little prayer for us that the weather cooperates.

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - Gym + 20 pushups; 2K run/walk with Stella.

GPOYD - Watching squirrels on our way home from the dog park
Sunday - 2K dog park walk; 75 assorted crunches + 30 pushups

Monday - 2K dog park walk; Curves + boot camp lite (9 mins on stairstepper, 120 assorted crunches, 30 pushups), 2K dog walk.

Tuesday - Rest day. 1.5K dog walk

Wednesday - 2K walk with the dog.

Thursday - 2K dog park walk; Zumba + Curves + boot camp (10 minutes on the stairstepper, 270 assorted crunches, 40 pushups); 2K run/walk with Stella. And...LOOK AT WHAT I CAN DO!

GPOY achieving an NSV
After boot camp tonight, one of the girls asked if anyone can push themselves up off the floor into a bridge. I automatically said no, because I know that I'm a girl who can't do a bridge. Despite everything I said last week, I said no, because I've defined myself as someone who can't do this. And then I realized what I was doing. And thought I'd better give it a shot. It turns out that I CAN do a bridge - something I don't think I could do even as a kid. And then I did it two more times so that my trainer could take a couple of pictures. And then I did it at home to show my kids. NSV.

Friday - Rest day. Followed by my office holiday party tonight. I'm planning to eat well today and not go overboard tonight. Wish me luck...and willpower, K? Thanks. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

You Know it's All in Your Head, Right?

You read Deb Tris, right?

I've mentioned Deb here before. She's a wise, wise woman.

Deb has spent the last while taking up running, shedding her extra weight, and getting to the finish line of triathalons. Swim, bike, run!

She has accomplished amazing things, but, like most of us, had held a somewhat conservative view of what she's capable of and where her limits are. She's spent a fair bit of time reflecting on this recently and working on letting go of those mental barriers. And go figure - she's started having regular breakthoughts in her training and smashing her personal records.

There's a lesson here, people.

Let go of who you think you are and find out who you ACTUALLY are.

My mother (Hi Mom!) told me, and I'm sure your mother told you, that you can do whatever you set your mind to.

It's absolutely true - but we also need to make sure that we set our sights high enough. Beyond what we think our limits are.

This is true in all areas of our lives. And it's funny how other people are able to see what we're capable of so much more clearly than we see ourselves.

A small example from my own life - Ana knows that I'm capable of doing a boot camp right after a workout. So for the past few weeks, she's been making me do a boot camp after my workouts. Ana also knows that I'm capable of doing more reps than I think I can, and that I'm able to do them faster than I would do on my own. So she makes me do more reps, faster. And guess what? She's right - I can do them.

Which was very illuminating. Wonder what else I can do...?

Well - I used to define myself as "not a runner - I am SO not a runner - I'm a power walker".

Even after I started run/walking during races rather than signing up as a walker.

Even in the last few months when I've started run/walking with my new dog.

I've started to let go of that "I'm not a runner" thinking and what do you know - all of a sudden I'm running a bit more and walking a bit less with that dog. She's happy and I'm astonished. It's got my rethinking my goals for my finish line times over the next few months, I'll tell you that.

I've got a number of other mental limits to reassess. But I've gotten started, so that's good. Thank you, Deb and Ana!

To those ladies at my gym who watch boot camp from a distance but haven't joined in because "Oh, I'm not strong enough for that - you girls go ahead"?

I've got news for you - you ARE strong enough. Just give it a try. You know you want to!

To my fit friend who REALLY wants to do a 5K but is letting fear hold her back? Same thing.

What about you - what do you want to do, but think you're not capable of? What are you going to do about it?

Here's this week's recap -

Perfect day to practice our road safety kills
Saturday - Curves + 35 pushups; took the kids on a 5.75K bike ride to run errands; 2K run/walk with the dog.

Another great day. This has been a beautiful fall!
Sunday - 2K dog walk in the AM; 2.5K nature hike (hills! trails! streams!) with the cousins and the dogs in the afternoon.

Monday - Rest day, but a busy one. Work, parent-teacher meeting, trip to the chiro.

Tuesday - 1K dog walk in the evening.

Wednesday - 1K dog run/walk, Curves circuit + boot camp including 40 pushups + 15 mins on the stairstepper, 2K dog run/walk.

Thursday - Oh man. Zumba + Curves circuit + boot camp + 15 minutes on the stairstepper. Allow me to elaborate on the boot camp:  tonight was a 60-second plank, 25 pushups, 30 tricep dips, 250 assorted situps & crunches, 140 assorted leg lifts for each leg. Somebody else needs to walk the dog tonight - I'm beat!

