Friday, December 31, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Homemade Detergent for an Automatic Dishwasher

from Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

Many dishwasher detergents contain chlorine, phosphorus, and antimicrobials, which are potentially dangerous, completely unnecessary, and very hard on the environment. Whether you are concerned about the health of our waterways, or are merely trying to keep your septic system working properly, it is a good idea to choose a dishwasher detergent that does not contain any of these ingredients.

Look in the health food store for environmentally friendly dishwasher detergents that utilize enzymes, washing soda (sodium carbonate), and borax.

You can make a batch of homemade dish detergent by mixing equal parts pf laundry borax and washing soda:

1 cup washing soda (Arm & Hammer)

1 cup Borax

An efficient dishwasher should only need one tablespoon of detergent. If your dishwasher has a detergent dispenser and a rinse dispenser, fill the rinse dispenser with vinegar to prevent mineral build-up on your dishes and glassware.

Do not wash aluminum or Teflon pans with this homemade detergent.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How to Clean a Washing Machine (chemical-free)

This is for a top-loading machine:

Step 1 - With your machine empty, run it full of hot water to the largest load setting. When the tub is full and begins to agitate, add:

3 to 4 cups distilled white vinegar

½ cup baking soda

Allow the machine to agitate for a few moments, then turn off the machine. Let the water sit for 30 minutes - 1 hour.

Step 2 - After allowing the vinegar/baking soda mixture to penetrate the grime in the washing machine tub, restart the machine, allowing it to complete the wash cycle. At the end of the wash cycle, as the tub begins to drain, advance the washing machine to the spin cycle. On many washing machines, this will cause the washing machine to spin as it drains, which can help to further loosen any residue. If yours doesn't do this, simply allow it to drain. Turn off the machine.

Step 3 - Wipe the inside of the washing machine tub with a wet cloth. If desired, use a cloth soaked in a solution of half hot water and half white vinegar. Be sure to wipe all inside surfaces, including the bottom and blades of the agitator and the top of the tub just under the lid. (It is sometimes helpful to use a wire toilet brush around the top rim and in hard-to-reach places.) If the washing machine has a fabric softener and/or a bleach dispenser, remove these and clean thoroughly before replacing.


If, after following these steps the odor remains, the washing machine may have build-up in some of the inner parts. If your washing machine is still under warranty, contact the manufacturer for a repairperson to check it out. If not, contact your local appliance repair shop, and they should be able to clean the machine for you.

How to prevent build-up in your washing machine

To keep your washing machine looking and smelling cleaner for longer, follow these simple steps to reduce build-up:

1. Use less detergent.

What detergent manufacturers don't tell you is that you can often get away with using half the recommended amount (or possibly even less), and your clothes will come out just as clean. The amount you need to use depends on your local water - those with hard water may need to use more detergent, while those with soft water may be able to use extremely small amounts. Experiment to find the optimal detergent amount for your washing machine.

2. Rinse clothing thoroughly after washing.

If you find that your rinse cycle produces a lot of suds, your clothes are not being rinsed thoroughly, and therefore neither is your washing machine. Run an extra rinse cycle, and in the future, try to use less detergent.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

SALVATION ARMY SANTA SHUFFLE 5K - And Concern About My Achille Tendon!

Not a training run - a fun run
5.36K @ 38:03
Avg. Pace 7:06 min /km

LOL! Where to begin with today's experience ...

Last night, I went to the local Running Room (we have one in London) to pick up my t-shirt and number. I made the mistake of heading downtown London on a Friday afternoon and paid the price by being stuck in traffic for a good hour ... but peanuts compared to Toronto and Vancouver, right? :) I was a little surprised when all I received was the l/s t-shirt that I paid an additional $15 for (it was not included in the entry fee) and my number - 5823. I was then told that when I crossed the finish line, I would be given a goodie bag, and that refreshments would be available after the run at Joe Kool's (a renowned local London restaurant/bar). Fair enough! This is when I learned that the run was also 5X around the park. I was caught off guard by this news. I had expected that the run would be similar to the Forest City Road Race 5K in which runners ran all the way around downtown. Running five times around Victoria Park did not seem too fun to me at this point. :( But hey, it's all about attitude and I signed up for a FUN RUN, not an organized race.

This morning, Wallace and I walked downtown together to Victoria Park to join the many festive people who had also signed up. This is when I have to make an observation about London runners. When I participated in the London Honda Series and the Runpiker Series (all supported by Runner's Choice), I became accustomed to seeing the same runners. There are always "new-to-me" runners, as in the locals who only come out for that particular race, but similar to me, there are a significant number of runners who are faithful and show up to virtually every race in the series. I am bringing this up because I didn't recognize a soul today! Nadda! I had to wonder if this was a reflection of the two major running stores in town - Runner's Choice and the Running Room. Or is this truly a reflection of the difference between fun runs and organized chip runs? Was it all Running Room people I was seeing today? I would have to say that by the number of people wearing the iconic Running Room jacket in a variety of colours, it was! :)

Anyway, Wallace and I enjoyed running together around the park. It was not easy because the sidewalks were covered with snow and in order to pass other people, runners had to run in the deeper snow on the side. I felt nervous about not having some spikes on the bottom of my shoes, but when I looked around, I noticed that most runners did not have them either. It was a true mix of people; some very serious runners, plenty of novice runners, and quite a few group runners (people who came together to participate in it). I applaud everyone who came out to support the Salvation Army!

However, at approximately the 3K mark, I really started to notice my achilles tendon again. It was feeling sore. And for the first time, I started to run "differently" so that I wasn't putting as much pressure on it. This has me concerned. I still finished the run because it wasn't "bad" enough for me to stop, but it was the worst it has been so far and this makes me very nervous. Apparently, this is an injury that takes a significant amount of time to heal from ... it is not one that a runner wants to mess with ... I am thinking that I need to R.I.C.E. my tendon and give myself a few days off from running. The current forecast for this week is that my area is expecting a winter storm so I may be forced off the roads for a few days anyway. This is probably a "good" thing. If there is bad winter weather heading this way, it probably is a blessing in disguise - TWO significant reasons (not excuses!) forcing me to stay put in order to rest my achilles so that it doesn't become worse. :(

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A New PR in 13K, But It Wasn't Fun! :(

Day #3, Week #4 Road Work training
13K @ 1:34:54
Avg. Pace 7:17 min / km
-1 degrees C (wind chill -8)

Did it look like I was MIA for the last few days? In a sense, I have been. :(

Yesterday (Wednesday) was one of those days when, as soon as I got out of bed, I knew it was going to be a day off from running. I have written about this before. There are times when I feel a little tired, but I still go for a run and usually feel good that I did. Then there are the days when I get up and I can feel the bone tiredness, a heaviness from a lack of sleep or from doing too much, and this is when I know that it's best to take the day off, go to bed earlier if possible, and then start fresh again the next day. Well, Wednesday was one of "these" days. Even though I hoped that, over the course of the day, I might snap out of it, I never did. The weather was not really conducive for running, which further cemented my decision to cancel my run. On top of all this, I have changed my schedule for this week so that I can participate in the Santa Shuffle 5K this Saturday, which entailed changing my Wed. 10K into my Saturday LR 13K. I have never run a 13K without stopping to walk and I was determined to run this 13K "well"; therefore, when I woke up feeling bone-tired and cranky, I knew it was not a good running day. :(

I am really glad I listened to my body because, after going to bed at an earlier time and getting a very solid night's rest, I felt much better prepared for my 13K today (the fact that I slept so solidly proved to me that I needed the extra rest!)

It was cold and lightly snowing, and given my paranoia about ice, I decided the safest place to run would be in Springbank Park, and that I would take one dog, the smallest dog with me so that if I encountered ice, I didn't have one of the 70 lb.+ boys pulling me into a dangerous situation (Note: I would rather be safe than sorry; therefore, until I gain more confidence and experience with running the winter, Angus and Kim will likely experience more walk-only days than running. Although I love running with my bigger dogs, and they are well-trained runners, they still have the ability to stop me on a dime when they have a sudden need to stop and pee, to expel, etc. This is what has me concerned).

This run ended up being tough mentally. It started out very well and although I was running with greater care, I was running strong. My first 6K of this run were very good, and I really enjoyed them. I did not look at my Garmin at all during this time. I just enjoyed my run for what it was.

However, when I was running a hillier section of the park behind Storybook Gardens, I decided to check my watch for mileage. For some reason, mentally, I was expecting it to say that I had run between 8-9K. Instead, I learned that I had just run barely 6K. This really shouldn't be a big deal, but for some reason, today, it made me feel very cranky and this funk came over me. How about that choice words, eh? Funk. Various online dictionaries give various meanings for this word, mainly "a state of depression" or a "deep state of depression" so maybe funk is too strong of a word, or perhaps I need to clarify this more by calling it, a cranky funk. I was not happy to see that I had only run 6K by that point, and knowing that I had not even reached the hump mark of this run did not bode well with me.

So for the next 7K, it was probably a good thing that I was running with just a dog because I likely would have been bitching up a storm if someone had been with me!! This turned into such a looooong run, one that seemed without end, but I just kept plugging along, doing my best to ignore the mileage on my watch and setting landmarks as short-term goals for when to check my watch since I knew I would be bitter regardless! I even started advising myself that 10K was good enough for today (the original mileage scheduled), and that I could wait until next week to run 13K.

Thankfully, by 10K, the funk-fueled snipers in my head were somewhat trampled by my dormant type-A voices, when I decided that darn it, I am running 13K today and getting this LR bloody well over with! After running past my previous PR of 11.5 km, I noticed that my pace did pick up slightly. In a very rare instance, I enjoyed the last 1.5K of this long run the most because it was similar to seeing a finish line ... I see a light at the end of a super long, dark tunnel so let's go faster so we can get there quicker!!!!!

Unfortunately, the time period after my run miserable, too! :( Wow, I can't win for trying today, can I? :( I always give myself time to walk after my runs as a cool-down. Within a short period of time, the top of my head became very cold, which was not covered because I was wearing a headband. I wore my headband during my warm-up walk and for the first few K for warmth, but once my run was well underway, I pocketed it, and was fine running without it. I always put the headband back on after my run for my cool-down walk to keep my ears warm, and usually this works well for me. However, today, the top of my head was wet from both sweat and falling snow. Within minutes of ending my running, the top of my head felt cold, and soon I was experiencing an "ice cream headache" on that part of my head. A few times I had to put my hand on top of my head just to protect it from the wind and to pass on some warmth. A good lesson for me: clearly I need to carry a hat with me to put on immediately after a run in this type of weather. I also started to cough very hard as the temperature of the air into my lungs changed once I was back inside. Truthfully, I just felt miserable until my hot shower when my body finally settled back into normalcy.

So here is my cranky funk post for the day! Not all runs can be great runs, and in the greater scheme of things, I tend to have many more good runs than cranky funk runs so I really have little to complain about. I am very proud of my new PR of 13K without walking and I am very very pleased with this training program so far. This is is what I am focusing on rather than the lack of enjoyment I derived from today! I also felt much better after Benny took me out for dinner, and I enjoyed an excellent spinach salad with grilled shrimp. :) A much-needed distraction with my sweetie to celebrate another milestone for me. :)

On a last side note, I wore my running pants and yellow jacket with running undershirt & underpants underneath. It was just a little too warm of a combination today. Instead, I could have worn spandex shorts and a l/s tech shirt underneath and felt more comfortable. I'm learning! :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Running Shoe Update keeps a log of my shoe mileage for me. :) GREAT feature!

May-November 2010

Saucony ProGrid Triumph 5 Silver (Green) = 506 km ( = 20 cents per km)

Saucony ProGrid Triumph 5 Silver (Purple) = 425 km ( = 28 cents per km)

Monthly Review - NOVEMBER 2010

172.7 km TOTAL
Highest monthly total to date :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Last Run in Shorts & a S/S Shirt for the Year, I Think!

Day #3, Week #4 Road Work training
8K @ 57:03
Avg. Pave 7:08 min /km
+ 4 striders
10 degrees C

Today's picture is of the Wharncliffe St. bridge. Yesterday, I crossed it at the beginning of my run to access this running path under it to head downtown. Today, I came from the other direction and crossed it the opposite way at the end of my run (except imagine it being wet with rain because it was raining today when I ended my run!)

I really did not feel like running today. It rained and rained all morning, and I was feeling a little tired. However, there was a significant period of time when the rain stopped, and I knew I would feel very guilty if I did run before the snow flurries start tonight ...

Angus and Kim were happy to head towards Springbank Park with me today. The sun was missing, but the temperature was just great. And as it turns out, my run was great, too! :) It took me a little while to warm up and get into the groove, but by the 3K mark, I was ready to try my first strider. Not fun. I did not like it. :( By the end of it, I was thinking, do I really want to run faster? Is this really worth it to me?

But these thoughts were really half joking, and as I started into my second strider, I was better prepared for it, and to my surprise, during my recovery, a runner's high kicked in, which was a nice little bonus! :) :) Striders #3 and #4 were a success, too, and I admit, I finally had the "aha" as to why striders are so good for increasing one's speed.

The dogs loved it, too. Angus in particular enjoyed the faster speed and just wanted to keep on going at that pace. We had a cyclist pass us with his loose Doberman Pinscer while I was running my 4th strider, and this motivated my dogs to run much faster, resulting in my significantly fastest split! :)

And as luck would have it, the rain held off until my last 1/2 km, and it was a warm gentle rain. It continued unabated until we arrived home ... all three of us wet, but happy. :) :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Official First Day of Week #4 Training - My 10K

Day #1 - Week #4 Road Work training
10K @ 1:15:00
Avg. Pace 7:29 min / km
6 degrees C

3 weeks done, 14 more to go!

Today I brought along the camera, as you can see. :) I ran my Monday 10K downtown, through the university, and out to the turnaround at Ross Park/Richmond. This picture is of the newly paved trail - downtown London is to the right and the Thames River is to the right. It was a glorious sunny day and the conditions could not have been more perfect for a run! :) :) I wore pants and a l/s under a s/s shirt. Just a little on the warm side, and I think I may have been okay in shorts, although everyone out there running that I saw was essentially wearing similar clothing to me.

Wallace and Kim ran with me and they were happy to be out and running as always.

I wish my run was as glorious as the day, but alas, it actually was one of those days where I felt strong and energetic one minute and rather sluggish and slow the next. When I checked my Garmin, my splits were actually very consistent so once again, it is a reflection of how I was feeling rather than what my pace was like. It took quite a few kms for me to get into the run, and it felt at several points like this was going to be a loooong run.

There were quite a few other joggers out today as well. The terrific weather must have brought them out because there normally is not this many people on the path at this time of year. I had one jogger run up alongside me and ask me from which kennel did I buy Kim from - she quite liked the look of him! I told her that I had adopted him so I didn't know who his breeder was (he has no papers). My elderly neighbour, Frank, used to walk by our place when he would take his dog, Kim, to the schoolyard to exercise, every day, twice a day. Ben and I became friends with Frank and Kim as a result. When Frank and his wife went away for three weeks, he asked me to look after Kim for him, and this is my close bond with Kim began. After Kim returned home after his stay with us, both Kim and I were depressed for several days. I think Frank was both pleased and a little miffed that Kim reacted this way! When Frank became ill for a period of time, I would walk Kim for him and take him to the dog park with my dogs every day. It was then that Frank told me that he wasn't going to be around much longer, and that he wanted Kim to come live with Ben and I. It was only a few months later when Kim came to stay with us after Frank was hospitalized, and then he never left ...

I also chatted with another jogger who told me about running for 20K regularly with his Jack Russell. He said that dog could outrun anybody! I believe him, too. When I see how much energy my dogs still have in the backyard after a long run, I realize that training for a half marathon is not a problem for them. :)

Today was also an important ego day. I tried on a pair of jeans that have long been too small on me, and this morning, in an impromptu moment, I tried them on. I was shocked to find out that they fit ... I was just trying them on to see how much further I had to go! It was a terrific feeling and was a huge motivator to get out the door to run my Monday 10K! :) :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Record :) Weekly Mileage

I surpassed my previous record for weekly mileage of 44km. :)

This past week, November 22-28, I ran 47.6 km. :)

How to Clean a Dishwasher (chemical-free)

from Organic Housekeeping by Ellen Sandbeck

This author recommends the same method for removing hard water spots from dishes and glassware:

Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into a bowl and set the bowl face up on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Run the machine through a wash cycle to clean the inside of the appliance. The vinegar will deodorize the dishwasher as well as dissolve hard water deposits. There will be no residual vinegar smell once it dries.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Great 11.5K - I Really Enjoyed It! :) :)

Day #5, Week #3 Road Work training
11.5K @ 1:23:31
Avg. Pace 7:15 min/km
2 degrees C

I checked my time/post from last Saturday and I am slower this week by less than a minute - LOL!