Visiting my favourite sculpture always makes me happy
You can just barely see one of the two babies behind her - she's leading them to a water fountain.
Friday - Rest day, oh happy rest day. Went for a light walk at lunch (1.3K); 2K dog walk in the evening.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Boot Camp and Distance

I'm able to get to my gym 3 times a week, and Ana makes sure that I get the most out of my time there. You may have noticed me mentioning that I've been doing boot camps in addition to my standard Curves workouts and weekly Zumba class. Yep, Ana's behind all of that.

Have to say that I'm loving it. Loving how strong I'm feeling, loving the improvements in my endurance and strength, and loving the variety that this brings to my workouts.

I'm also loving that I've gotten fit enough to do a boot camp immediately after a full workout. Sometimes with a Zumba class thrown in there too.

And noticing that brings me to Distance.

Specifically, being aware of the distance that I've put between myself and my old life on the couch.

In the earlier days of this journey, I used to be hyperaware of the positive effects of my weight loss and how my increasingly active lifestyle was such a fantastic improvement over my sedentary one. A few times a day, I'd have thoughts like -

  • It's so great that my feet don't hurt in the mornings anymore. Good-bye, plantar fasciitis!
  • Check it out - I don't see black spots after climbing a flight of stairs anymore!
  • Remember how much I used to dread the hot days of summer? Not anymore!
  • Wow, clothes are so much more flattering now!
  • Someone invited ME to do a 5K??
And so on.

If you've never been very overweight, you might not be aware that heavy people can spend a tremendous amount of mental energy in living this way - dreading shopping for new clothes, being self-conscious about trying to fit into a seat on a busy subway, worrying about being judged when eating in public, dreading warm weather, dreading putting on a bathing suit, standing at the back of the group when someone gets out a camera...the list is exhausting to think about. As they say, being fat is hard.

But now it's been a couple of years and I've kind of forgotten just how it felt to go through life carrying an extra 80 pounds. Back when eating properly, exercising and races are what "other people" did.

Somewhere along the way, those daily mental comparisons of obesity versus activity, and being grateful for the improvements, have become a very once-in-a-while thing.

I mentioned quite some time ago that I'd read that for every 25-pounds lost, it can take a full year for our brains to process how our size has changed. That until that time has passed, we continue to "think like a fat girl" - continue to avoid those cameras, get stressed about clothes shopping, and so on.

You know something? I think I'm finally caught up.

I no longer have those lingering social anxieties about being heavy. I'm excited about having a list of races as long as my arm on my mind for the coming year. And the things that I notice these days tend to involve my increasing strength and speed compared to my recent abilities. I'm no longer constantly comparing how life is better to how it was when I was inactive, and am spending a lot more time living in the present. Simply appreciating how my life is now.

And in realizing this - I'm pretty proud that I've gotten to this leg of the journey.

How are you doing on yours?

Here's this week's recap -

Beautiful sunshine but oh so cold for riding!

Saturday - FINALLY got out on my bike again. Rode to the gym & back (6K round trip), worked out including 30 pushups. Later - 2K dogpark walk and out for dinner (Indian - YUM) with the family.

Sunday - 2K dog walk in the AM, 2K dog park walk in the afternoon.

Monday - 2K dog park walk, Curves + boot camp including 30 pushups, 2K dog walk before bed.

Tuesday - 2K dog park walk

Beautiful sunset. But it's 5.02pm. We are not amused.
Wednesday - Curves + boot camp (including 30 pushups) + an impromptu 1/2 Zumba class...followed by a 2K dog walk.

Thursday - 2K dog walk.

Friday - Played in the leaves with the kids and the dog. Lots of hot chocolate afterwards.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Not of the way I've been eating this week, that's for sure. Anyone else carb loading for winter?


Work has spectacularly busy this season. But I haven't let it interfere with my fitness goals.

I've gotten in the habit of putting my gym clothes on as soon as I get home from work so that I'm ready to go to the gym or out for a run/walk or whatever as soon as I have the opportunity to head out the door.

I had a particularly busy workload one day this week and really had to keep an eye on the clock to make sure that I stopped in time to get to the gym before it closed.

I had a bit of a jolt when I realized how determined I was to make sure that the trip to the gym happened that day, and how much of a contrast this is from my old lifestyle.

Two years ago? I used to let busy-busy-bringing-work-home-almost-every-night give me an excuse to skip the gym. Oh, I'm much too busy to take an hour off and work out. And this couch is super comfy, isn't it?

So - what's changed? As much as I enjoy my work, somewhere along the line I've formed a determination to not let workload interfere with my personal goals - particularly my fitness goals.