This week's post may turn into a bit of a repeat of last Saturday's post. I am sitting down now with a celebratory red glass of wine, and I am still a "happy camper" about my distance and time. I was a little surprised to learn that my time was slower (not a big deal at all, really!), but only because my run felt so much better today than last week. If anything, I was more into my run, paying attention to my breathing and how I was feeling throughout the run itself, rather than zoning out into my own thoughts, as I have written about before. Maybe I should point out that I ran the other way around Storybook Gardens, as in running up the long hill behind the park today rather than down it, like I did last week, which might account for a slower time - LOL! But really, who cares, right? What matters is that I was able to get out there, and do my thing, as scheduled, and I now have 3 weeks out of 14 officially behind me. 11 more to go !!!?!! :)

I was pleased with what I wore today, too. My apologies to anyone who finds this boring, but I am using this blog as a running diary, and tracking my clothing choices during certain temperatures demonstrates my learning curve as I try to better understand what will work best for me. This will be my first winter for running. As I noted in a previous post, I stopped running regularly last year as of December 23rd, just before the first big snow fell. I only ran once in January and once in February because I was too paranoid about running in the snow. This coming winter is when I am trying to put that behind me and embrace the snow season as my new running environment ... today I wore a blue windbreaker over a l/s winter running shirt (both were given to me by my MIL), and opted to start with a headband and thin gloves. I ended up eventually taking the mitts and headband off, but the rest was perfect.

Angus and Wallace ran with me. I always feel guilty about leaving the third one (this time, Kim) at home, but I only have two hands/arms in case anything happens out on the public trail. I am not willing to try taking all three at this time, even though I do it when I go for a short run at the cemetery and they are great. We'll see.

No camera today - Benny used it for his hobby so I have no pics. Maybe this is just as well since I was doing my long run today? Now that "10Ks" are becoming my "average" run, :) :) :) perhaps I will take the camera with me Monday. I honestly do want to make my blog appear less "wordy" with some pics ... :), but I digress ...

Another thing I did today was to ingest a Vega Sport packet as pre-run drink. I found it on sale for less than $2 at Loblaws in the organic section/protein powders. I am not sure if I should attribute my energy level during my run to it, but I think I will head back to Loblaws, scoop up a few more packets, and try them out on various runs to measure my results. I may try this in my water bottles for my 13K later this week, too.

Another item I want to record ... I am feeling so good these days!! The day I started the training program, I also started paying much closer attention to what I was eating. I am conscious of everything I am putting in my mouth. It has not been perfect, per se, but it has been 80% of the time (guess-timate). After three weeks, I see and feel a physical difference. I have a runner's high every day after my run (whereas I did not necessarily before), I am sleeping more deeply and better, and I am not having cravings for certain foods. I think I might be addicted to my after run shake (I am substituting kale for spinach these days), and whenever we have gone out for dinner, I am ordering a salad (and thankfully, enjoying it, too!). I am very jazzed by this and hope to continue with it as a lifestyle change ...

One last thing ... I posted this on my i.d. to solicit advice so why not here ...? I have a fun 5K run this Saturday - the Salvation Army Santa Shuffle. Week #4 of my training schedule for next week is as follows:

Today (Sat) 11.5K
SUN rest
TU 8K + 4 striders
W 10K
TH 5K or OFF
F 8K + 4 striders
SUN rest
Repeat Week #5

What would you change/switch if you were me? Keep in mind that this will be my first week for striders and my first week for a long run 13K. If you have an opinion, please advise via comments and thank you! :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Solo 8K - VERY Pleased with Myself! :)

Day #4, Week #3 Road Work training
8K @ 1:00:03
Avg. Pace 7:29 min./km
- 2 degrees C

Did you notice the addition of temperature above? And the weather forecast widgets in the right column in both celsius and fahrenheit? The weather is going to play a much more significant role in the next 3-4 months!

Last night it rained and rained, and we could hear the rain on the roof when we went to bed. With colder temperatures expected, the warnings were out that it was going to be an icy morning. As it turns out, it wasn't as bad as predicted so I decided that I would try to run my scheduled 8K, but opted to leave my running partners at home in case of black ice.

It was very windy when I headed out. Thank goodness for running underwear, my jacket, thin mitts, a hat, and a headband. It was just a bit challenging for the first 2K because I was running into the wind - I actually felt like I had just finished a mini workout by the time I running my 3K. When I looked at my splits, this one was the slowest split, reflecting my recovery time from running against the wind. All of this running was done on sidewalks along some main roads and a bridge ... by the time I reached the footpath, which is mostly protected by trees, the wind was no longer an issue. I was able to take my hat and mitts off to cool down a little, but I needed the headband on the whole time to protect my ears from the wind. I am still learning what works and what doesn't work while running in colder weather, and so far, I am erring slightly on the warm side, but I'm okay with that. :)

At no point did I encounter black ice so I do feel a tad bit guilty about not taking one or two of the boys with me after all. :( My leaving them at home is a reflection of my paranoia about running and slipping on ice - my worst fear about running in the winter. However, on the flip side, I enjoyed running without a water belt and dog leashes around my waist. :)

And to add to my guilt, I also felt a twinge of regret for forgetting my camera as it would have been a good time to take some pictures of my running path for this blog just to jazz it up a bit more. I have 11.5K scheduled as a long run tomorrow so hopefully I won't forget to do this. :)

I have to say that I was very pleased with myself for getting my run in today because it was very cold and I honestly just wanted to stay inside! I am happy to report that woo hoo! I did it! and now that the weather forecast is warmer for tomorrow, I am looking forward to my long run and claiming Week#3 - 3 out of 3 so far - as accomplished!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Great 10K Run - 2nd one of the week! :)

Day #3, Week #3 Road Work training
10K @1:14:26
Avg. Pace 7:26

Wet snow is in the forecast for tomorrow so I am more than happy to get this 10K done before taking a rest day! :)

The temperature has dropped and it definitely feels chillier. There was no sun out today. I am glad I decided to put a running windbreaker on before heading out because it kept me warmer while I ran. I was able to take my headband and gloves off after 2K, but I kept my jacket on for the duration. Kim and Angus ran with me today and as usual, loved it. This time I took the same route as yesterday, but went all the way out to Ross Park north of Richmond St. (Mount St. Joe's area), and ran all the way around it before returning through the university to Gibbons Park and cutting over the footbridge to Western Rd. & Oxford.

My pace has slowed since my earlier improvements, but that's okay; I am just happy to be getting out regularly and to be following my training schedule to a T. :) I'm getting there! I am not going to run 5K tomorrow; I am opting for the rest day instead, and will be back running again on Friday (8K) and Saturday (11.5K).

I have also edited my 10K-in-60-minutes training program tab/page above by adding the entire 17-week program as it is ... what I hope to continue following as closely as possible for the winter months. I have also added a tab/page for the half marathon program I wrote about yesterday that I intend to start following in March in preparation for my next half marathon scheduled in May.

On another side note, I just noticed on the Runner's Choice website that they have dropped one of the Runpiker races and added a different one. The Embro Highland Games 10K (July) has been dropped and in its place, the Around the Square 10K & 5K in Goderich (May) has been added. In their newsletter this week, Runner's Choice noted that they listened to runners' suggestions and made a few changes. Embro was my least favourite run of the series so I am assuming there were a number of critical comments made about it ... running around a non-scenic country block was not a lot of fun. :( Goderich, however, is quite pretty and I am sure it will be an improvement. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Out for an 8K with the Boys ...

Day #2, Week #3 Road Work Training
8K @ 59:15
Avg. Pace 7:24 min/km

A good run, good company and good weather ... it looks like this was a good time to start a new training program after all.

Today Angus and Wallace ran with me in the other direction - the renovated trail along the river through downtown and out toward the university is fully open so we headed east then north today for a change of pace. I already felt slower and more sluggish for this run at the beginning and truth be told, I never did feel strong or energetic on this one; however, I have had so many good runs lately, I'm not surprised nor am I bothered by it. It is what it is. :) I still feel very good about getting out and completing what I set out to do. One minute I felt like I overdressed a little too much (when I was directly in the sun) and in the next, I was glad that I was wearing running pants and a l/s shirt (when the cold breeze blew through me). I crossed the river three times today, using a different bridge each time, and that is when it felt like winter is heading our way ... brrrrr! ... but the sun was still brilliant and warm. Happy to be out taking advantage of it!

I have also spent some time looking at my current 10K-in-60-minutes training schedule, my next intended half marathon, and the training program for achieving a 2:15 in a half marathon in John Stanton's book, Running. I am very pleased to note that the training programs mesh nicely together with a slight, but very reasonable overlap. It looks like I may have my running reasonably planned from now until May 2011 :) ... barring weather interruptions!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Official First Day of Week #3 Training - My 10K

Day #1, Week #3 Road Work training
10.08K @ 1:15:16
Avg. Pace 7:27 min / km

Today I am calling myself a hardcore runner ... not a "jogger", not a "recreational runner", but hardcore because I was out there, running in the rain, making my two 4-legged running partners stick it out with me, running past bundled up walkers in my shorts and t-shirt. Of course, most people who saw me were no doubt thinking, "there goes a craaaazy runner," and in all fairness, they are not too far from the truth! :) :) But being pollyanna-ish, I am going to spin doctor my craziness into a hardcore label. :)

So, after two weeks of road work training when it has been an 8K on Mondays, the ante has been raised, and I will now run 10K every Monday, starting today until the end of February. Here we go!

The two bigger dogs, Angus and Kim, came out with me today. I listened to easy going music in an effort to keep my pace slower and easy. As you can see above, I did achieve this. The day was perfect - typical Vancouver weather (there's my nostalgia for the west coast again). I could actually go out in a t-shirt and shorts, and actually felt a little odd because everyone else I was passing were all bundled up. It really was not that cold out. The breeze was a little stronger than in past runs, but it was a nice, warm breeze. It felt like a storm wind when I ran across the Guy Lombardo bridge (wind right off the river - whoooosh!), but it was not like this for the duration of my run.

The rain itself held off until ~6.5K. This is when it started drizzling and truthfully, it felt good. It was the kind of rain I enjoy running in because it's light and was a touch cooling when I needed it. It then subsided and I thought to myself, how lucky was I just to get a drizzling? ... that is, until ~8.5K when the rain started falling more steadily and did not cease until after I arrived home after my wet cool down walk. My wet running shoes are now stuffed with crumpled newspaper, and after a nice hot shower, I am enjoying the after glow of a good run.

I am also in a good mood today because it's obvious to me that I have lost some weight. I am not weighing myself so it's not a scale telling me this. Instead, it's that great feeling when I first woke up and just felt lighter, and then after getting up, truly noticing how much looser my clothes are on me. I can feel for myself when I rest my hands on my hips. This should help me run a little faster! :) :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Less-On-Ya" Lasagna - Roasted vegetable lasagna with 4 kinds of cheese

For Good Health Recipes Sundays, I am going to alternate between healthy eating and healthy cleaning recipes. Two Sundays ago, I posted an after run protein shake. Last week, I posted a recipe for homemade laundry soap. This week: a very yummy roasted vegetable lasagna that I made often for dinner for my vegetarian friends when I lived in Vancouver, BC. All my meat eating friends and family in Ontario enjoy it, too! :)

"Less On Ya" Lasagna
from "Crazy Plates" by Janet & Greta Podleski
1999 Granet Publishing Inc.
Page 91

Translation: You'll end up with less fat on ya since there's less fat in your lasagna. But you'll actually have more healthy stuff in ya, given the heaping layers of veggie hidden under the cheese and noodles. Just don't drop any on ya!

3 cups sliced portebello mushrooms
2 medium zucchini, unpeeled, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. balsamic or red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced (Note: I add more and I chop them rather than mince)
1 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese (Note: I double the ricotta and skip the cottage!)
1/3 cup chopped, fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg white
12 lasagna noodles, uncooked (Note: I use 6 spinach + 6 whole wheat noodles)
3 cups of your favourite low-fat spaghetti sauce
1-1/2 cups shredded, part-skim mozzarella or Swiss cheese (6 oz.)

1. In a large roasting pan, add mushrooms, zucchini, bell peppers, onion, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, rosemary and oregano. Mix well until vegetables are coated with seasonings. Roast, uncovered, @400 degrees F for 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking time.

2.While vegetables are roasting, prepare cheese filling and cook pasta. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta and cottage cheeses, 1/4 cup parsley, Parmesan cheese, and egg white. Mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. Prepare lasagna noodles according to package directions. Drain well. Rinse with cold water and drain again.

3. To assemble lasagna, grease a 9X13" baking dish with a little bit of olive oil. Spread 1/4 spaghetti sauce over the bottom of pan. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles, 3 lengthwise and 1 crosswise, over sauce. Spread 1/2 cheese filling over noodles, followed by 1/3 roasted vegetables. Sprinkle vegetables with 1/3 mozzarella. Repeat layering: 4 noodles, 1/2 cheese filling, 1/3 roasted vegetables, and 1/3 mozzarella. Layer final 4 noodles over mozzarella, followed by remaining spaghetti sauce, Top sauce with remaining roasted vegetables.

4. Cover with foil and bake @375 degrees F for 35 minutes. Remove lasagna from oven, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and parsley, and return to oven, uncovered, for 5 more minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings
(Note: I cut my lasagna into more than 8 serving sizes - I think this is too generous a serving size)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Great 11.5K - A Milestone

Day #5, Week #2 Road Work training
11.5K @1:22:39
Avg. Pace 7:11 min/km

An alternative title for this post could be - One Happy Camper Part II. :)

Just to start on a different note for this posting ... I created this blog back in July. What I did not expect, but have since learned in that time, is how my blog has become my detailed running diary. I am amazed at how significant this account of my running has become to me.

I am writing this now because of today's earlier run. I knew before I headed out today that running an 11.5K was going to be of significance to me because I have not tried running more than 11K since July without incorporating 10:1 walking breaks. See posts July 11 and July 22. This is when I started encountering frustration and disappointment in my running because I was no longer able to maintain my pace for those greater distances. After significant improvement and progression from March - July, I hit a plateau. In order to meet my goal of running a half marathon by October, I had to adjust my running expectations and learn to walk every 10 minutes for 1 minute in order to add mileage. This was not a bad thing - in fact, it ended up being a very good running lesson because it proved that I could adjust my expectations [read: lower them :( ], and to be more realistic about my level and what I could achieve.

So now I have come back full circle, running my first, longer-than-10K-run since my half marathon, and wondering how I would make out. I was confident that I could do it, but was feeling conservative and expecting that a pace of 7:20+ min/km would do the trick. Angus was with his daddy swimming in the river all morning so once again, Wallace and Kim formed my 10-legged running group as we headed to Springbank Park, and looped around Storybook Gardens.

The weather was ideal; it was cooler and greyer and IMO, the best running weather. I felt very nostalgic and homesick for Vancouver today while running. Although the city has nothing on this place with the autumn leaves and colours at this time of year (the only time I felt homesick for Ontario in ten years while living there was in the autumn), today's weather was a typical Vancouver winter day. There's a reason why so many runners and triathletes, etc. move out there !!! :) :) But I am here now, enticed to live in a wintry province by a dimpled, beautiful man. This is why I am out there now, on a typical Ontario autumn day, enjoying what's left before the season turns into a winter wonderland.

Wearing my freshly washed gear (wink, wink), the boys and I enjoyed the great run. Two thumbs up to all the cyclists, dog walkers and elderly people I saw on the path. It was great to see so many people out enjoying the day. Fortunately, there were a few other runners out there, too, but I think the hard core ones I usually see were already out first thing this morning, whereas I waited until the warmest part of the day before heading out.

I did not look at my pace once. I checked for mileage 3-4 times, but didn't bother to check pace because it-is-what-it-is. Instead, I let myself get lost in my thoughts, and enjoy the great feeling that kicks in after a few km. My wonderful companions behaved themselves and it is very cool to see how they have developed as runners, too!

I felt a little tired by the 9K mark, but focused on the "only 2.5K left" part instead. If it took until the 9K mark to start feeling less energetic, then I am pretty lucky today. :)

So as I sit here with a large glass of red wine to celebrate another week of running success, I feel great seeing that 3 of my splits were sub 7 and that a few more splits were "almost." I was not setting any expectations today for pace - I just wanted to run 11.5K without stopping. The pace and the exceptional-for-me splits are the whip cream and cherry on top!

Tomorrow I am resting and on Monday - 10K. My 8K Mondays and Wednesdays are being bumped up to 10Ks, but I will be running 11.5K again on Saturday. So far so good. :) :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Awesome Run - One Happy Camper! :)

Day#4, Week #2 Road Work training
6.5K @ 46:18
Avg. Pace 7:04 min/km

Boy, was I ever surprised and excited when I saw that pace after uploading my Garmin! :) :) This is the sweet part about being a slow, beginner runner and working your way up the running ladder ... there are soooo many "I did it!" milestones along the way! :) :)

I took yesterday off from running after all. My training schedule calls for a "5K or optional rest day." Although I am keen to run as often as I can (make hay while the sun shines sorta-speak) and to adhere to my training schedule as closely as possible, the weather was just crappy crappy crappy all day, raining or drizzling non-stop. I took this as a sign that I was meant to stay out of my sneakers and enjoy that optional rest day after all! I am a huge believer in rest days - I took 2-4 of them every week since March :) - so it makes sense for me to continue to walk my talk - LOL! (however, it was still cool to see how well I did running six days in a row last week and earning my highest weekly mileage to date :) .... ).