It also looks like I've developed the habit of going to the gym regularly now that I've been doing so for so long. There's also the fact that just plain feels good to exercise, and that I have noticed that feel yukky if I don't.

I call all of that that a NSV. And I'm proud of it.

Anyone else have a NSV recently?

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - The 5K with my daughter, followed by a trip to my mom's. Stunningly beautiful fall day.

Big smiles for both of us - 3.5K mark

Sunday - Woke up with a bit of a bad stomach - blech. Took Stella for a slowwwwwwwww 2K walk, then went back to bed.

Spooky, spooky
Monday - Stomach still dodgy. My son's, too. We both stayed home, but did drag ourselves out to take Stella to the dog park (2K). Both of us were feeling much better later in the day. It's a Halloween miracle!

Tuesday - 1K dog walk before dinner, 1K dog walk before bed.

Wednesday - 1.5K run/walk with Stella. Later - 1K walk then Curves + boot camp including 40 pushups.

Thursday - 2K dog park walk, Curves + Zumba + boot camp including 30 pushups. For the record, this is what I look like after a triple workout:

It's not pretty
 Friday - Frantic rush to get my son ready for a camping trip. 1K dog walk.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Women's Run 5K? Check!

My daughter has been watching her brother go out for races with me this year and said a few months ago that she wanted to do a 5K with me herself.

I've been hearing great things about the Toronto Women's Runs and thought the October run would be the perfect 5K for us to do together.

I've been a bit nervous about this - she's fit, but she's only 7-1/2. She found the Do Life 5K back in July long and tiring, which meant a lot of complaining on the way to the finish line. I've been reminding myself that it was a warm day, we did a lot of visiting & walking before we even got to the start and I think she was a bit tired when we started - and she's young.

But she's been emphatic that she wants to do a 5K with Mom. So I signed us up and we've been doing some training. Power walking with the dog, doing some slow running now and then, that sort of thing.

A fair bit of our preparation has been pep talks and setting expectations. It's a mirror to the kinds of things I told myself before my own first 5K -

"We're going to show up, walk as much as we need to, run when we want to, and eventually cross the finish line."

"Who cares how long it takes us - you're setting a personal record just by showing up at the start line."

And a few incentives:

"It's a women's only run - and they've got fire fighters at the water station! And chocolate at the finish line! And medals for everyone!"

She's been looking forward to it all fall.

The day before the run, she confessed that she was nervous but that she has been telling herself that if her brother can do 5K, so can she. OK, I'm impressed.

She really got into the routine of getting ready for a race - planning her race day breakfast (bowl of Vector with milk, sliced banana), going to packet pickup, deciding what to wear and making plans to hook up with Mom's friends for a finish line picture. She's seen the rest of us do this for our races and was very pleased to be going through the pre-race rituals herself. 

Morning of the race? She woke up early, happy and excited.

We met up with a few friends who were doing the 8K run -  

Sarah, Rachel, me, my daughter
...cheered them on as they started, then waited for our own gun to go off.

Bibs on and stopping for a quick picture before heading to the start corral
Did our stretching, watched the clock, and then we were off!

And she was AMAZING.

She did a slow and steady run for about the first 300 metres...then slowed down and said "I'm tired, how much further is it?" That had me kind of worried, but after that? No complaints from her.  

See her right hand? She had a pocket full of Smarties and popped one every 1/2K. That helped :-)

Visualization also helped. Before the run, we had talked about how the distance from our house to our dog park is 1K, so we used that to measure our progress. "1K - we made it to the dog park!" "2K - we made it home!"  "3K - we're back at the dog park" and so on.

Turnaround marker at 2.5K...firefighters and water at 3K...she's still smiling at 3.5K (above)...cracking jokes at 4K ("you've got my next Smartie - hand it over!")...

Aaaaand before we knew it - THERE'S THE FINISH LINE!


We both put on a burst of speed, flew past my cheering husband and son, and finished with a smile.

Got our medals and ran back to the finish line to cheer on Rachel and Sarah. Stopped for a group pic:

Finally getting to be in an after-race pic with the girls.
...then collected the goodie bags that the organizers were giving out. Bananas, almonds, water, bagels and Lara bars.  And chocolate!

So, so proud of my girl. She really earned that finisher's medal. She amazed me with how strong she is, but also with how disciplined and determined she can be. She had a great time at the race and is floating on air with pride for having done this. She also showed beautiful race etiquette on the course (just like her big brother) and it was a real pleasure to run with her.

She's in no hurry to do another race, but I'm sure she'll be back when she's a bit older. Like Rachel said to her - you'll find yourself getting addicted to these things!