So back to today ... I headed out the door with Wallace and Kim. It was the coldest day to date to run, but I was fine wearing the same running clothes from Tuesday ... yes, I am one of those people who wears used running clothes. I can get away it so I do! Lucky me for not needing to wear deodorant most of the time and being able to wear clothes a few times before needing to wash them (usually because I have spilled food on them, or they have accumulated dog hair, not because they are stinky). But I digress ... wearing my used clothing, I ran my usual 6.5K route and not once looked at my Garmin for pace - I only checked it twice for mileage to ensure I was on track. I got lost in my thoughts, do not recall any time during my run when I felt tired or sluggish, and just enjoyed what I thought was a nice and easy relaxed run. I had a nice cool down walk, had a great hot shower as soon as I walked in the door (and put my 2X used running clothes in the laundry!), made my after run protein shake, downloaded the Garmin and voila! not what I was expecting! :)

4th km - avg. pace 6:55
5th km - avg. pace 6:54

I am happy because my training runs are never this fast. My last few races have been at sub 7 minutes paces, but I attribute this to my adrenaline kicking in to push myself. This is the fastest I have run to date in a regular, non-race, "relaxed" run. Woo hoo! It feels great being that much closer to my goal of cracking sub 7 on a regular basis. :) :) Well, regular basis on clean pavement. The snow is going to start flying soon and, similar to hot and humid summer days, that's when one's true average pace disappears for a period of time!

On another note, I have registered for the New Year's Eve Resolution Run 10K through the Running Room and in various cities across Canada and even two States in the USA. :) I have the yellow and black jacket from last year's race because I registered in the 5K, but I had a terrible head cold the day of the race and opted not to run in it (not a fun, celebratory New Year's Eve for me in 2009. I am wearing the jacket in my header picture at the top of this page, and I really like it). All summer, I tried to keep registered two runs ahead so this is in keeping with my registration practices. :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy I Got My Run in Today

Day #3, Week #2 Road Work training
8K @ 59:12
Avg. Pace 7:23 min/km

10 seconds faster than last week's 8K - LOL!

It was quite the crazy weather system that blew through here last - big winds, torrential rain, a drop in temperature. I was quite convinced by the time I woke up that today was going to turn into a no-choice-rest-day. :(

However, late in the day, Wallace and I headed out for our scheduled 8K. It was cooler so I wore running pants and a s/s shirt over a l/s shirt, but I was a tad warm in these by the end. I used a headband, too, instead of my baseball cap for warmth and to cover my ears. I am pretty sure I will be using my headband more frequently here on out ... I have to say that I am a little surprised by my pace and time - I was quite sure that I was running much slower today so I am pleased with it. My shins are less tender than they were earlier in the week, but these is still slight tenderness, similar to a disappearing bruise. I take this as a good sign. My left ankle and tendon have a little bit of tenderness, too, as of today, but nothing painful or of concern ... yet (??).

I am feeling very very good about how I am sticking to the schedule so far, and how, even through time crunches and schedule changes, I have been able to get myself out there. :) In combination with eating much healthier and doing my best to avoid white flour/white sugar items, I am feeling pretty good these days! I am eating an apple a day and I am absolutely loving my protein shakes after my runs - maybe my true motivation for running is so I can make a shake?!?! :) :)

I have started a draft page on my blog with my New Year's Running Resolutions - LOL! For some reason I have been thinking about my plans for next year a lot while running so I started a draft page today to start collecting my thoughts and ideas in preparation for editing and posting them at the end of the new year. I am trying my best to stay "in the zone", as in keeping focused on maintaining my running so I can run the next planned race, rather than calling it a season and waiting until the spring to start thinking about what runs to participate in. One race per month sounds like a good resolution to make ...

Tomorrow is an optional day off, too, or a 5K. Last week, I ran 8K after replacing it with the optional 5K so I felt somewhat obligated to run rather than taking a rest day. I will wait to see how I feel tomorrow, but at this time, I am planning to run. My training schedule will be adding an additional optional rest day by December, and the way I see it, as we head into winter, I am probably going to have a lot of "non-optional" rest days so I would like to get in as much running as scheduled by my training program as possible between now and then. :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The 6.5K that became a 7K

Day #2, Week #2 Road Work training
7K @ 51:40
Pace 7:21 min/km

As I type, it is a dark, cold and rainy evening. I was very lucky to run today while the weather was still great!

Angus and I went out together for my daily run, and it was a great one. I was lost completely in my thoughts, and recall very little from the run itself! Angus is terrific to run with when he is the solo dog; when I have one of the others with us, he can be a bit of a puller, as if he is in competition with either Kim or Wallace to have his nose ahead of theirs at all times. Today, it was almost like he wasn't with me - perfectly at my pace without tugging at all on the leash, and as I have noticed with all my dogs, they pretty much have all our running paths memorized so they turn at all the right spots, too, without prompting. :) At least I now know that should they ever get lost in this city in any of these areas, they know the running path home!

It was a great, easy run, so much so that I forgot to check my Garmin for mileage and was closer to 7K than 6.5K when I remembered to look at it, and then decided that I just had to keep running! :) I'm feeling good, as I am these days after all my runs, and I just have to say, I am a little floored that I am doing so well and feeling so good when I had expected to feel more tired. Huh!

On a side note, I registered officially for the Santa Shuffle 5K Run on Dec. 4 here in London. I was eyeing the Jingle Bells 5K Run in Burlington on the 11th, "Canada's only all-Santa race." I thought it would be so much fun to be in a run dressed in a mandatory Santa suit that participants receive instead of a run shirt. I still need to add this race to my "wish list" for future races. However, it's just a little too much for us schedule-wise right now, and the effort to drive 2 hours away for a 5K race is just not do-able. Maybe next year?

Also, I have been eyeing the online half marathon training programs on the Running Room site. I am leaning toward joining one in the new year to see what I can learn from their program. For my NF half marathon training, I used the program included with my training materials from the 10K group last year. However, I would like to try a different one to see what it does for me. I might consider joining the actual group based out of the London store, but it looks like it is all evenings and at this time, that doesn't work for me.

I suspect tomorrow's blog posting will be centred on the significantly changing weather! :(

Monday, November 15, 2010

Official First Day of Week #2 Training - The Monday 8K

Day #1, Week #2 Road Work training
8K @ 1:00:51
Pace 7:36 min/km

How lucky can I get? It's November and I can still run outside easily! :) :)

First, it was nice to have yesterday off from running. I took advantage of the fact that I could "sleep in" (I stayed in bed until 8:00 a.m., which is late for me). It also gave me an opportunity to get all of my running gear washed and ready for this week. :)

So today's run went well again, and I am very pleased with it. I was 30+ seconds slower than last week's 8K - LOL! Angus and Wallace ran with me today, and they were perfect running partners, as always. I can almost forget that they are there because they are now running in pace with me. Only when we pass the occasional dog being walked or pass by some Canada geese does the tugging on their leashes attached to water belt alert me to the fact that something other than keeping pace with me has caught their attention ...

It is so hard to believe I was fine in a s/s shirt and shorts again today. The breeze was ever so slightly cooler than last week, but not enough to bother me. Rather than spring-like weather similar to Saturday, it was definitely looking and feeling like autumn again. A ton of leaves have fallen, on both my lawn (!!) and elsewhere. Yet another great thing about running - it's taking the time to notice the changes in life around us.

Yesterday I noticed for the first time that my shins were tender to the touch. There is no problem when running or walking, but if I scratch my leg or rub moisturizer on them, I feel a slight tenderness, similar to a bruise. I googled this and read a gamut of answers, from needing new running shoes, increasing mileage too much, increasing speed too much, and running too much on pavement. I also read that this is normal for some people to the other extreme (stop and rest NOW!!!! before you injure yourself and can't run for six months!!!!!!). Whew! Clearly a little discernment is needed when researching on the internet. :)

Anyway, as it stands, I keep a record of the mileage on my shoes by using, and the two Saucony pairs that I rotate between (a purple and a green pair) still have many kilometres to go before they are retired to non-running duty. I did increase my mileage last week significantly (more than the recommended 10%) after taking three easier, "restful" running weeks after my half marathon so it's possible that it is a physical reaction to increased mileage. Common sense tells me that I am fine to continue for now, but if the pain persists or increases, than perhaps I will need to reassess my training schedule so that I do not end up developing painful shin splints.

Nevertheless, still feeling very good about my running so far! :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homemade Powdered Laundry Soap

2 cups Borax
2 cups Arm & Hammer washing soda
1 cup Arm & Hammer baking soda
1 bar Ivory pure soap
10-15 drops essential oil (optional)

With a cheese grater, shred the Ivory pure soap. Add the shredded soap to a food processor and combine with the washing soda, baking soda, and Borax (30 seconds). Store in a covered jar (preferably glass versus plastic). Use 1/4 cup per load. If you want a scent, add 10-15 drops of your favourite essential oil.

This takes very little time to make. It is more economical than purchasing laundry soap from the store (save $$$). A huge benefit is that is better for the environment. :) Commercial laundry detergents are filled with chemicals and synthetic fragrances that your skin will absorb from your clothing and bedsheets. Sleeping issues can be attributed to inhaling these fragrances all night.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Great Week !! 10K Today and 44K Total

Day #6, Week #1 Training
10K @ 1:15:28
Pace 7:33 min/km

Total km for Week #1 = 44
This is the most mileage I have done in a week (previous record: 42 km in September 2010).

Another great day of running. A great first week of training. :) I did it!

For me, today's weather was *perfect* for running. Sunny, but not too bright so that I was blinded by the sunshine. Warm, but not too warm to make me sweat. Breezy to cool me and make me feel comfortable while running, but not to chill me. I couldn't ask for a better day! :)

Overall, my run was strong and after checking my splits, I am pleased to see how consistent I was for the most part with my pace. I was feeling very tired in the very last 1/2 K, right at the end of my run, but my pace was still good so the wave of tiredness didn't affect my run.

I took Wallace with me today. I just didn't feel like taking two dogs with me today because I just wanted to concentrate on running my 10K after six consecutive days of running. He was fantastic and I think he enjoyed having Mommy all to himself (he is truly a Momma's boy!).

Today is also when I learned that the footbridge near the barracks / King St. area has reopened. This has hampered foot traffic all summer, but as it turns out, the wait was well worth it as the bridge path has been made wider and is much better than before. In fact, all the areas along the Thames Valley path that have been closed due to construction this summer have reopened and I am so impressed by all the improvements - I think they really listened to Londoners as all the changes they made involved good, common sense. I have been avoiding this section of town and I am thrilled to have access again with great changes to boot! I can return to adding a bit of variety to my daily runs.

I am very thrilled to have 6 out of 6 scheduled runs this week completed, to have done so well pace-wise in all of them, and to be able to say that I have had a great start! I know that the next seven weeks of road work will not all be like this, but at least I have a week's worth of posts to refer back to if I ever feel discouraged or bummed out during this training plan.

Tonight we are going out with friends and I am looking forward to having a few pints of beer as a reward for my great week of running! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Yahoo! Great 6.5K

Day #5, Week #1 Training
Pace 7:16 min/km

Two thumbs up for my run today. :) :)

Kim and Wallace headed out the door with me, and once again, I was under a time constraint so I wasn't sure if I could run a 6.5K in time. The sun was once again glorious and the temperature was the warmest it has been all week - amazing! I think it was 18 degrees C at one point, which made it feel like spring rather than November. The weather has definitely been on my side, assisting me with getting a great first week of training in ...

I checked my splits and was shocked to see my first K was done in under 7 minutes - that never happens unless I am in an organized run/race so wow! So much for feeling sluggish in the first few K like I did yesterday. I am so surprised to see how "well" I did considering that this is my fifth day of running consecutively ... aren't I supposed to be feeling tired and less energetic by now? Maybe it will hit me more tomorrow when I run 10K after all this? My next week is a repeat of this past week except with an additional 1.5K added to the "long run" on Saturday.

I have changed my music significantly. For most of the summer, I have been listening to a lot of fast beat techno music - remixes of Usher, Lady Gaga, Sarah McLachlan, Rihanna, etc. However, since I am supposed to be running "easy" for the next 8 weeks, I decided I would listen to "easier" listening music. My Hear Music albums I picked up from Starbucks Coffee have been ideal. Yesterday I listened to Have You Heard? Fall 2008, which begins with See How I Run by Jessie Baylin - how fitting and such a nice easy beat to run to. :) Today it was Hear Music Playlist, Vol. 2. with great beats from music such as Season Song by KaiserCartel. Awesome music! I wish Starbucks would have continued selling these compilations because I loved them. I have seen blogs with music gadgets and I will see if I can find one this weekend for mine so I can periodically share favourite running tunes.

Now I have to figure out what 10K route to run tomorrow ...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Woo Hoo! 8K is done for the week ...

Day #4, Week #1 Training
Pace 7:25 min/km

I am very very pleased! :) :)

First, this is the fourth day in a row that I have run. I am quite confident that I have not run four days consecutively previously this year because I adhere to the three-days-rest-per-week training schedule I learned from my Runner's Choice 10K running club last year. I was wondering how this run would go for me ...

My run started sluggishly and my legs felt a little stiff, but as always, I really try not to judge my runs by the first 2K, and sure enough, once I hit that mark, I was actually in pretty good shape. I felt a wave of sluggishness at the 4.5K mark and again at the 6K mark; however, when I looked at my splits later on after downloading my Garmin recording, my speed was consistent throughout so it looks like it was more of a sluggish feeling rather than an actual sluggishness in running pace.

Second, I am very satisfied with my pace in an 8K on my fourth day of running - I half expected to run a very slooooow easy run today; therefore, I am pleased with maintaining my average pace.

Finally, I really noticed, when I looked down at my bare legs in shorts today, how more defined my calves and shins have become. I love all the muscle indentations and the shaped definition from running ... I wouldn't mind seeing some of that transferred to my hip and butt area, but I will take what I can get - oy! :) :) I have always admired runners' legs so if mine are starting to head in that general direction, I will be a happy camper. :)

Angus and Wallace ran with me again today and they were clearly happy to be out. They ran well and slept deeply after we arrived home. Wallace has excellent muscle definition all along his hind-side and back legs; clearly this mixed breed rescue dog has running genes in him (he never tires). Angus, our American-breed yellow labrador retriever, was bred for speed in short distances, so he starts off well and can push my pace, but he can start lagging after about 8. Kim looks like he is trotting when he is beside me - I have seen him run across a field to try to catch a squirrel and he is phenomenally fast. When it comes to marathon training time, both Wallace and Kim will do well on the weekend long runs.

My fifth day tomorrow - 6.5K. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

5K instead of Scheduled 8K

Day #3, Week #1 Training
Pace 7:24 min/km

Today I ran into a bit of a time crunch. I was out the door with Angus & Wallace at the right time for an 8K run, but bumped into a neighbour during my warm-up walk and ended up chatting for far too long. Good chat, but I then realized that my allotted time for running was messed up. Rather than taking my usual 8K route, I headed to the cemetery/park near my home just to get some running in. It is a pretty route and a little challenging because I start at the top of a hill, run down it on one side before running up it on the other side. I was still hoping that I could sqeeeeeze an 8K in, but after checking my watch at the 4K mark, I knew that 6K maximum was all I could get done today. This is when I started thinking about my schedule for tomorrow and decided to stop at the bottom of the hill at the 5K mark, and officially switch today's scheduled 8K with tomorrow's 5K. I hate doing this in my first week of training, but it is it what is.

The days are still beautiful for running. I was out in a l/s shirt and shorts today as it was just bit cooler in the shade than previous days this week. I saw the forecast for next week and it looks, at this point, that I might be running in wet snow conditions next week.

On a side note, it is official - my bruised toe from the half marathon has finally turned a dark blue. :( I am surprised by how long it took to darken (?). It is not sore at all, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that the toenail doesn't die and fall off - ew! I experienced this once with a fingernail when I accidentally caught my hand in a slammed car door (ouch!!).!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Very Enjoyable 6.5K

Day #2, Week #1 Training
Pace 7:19 min/km

A great run on a gorgeous day. :) Kim and Wallace formed my running group today, and the three of us headed out for the 6.5K. The temperature was right, the sun was shining, and once again, I could get away with just wearing a t-shirt and shorts. I'm enjoying this November so far!

Once again, I enjoyed a relaxed run in which I was able to forget that I was running, but lose myself in my thoughts. I have both read about this and heard it from fellow runners how this is an aspect of running they love best - the time alone to get lost in one's thoughts. I get that and it probably explains why I truly don't mind running alone; it's enjoyable to run with someone to chat with while running, but I don't need it for running.

I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that my local run series, the London Honda Series, held their annual celebration last night. I attended so I could cheer the age group winners as well as keeping my fingers crossed to be the winner of the Las Vegas Marathon trip (flight, accommodation & marathon entry fee expenses all paid). I was last in my age group so I didn't warrant receiving a money prize or a t-shirt, and my name was not called for any of the draws. :( However, it was still great to see that the winner of the Vegas draw was truly someone who deserved it. She is from a family of four who, together, participated in all six runs this year. I was glad to see this family win the big prize, even if it meant I didn't win it, because honestly, the only interest I have in going to Las Vegas is if someone else pays for it; it's not my ideal vacation spot, by any stretch of the imagination, but the opportunity to participate in a big American city marathon would be cool!.