OH!!! Our finish time! I really didn't know how long this would take her, and was hoping for about an hour.


She sure showed me.

We finished in 43:59.


As for the race itself? This was a very, very fun run and was an incredibly well-organized event on a beautiful course. I'll definitely be back in 2012!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Am I Scared? or Sensible?

You may have noticed my friend Emma showing up here on and off over the past year. She's run most of the 5Ks that I've done, including the Warrior Dash.

Emma is the muddy one here - 2nd from the right
Emma has a ton of 5K and 10K races under her belt  - you should see how many medals she's earned this year alone! - and has a not-so-secret longing to run longer distances. She recently registered with Team in Training and will use their support to train for the Around the Bay 30K race in March 2012.

I am very, very proud of Emma. I certainly can't let her cross the finish line on something as big as this without being there to cheer her on - so 4 of us (all Warriors!) will make a weekend out of it with her. Might as well do some running ourselves while we wait, right?

(Updated to add - our power-walking friend Lynda has just signed up for the 30K too!!)

Around the Bay has a relay option as well as a 5K. I was considering doing a 10K for the first time as part of a relay, but quite frankly the distance intimidated me. I've signed up for the 5K, and the other 3 Warriors will run the relay.

Hang on a second.

Did I just let fear talk me out of trying something new? Or am I being sensible?


I recognize that I have a hard time breaking out of my comfort zone and trying new, bigger things. I also know that I've never let fear keep me away from a start line once I've committed to something.

But here's the thing - I have absolutely no desire to do a 10K. Well, sure, I'd like to be able to brag that I've done a 10 but I don't actually want to DO one. Unless it's on a bike. Put a bike under me and I'll ride to the other side of the continent. But on foot? Um, no. Not interested.

What I DO want to do is concentrate on getting faster and more powerful for 5Ks. I've been using them as a benchmark of my increasing fitness levels, and am very, very proud to see that I've dropped 4min10sec from my time from 10 months ago. I know I can improve on that. I'm currently doing about 75% power walking, 20% slow running, and 5% recovery walking, and am working on changing those ratios.

That may sound like rationalization, and it might be.

But at the same time, I've noticed that since I started running short distances regularly over the past few months, an old knee injury has been whispering nasty things to me now and then. My shins are mildly tender most of the time. And a full week after my last 5K, I noticed that my hips still ached a bit if I sat still for too long. All of that is unnerving me a bit.

I'm sure that a lot of this has to do with the extra 35 pounds that I'm carrying around. Yes, I'm working on that - but at the same time I really don't want to end up sidelined with an injury. 

I have made a point of setting big, scary goals for myself the last couple of years, and 2012 is no different. I am forcing myself to try new things - although it's very much on my own terms, I am trying to break out of my comfort zone on a somewhat regular basis.

So - am I sticking to the 5K because I'm scared of trying a longer course? Or am I being sensible? Or am I genuinely not interested in trying longer distances on foot?

I'm sure it's a mix of all of the above. Not quite sure how I feel about the fear part of this mix. Something to think about.

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - 2K run a block/walk 2 blocks with the dog, followed by Curves + 25 pushups. Later - took the dog and my daughter 2.7K round trip to a playground. She rode her bike; Stella and I did run-a-block, walk-a-block to keep up with her.

Sunday - 2K dog park walk, followed by Curves + 25 pushups. Later - we hosted a family lunch and ended up taking the kids and dogs to the park - yep, that's Round 2 of the 2K dog park walk. At the end of the day, I took Stella for a 2K stroll around the neighbourhood. I am going to sleep very well tonight.

Monday's sunset. Beautiful.
Depressing though - it's only 6.20pm.
Monday - 2K dog park walk after dinner, 1K run a block/walk a block before bed.

Tuesday - Rest day. 1K dog walk.

Wednesday - Zumba + Curves circuit + 25 pushups + 2K run/walk with the dog.

Thursday - 2K dog park walk, Curves + an abs class.

Friday - Race kit pickup day! My daughter and I are doing a 5K tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed for good weather...there's a rumour of wet weather in the morning :-(

Speaking of races - I found a few pics online from the Scotiabank Waterfront 5K that my son and I did two weeks ago:

Is it possible? Am I ENJOYING myself? :-)

Gotta check the timer - How'd I do? How'd I do??

Happy but oh so tired and FREEZING cold!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Scotiabank Waterfront 5K? Check!

My fall race season has started!! My son and I kicked things off with the 5K course on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Bit of a chilly breeze coming off of the lake, and I'm grateful that we were able to wait inside a conference centre before it was time to start. Once the race started and we got moving, we warmed right up though.