So! In closing, I am feeling great this evening with my after run "high" in addition to just feeling healthy overall. By the way, don't let my After Run Shake posting fool you - I enjoyed a pint of Guinness and a serving of sweet potato fries last night at the Series finale. :) What is that rule? Eat well 80% of the time ...? :) :)

Also, tomorrow is Day #3 of running ... in the past, I have usually taken a rest day after two consecutive runs so it will be interesting, for me, to see how I do this week with a training schedule that calls for running six consecutive days, with an optional day off on the 4th day and the longest run of the week on the 6th day ...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Official First Day of Week #1 Training - The Monday 8K

Pace 7:32 min/km

What an incredibly gorgeous day! The temperature is up to 13 degrees C and the sun is shining. A great day for a run. :) So hard to believe that I was writing about the potential of snow last week!

So ... ta da! Today marks my first day of my latest 17 week journey - 10K in 60 minutes - in an effort to keep me motivated over the winter season, and (hopefully) improve my pace for next year's running. It was very apropos that my new program starts on a day like today - a good omen. :) The weather was such that I could get away with wearing a t-shirt and shorts; I even removed my baseball cap @ the 4K mark to help me cool me down. It felt a little odd to see all the walkers wearing coats and hats as I ran by them, but I am quite sure that if I slowed down while in the shade in the park, I would be asking them if I could borrow some clothes! As long as I kept running and stayed mainly in the sun, it was easy to stay warm. The very good news is that the weather is supposed to be in the double digits for the next two weeks so this should get me off to a very good start.

Angus and Wallace joined me on this run. I am very lucky to have three young male dogs who all love to run. It's still fun to see how excited they get when they notice my "pre-run routine." Smart fellas, too! They run to the door, and wag with their "pick me! pick me!" excitement. I do run into a few challenges with them, like when they stop on a dime to expel (!#@!), or if squirrels and certain aggressive dogs come within our running range. However, the benefits I derive from my 4-legged running group far outweigh the challenges, and I think they are enjoying this endurance adventure I am on ...

I also changed my Garmin's data fields. I altered it so that I only can see two views - my current pace and the total mileage. My training program for the next 8 weeks is all about easy runs with a designated distance; therefore, I have the total mileage data field on-screen so I know when to stop running. I also have the pace data field on-screen so that when I feel curious as to how fast (or slow!) I am running, I can check it. The rest of the information can wait until I get home. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

After Run Shake

In the blender:
1 cup organic plain yogurt (Stonyfield Farms)
1 frozen organic banana
1 cup frozen organic berries (President's Choice blue, rasp, mixed, etc.)
2 handfuls organic baby spinach leaves (Earthbound Farms); OR,
2 cups chopped organic kale
Brita-filtered water (add just enough to make it "blendable" and the consistency of a shake)

1 scoop protein powder (Genuine Health Vegan proteins+ powder)
1 tablespoon organic flax seed oil (Omega Nutrition)
1 tablespoon raw organic apple cider vinegar (Bragg's)

Updated Nov. 14/10

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sluggish 8K - Blah!

Pace Not.A.Clue.

Today's run kinda sucked. :( LOL! Too bad, really, after yesterday's lovely meditative and relaxed run. I was looking forward to a similar kind of run today, but alas, it was not to be. For most of it, I felt very slow and sluggish and so so so tempted multiple times just to walk. :( But I didn't, and I ran the whole 8K so there is a positive silver lining to this grey cloudy run. :) And I am feeling good after running (although this, in part, can also be attributed to the glass of delicious red wine I am drinking while I type this!). :) :)

Kim and Wallace joined me on this run. Angus was with his daddy and I left the other two doggies we are dog-sitting at home (they are both 13 year old gals who are not the running dog types. It will be busy for me at evening walk time tonight!).

There were some wonderful moments. I still have in my mind the memory of the path that I was running on as I headed toward the foot bridge turn around point - it was just so pretty and it was one of the rare times during this run when I felt good while running! :) It's funny how the weather channel was predicting snow last night, but I was actually a little too warm today because the weather turned out to be gorgeous. I could have run in a t-shirt and shorts and been just fine (until I stopped running, that is - brrrrrr! - that after-run chill that sets in can be deadly if I stay outside for too long).

So today is the last day of official "rest" running. I have tomorrow (Sunday) off and on my new training plan, I ideally will have Sundays off from here on out. As of Monday, I will also be increasing my running to 5-6 days week for the next 8 weeks. This really is the craziest time of year for me to try to attempt this, but we'll see. I'm invested in this more for the journey and experience as I am in the destination. :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

8K Garmin-free & With 2 Dogs

Pace Not.A.Clue.

After taking the last two days off from running, I headed out today with Angus and Wallace on my usual 8K route. I was scheduled to do a 6.5K but since I missed another 6.5K this week, I opted for additional mileage to make amends in a small way to my schedule. The wind was a little chilly, but not enough to wear a jacket so I doubled up with a l/s and a s/s shirt, wore track pants, and a headband to keep my ears warm. I was a little cold at first, but soon warmed up as I started running. Although it was grey and cloudy with momentary bursts of sunshine, it was still a great time for running temperature wise. It spit a bit but the rain held off while I was out. The weather people are predicting snow to fly tonight temporarily before it warms up a little. This is another reason why I pushed myself out the door, and I did not regret it.

Isn't it funny how the hardest part is getting out the door? I felt so good as I running along the path, listening to an Usher remix at that moment, enjoying that particular spot in the park as I ran toward my foot bridge mark before turning around. I started thinking then how odd it is that I am not rushing out the door to go for a run because I feel so good in these moments. I guess I dread the first 2K I have to run "less" enjoyably before I finally to get the "good" part of my run. :)

I also want to address the fact that I did not run on Wednesday as planned. I took an additional day off this week from running after all. I just felt bone tired the other day, not the usual tired-from-my-day, or the not-enough-sleep-tired, but the burned-out-bone-tired kind so I gave myself permission to cancel my run. I would like to think that today's very enjoyable run is in part a result of some of that extra rest. I felt relaxed and I was lost in my thoughts, actually zoning out from the fact that I was running at all. Doot doo doo, la la la, just running along with my two doggies, exercising them, exercising me, but enjoying my thoughts and daydreams. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

BI-YEARLY REVIEW: May-October 2010

May = 106.56 km
June = 114.2 km
July = 120.9 km
August = 127.4 km
September = 146.8 km
October = 136.8 km

TOTAL KM = 752.66 km

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just a Nice 6K

Pace Not.A.Clue.

I ran today without my Garmin, but with Angus and Wallace. It was a nice, easy run. I was scheduled to run 5K, but decided to take my 6K route. I'm glad I did because it was scenic, peaceful and quiet. I felt a few surges of strong, faster running, balanced by a few waves of tiredness. It's what I have come to expect during easy runs after a race.

When I woke up yesterday morning, it was so cold! We experienced just below freezing temperatures for a change, and I could feel it. I was so pleased it was a scheduled day off from running! I may need to adjust my running time by going later in the day after it has warmed up so that I am guaranteed not to slip on frost-covered roads.

I have learned how to create an additional page on my blog and I am using it for posting my next training program, rather than posting it week to week on the home page. I have the month of November posted. It will be an adjustment for me to add an extra day of running per week ... or possibly two, if I opt to run on the Thursdays instead of taking the day off. Of course, there may be forced, multiple days off per week if the snow starts flying soon!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monthly Review - OCTOBER 2010

136.8 km TOTAL
(for the first time, 10 km less than the month before)

15 hours 28 minutes TOTAL
(for the first time, 2 hours 20 minutes less than the month before)

REST WEEK (fitness running rather than training running) - Nov. 1-7

Monday - OFF
Tuesday - 8K
Wednesday - 6.5K
Thursday - OFF
Friday - 5K
Saturday - 6.5K
Sunday - OFF

Sunday, October 31, 2010

HALLOWEEN HAUNTING 10K - London Honda Series : A New PR on My One Year Anniversary :)

Halloween Haunting 10K

Chip 1:09:45

As I type the next day after the race, I am still on Cloud 9! :)

I want to start this post with my bib because of a little game I play. I always look for little signs and seemingly insignificant details and think of them as good omens. I have done this since I was a kid and it's just a Pollyanna kind of thing I still do. For example, last weekend, I ran 21K @the Niagara Falls International Marathon (Half Marathon). It was also my 21st race to date. I thought this was a good sign, running 21K as my 21st race (on a side note: It was also my 13th race of the year, but I have never been bothered by the #13 so this number just made me smile without feeling dread or an "oh oh!").