Waiting for the start. Brrrrr.
Check out the glow from the Epic Orange Jacket.
Oh, how'd we do? We both PR'd!

40:03 for me (prev PR 40:43), 38:26 for him (prev 39:25). Just call us speedy. Well, speedier!

This was a good race for me. I did more running than ever before and felt reasonably strong. So great to see my fitness improving measurably over time. I do believe that I was scowling  when I crossed the finish line though...will be interesting to see what my official photos look like!

You know what's great? That my son is old enough (and responsible enough) that I could let him go at his own pace and meet him at the finish line. He knows that his time is a true measure of what he's capable of at this stage, that he wasn't held back by needing to stick close to Mom. I was able to run with him here and there on the course but also listen to my iPod the rest of the time - which is a huge help for me.

I do have a few complaints about the race - 

1. Like all big events, this one attracted a lot of new runners, and there were a number of student groups (i.e. pre-teens) participating. Great to see them competing - BUT - so very few of them knew anything about race etiquette. Walkers walking 5 abreast right down the middle of the course, kids weaving in and out and in and out and in and out of the pack, walkers strolling down the left...the right...the middle. Sigh. The course was wide enough that I was able to get around but all of this was a big, big pain and really interrupted the flow of the course. Race organizers - especially for these big events - should seriously include a race etiquette 101 in the info that they send out before the event.

I know, I know - I was a rookie participant myself not that long ago, but I was fortunate enough to have experienced racers give me a briefing before my first event, and I have drilled proper etiquette into my son from Day 1.

2. No distance markers for most of the course! I don't have a Garmin and really rely on course markers to know how far we've gone. The first distance marker we got was at the 4K mark.  Other 5Ks that I've done (even those that were part of a marathon course) marked every KM and sometimes even the halfway mark. Can someone tell me: is this a valid complaint for a 5K, or have I just gotten lucky/spoiled in the past?

Anyway - we finished stong and sweaty!

Laura (who did the half marathon!), Emma, Rachel, me, my son
Wearing my lucky St. Pat's 5K shirt and my Resolution Run jacket.
Enter enough races and you never need to go shopping for workout clothes again.
We hit the food stands for Gatorade, water and fruit, then hopped on the subway and went out for brunch. I ate a huge caprese omelet (tomatoes, bocconcini cheese and basil pesto - YUM); he had the home fries and a Coke. Think this is the 6th or so Coke he's ever had in his entire life. Not the world's best recovery meal - but he talked me into it. He DID need to replenish his salt and sugars...right?

Still wearing his race bib. Not pictured: I'm wearing my medal. And my bib.
So - what's next?

My daughter and I are doing a 5K at the end of the month. No PRs will be set by me - this one will be all about getting her across the finish line. After that, I am hoping to find one for my son and I in November or early December that fits my calender, and the Resolution Run at the end of December. We both want to see what we can do to our times before the end of the year. Better keep jogging with the dog at night.

What's coming up on your race calendar?

Here's this week's recap:

Saturday - 2K dog park walk + a take-it-easy workout at Curves + 20 pushups.

Sunday - My husband's birthday, and he was very sweet to not complain about us spending it at the race. I took the dog on a 2K dog park walk first thing, he took our daughter to the zoo during the 5K, and I took the dog on another 2K dog park walk after we got home. I have to admit that I was feeling very sorry for my poor, tired self about going on that second dog walk...until I read about Fauja Singh, who at 100 years-old finished the marathon today in 8:25:16. Huh. OK, I officially feel like a whiner now.

Teaching Stella to play fetch. She's definitely obedient and well socialized but doesn't know many tricks.
She lived with two other dogs and only one human in her last home, so we're guessing that her playtime was mainly with the dogs. Kids have taught her to shake a paw; fetch is coming along nicely.
Monday - 2k dog park walk + Curves for an easy recovery workout + 10 pushups.

Tuesday - Rest day. Thank goodness. 1K dog walk before bed.

Wednesday - Zumba + Curves circuit + 20 pushups + 1.2K dog walk. Phew.

Thursday - 2K dog park walk. You know something? My hips are still a bit sore after the race. OH - and it's my birthday today!! Happy Birthday to Me! We went out for Indian food - the best dal, chana masala and homemade naan in town - fabulous!

My favourite present? A new necklace featuring a triathalon spinner from - it's to keep me motivated to train for the two try-a-tris I want to do next summer!
Had a look through their website tonight and couldn't help but notice all of the other charms that I would love love love to pick up. Pretty sure that I'll be getting the "bike" one after next summer's 50K Ride for Heart.

Friday - 2K dog park walk. Followed by taking two children shopping for winter gear. Sigh.