So, this past Saturday afternoon, when I pulled my bib out of the race kit bag at home, I looked at this number and showed it to Ben ... "See?" I said. "13 + 8 = 21. I am wearing on my chest tomorrow the number of km I ran last weekend and the number of races I have under my belt. It's a sign, sweetie! Tomorrow is going to be a great run!"

The following Sunday morning, when we arrived at Springbank Park, the 3K fun run was in its finishing stages. I always find it fun to see the number of people milling about, most of them with bibs on, at these events. It is a fun energy and has become a part of what I now consider an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning. :) It was even more fun at this event with the number of runners wearing costumes! Huge kudos to them for being such fun participants - I used my dog as an excuse not to dress up! :)

Ben stayed in the parking lot to "dress" Angus while I took off to pick up my chip because I was anxious to be at the starting line in decent time. We did not dress him specifically as anything. We just went to the dollar store and bought a red bow tie for around his neck and bumblebee wings on his back. $2 tops! Good enough. :)

This is when I learned, from the announcer on the loudspeaker, that our chips would start once we crossed the start line. I was so pleased to hear that because I knew right then that I would get an accurate reading of my time. Although I "felt" that perhaps I could set a new 10K PR today, I truly was downplaying it and not counting on it as I had Angus with me and my body was still tired from last week's HM.

Soon after Ben met me at the start line with Angus the bow-tied bumblebee, the starter gun sounded. It took a good minute for those of us at the back of the pack to get across the starting line. As I started to run in the first leg, I saw and felt the huge difference between last year and this year. Last year, in my first 10K, I watched as swoooosh! the majority of runners ran way ahead of me and virtually disappeared out of sight. With only 5K race experience, it was not something I expected and I felt both left behind and a little demoralized and as I did my best to stick to my pace. This year, because all the 5K runners started at the same time as the 10K runners, there was almost 600 people running together so I definitely did not feel alone! If anything, it was just a touch too crowded for a change (or more than I am used to on that park road). Everything was going great until the 1.5 km point. This is when Angus decided he needed to take a dump! All that time before the race, but he needed to go right then and there ... so off to the side we went while I waited for him to finish to pick it up with one of the baggies I was armed with in my pocket. :( Good-bye PR!

1km 6:35
2km 6:43

Just past the dam, we saw Ben taking pictures and Angus was very excited to see him. I think the dog was a little surprised that we kept running because he was whining as we ran up the hill past the 2K mark and kept looking back to see if Ben was following. :( A little irritating for me as I was trying to concentrate on both my pace and getting up the hill.

What I like about this point in the race course is that, as I am heading toward the hairpin turn past Storybook Gardens, I get to see all the runners pass me on their way to crossing the finish line point to mark the first 5K. I waved to my friend from the dog park, who is a Boston marathoner and a local learn-to-run coach. She was excited to see Angus at my side. I also saw my pace friend from last year's 10K running club, who is a wonderful running inspiration. :) It's great to see all the other runners as well, the serious, super fast place runners followed by the still fast, but costumed runners. After making the hairpin turn, I then can see if there is actually anybody running behind me!

3km 7:09
4km 6:54

Ben was back at the finish line, taking pictures of us again as Angus and I headed to the 5K mark. I watched as the majority of runners in my vicinity went to the left coral to finish their run as I headed right to keep running through. I heard someone call out, "Go dog go!" and it made me smile because I knew he was cheering Angus.

Once I cleared this area to begin my second loop, the route was definitely more empty of runners :) but there were numerous people in front of me setting the pace. I felt good and knew that the next few K would be my optimal time; it was the last few K where I would slow.

5km 6:59
6km 6:49
7km 7:05

Upon reaching a water station, I stopped to give Angus a cup of water and to have a drink myself. It felt like a long stop, but I am sure it was just a matter of seconds. I had to make sure my running partner was hydrated, too!

8km 7:14

By this time, the serious, super fast runners were now heading to overlap me and several other runners. These guys can run a 10K faster than I can run a 5K - so impressive! I was starting to feel just a little bit tired at this point, but knew I was not too far from the finish. I also looked at my Garmin and saw that I had completed 8K in just over 53 minutes so "if" this had been an 8K run, I had set a new PR by four minutes! :) :) I started calculating the math and thinking that I just might be in a position to set a new PR in the 10K for myself ...

9km 7:05

As I ran closer to the finish line, I could feel myself slowing a bit to conserve my energy for the little hill just before the finish line (which can feel like a big hill when your energy is spent!). This is when I saw my friend again, the learn-to-run coach, standing and ready to cheer me on. I smiled as I ran toward her and called out, "I think I might be setting a PR today ..." :) At that point, she started whooping and really cheering me on, telling me to run faster and pacing beside me for a short distance. This is what I really needed, and motivated by her enthusiastic cheering, I gunned it and ran as fast I could toward the finish, overtaking several runners along the way (Ben said later, wow! You were really running fast at the end there!). As I crossed the finish line, I saw the gun time of 1:10 on the race clock, and I knew then that I had done it! :) :) A new 10K PR for me!

10km 1:09:45

Angus was thrilled to see his master at the finish line waiting for him, and Ben was very enthusiastic about my result, knowing that this would make me very happy. After running multiple races solo, it makes such a difference to have someone there at the finish to congratulate you and cheer your success!

After my cool down and orange/banana munching [everything else had been devoured by the time I got to the tables :( ], we headed back to the vehicle to head home for a hot shower. I asked Ben to take a picture of me and my co-runner, hence the new photo as a header. :)

I am feeling great about this and will no doubt have some reflections after the fact later. Suffice it to say, it was a great run to have the weekend after completing my first half marathon in seven years. :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

3.5K Easy with NO Garmin!

Pace - Not.A.Clue! :)

I don't ever recall going for an easy run without my Garmin, without checking my pace, and with the intention of running as far as Starbucks for a "no room" Americano! :) Very enjoyable. Great weather - coolish - 6 degrees C - with a bit of wind. My pace was slow and sluggish-feeling - oh well!

I wore my black running thermal shirt under a s/s tech shirt and it was a little too warm by the end of my run for it so I won't be using it tomorrow. I am undecided if I will try wearing a s/s shirt under another s/s shirt for warmth tomorrow or a l/s tech shirt. It probably depends on how chilly the breeze/wind is tomorrow. I also wore my running pants; I will probably stick with these tomorrow. I am a little more obsessed with this after screwing this up at the NFIM HM.

I am off shortly to pick up my race kit for tomorrow; it takes ~40 minutes to walk to the running store from my place and I have dogs that need to be walked so I am combining the two.

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Idea / Challenge re: Garmin

This is an idea I have been giving some thought to .... a Dailymile friend posted the following when I commented on my blah! sluggish 5K run a few days after completing the half marathon. As soon as I read his reply, it resonated with me ...

Don't sweat it. Take it easy. Remember you've been training hard. Lots of people take one or two weeks off. Personally, I don't like doing that myself either. Here's a challenge: Leave the watch at home and just go for a nice run. Don't worry about pace, time or distance.

First, similar to him, I don't want to take two weeks off after the HM. Although I think this is a great idea (back in August, I did take one week off when I had family visiting from South Korea; my running was strong after taking a week's rest from it), I am afraid to take this much time off at this time of year for the fear of not getting back into it! This has happened to me before (2003) and I truly fear it re-occurring. Also, I am predicting another snow-filled winter so my running schedule will definitely become more haphazard. Last winter, I ran up until December 23rd before the snow hit us, and I was not able to run again until one day in January, one day in February and then haphazardly more often starting in March (I checked my connect.garmin site to make sure memory served me correctly, and it did - I love having a history to refer back to!). Knowing that I will likely be forced into a running hiatus at some point, I do not want to start one now when the weather is so wonderful for running. :(

Second, I think his challenge is a very smart one. I never run without wearing my Garmin. Since deciding to run this half marathon back in May, and focusing on getting myself up to a level so that I could conceivably train for a half marathon, I have never run without it ...

So! I have decided that I will run without it tomorrow (planning for an easy 3-4K run). I will wear it during my 10K race on Sunday (the chip will be starting gun-time based), but all next week, during my rest, "non-training" week, I will keep it off. Now here is the interesting thing ... the new training program I am starting in November for a 10K PR has eight (8) weeks worth of road work - designated distances to run on certain days, but with no pace assignments. What I would like to experiment with is switching the pace and time windows "off" on my Garmin for this training. I will wear it to track my progress so I can download it online (I love this too much!), but I won't use it to "check" my progress while running. I will just set it to the mileage window so I can adhere to my designated K for the day, but I will just run for the sake of running and without checking my watch for pace.