Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monthly Review - DECEMBER 2011

0 km :(

Unfortunately, due to my torn calf muscle, December 2011 matches my mileage for November 2011 and January 2011.

Physiotherapy month!

Monday, December 5, 2011

One Year Ago Today ...

Yesterday, when I realized that it was December 4th, I realized that this date has some significance to me. Here is my post from one year ago - my last race of 2010 when I realized I needed to stop running because I had painful achilles tendonitis. It was also the last day of 'light' snow - within 24 hours of this posting, "Snowmageddon" struck our area with great force. This is one of the reasons I now have a gym membership - so I can keep running all winter when we are snowbound again (it's going to happen - all these warmer temperatures over the Great Lakes means a heavier snowfall for us at some point).

It has been raining here non-stop for the last 24 hours. If it were colder, we would probably have another Snowmageddon on our hands!

A year ago, I had just completed my first 13K run without any walk breaks and Week #4 of my half marathon training. I was at Week #14 this time before ending my training with a torn calf muscle. One of these days, I will complete a half marathon training program from start to finish without injury - LOL!

My calf has felt better since my last physiotherapy session; I think I am ready to try short distance running again and will discuss this with my PT, Brian, at this Friday's PT session. He told me that it would not be "him" telling me when I could start running again, but that it would be "me" - that I would know when I could. I now understand what he meant. The last few days, it finally feels ready. I will keep doing my assigned strengthening/stretching exercises and check in with him to see if I can try running next week.

Fingers crossed !!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Monthly Review - NOVEMBER 2011

0 km :(

Unfortunately, due to my torn calf muscle, November 2011 matches my mileage for January 2011.

Bummer! That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? Ha! :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Torn Calf Muscle - Part II: My Sports Doctor Appointment

My Torn Calf Muscle - Part I: Doctor Referral

November 3rd - Initial Appointment with a Sports Doctor

Funny to feel happy about seeing a doctor!

I was assigned to Dr. J. I arrived at my appointment armed with plenty of questions and a calendar record of all my runs, my injury dates, etc. The doctor laughed at my preparedness and we got down to business.

The highlights:

  • I made an error in judgment running "too soon" after my injury at the half marathon. She reprimanded me this - LOL! However, I defended myself by telling her that if my calf had hurt, I would never have continued running. Unfortunately, it only felt like a tight muscle at the time, a cramp, rather than an injury. She agreed that hindsight is 20/20. :)
  • I explained that in the time between my walk-in clinic appointment and this one, my left calf had actually 'worsened.' I experienced sharp, shooting pains up my leg when cooking at Thanksgiving (on my feet in the kitchen for a longer-than-normal time period), and that it bothered me (ached; shooting pains; tightening along the calf in waves), usually after I walked the dogs and after yoga, even though it felt fine while participating in physical activity.
  • I repeated to her what the walk-in clinic doctor had advised me. She frowned and made a few facial expressions, indicating her disapproval of this advice. However, she didn't say anything negative about it, but simply said that I was able to be pro-active about my healing.
  • My absence from running will be for a longer period of time. :( I was 4-1/2 weeks into my "6 weeks off" advice from the walk-in clinic. Dr. J told me that I would need to be off longer, that it would be closer to 8-9 weeks before I could run again on a treadmill with a physiotherapist in a controlled setting. I didn't like hearing that, but I admit it made sense to me. My calf/leg has hurt more in the last two weeks that it did while I was running on it (!!) so I could feel that it wasn't going to be read for a return to running within another week or so.
  • Dr. J spent more time studying and touching my calf, and said that she could feel the difference between my right and left calf. She could also see an area on my hurt leg that was lightly protruding (swelling). She also poked around my calf, establishing where it hurt and where it did not.
  • When I told Dr. J about my achilles tendon injury from last year, and how I had been reading about injuries stemming from a previous injury or connected to another problem area in the leg. She was interested in this, asked me several questions about it, and spent a little time poking around my left achilles tendon.

So this is where I am at ... I have:
  • an ultrasound booked in a week for my calf and achilles tendon
  • a physiotherapy appointment booked for the day after my ultrasound
  • a follow-up appointment with Dr. J in two weeks from my initial appointment with her.
I was told that my leg will heal and that I will run again. :) However, this part of my leg might be a little bit of an issue for me in the future, in that I will need to really warm it up in the future (pay extra attention to ensuring it is warmed up well before a run).

I am feeling much better about my leg. I have gone from being told "nothing you can do about it" to an ultrasound (to see what it really looks like in there), several appointments with a doctor specializing in sports medicine, and a series of physiotherapy appointments. I am especially pleased with the ultrasound because I want a picture of what has happened to my muscle.

Physiotherapy Referral Notes:

DIAGNOSIS - L calf strain 7-1/2 weeks ago; suspect partial tear at MTJ 4-1/2 weeks ago

L Achilles pain 1 year ago - resolved on it own



COMMENTS: stretches; strengthening; ROM, proprioception; modalities


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Torn Calf Muscle - Part I: Doctor Referral

I am sooooo behind on my posts. :( Funny how my running injury has killed my desire to post on my blog, too. :(

I have three race posts to edit and publish: my Springbank Half Marathon from September, my Festival City 10K, and my missed 10K in Grand Bend - the Pinery Provincial Park Run. I keep promising to get this done!

However, I am also behind on my posts on doctor's appointments, physio, etc. so I am going to jump in at this point. because my race reports are already five weeks+ late. I should get the more 'timely' posts done first and then catch up on the others when I can. That's my theory anyway! :)

OCTOBER 19th - Walk-in Clinic Doctor Visit

In London, we are extremely fortunate to have the Fowler-Kennedy Clinic. From the moment that I realized I truly had an injury, I knew that I wanted to be treated by the FKC.

I called the clinic and was told that I needed a referral from my doctor. Because they still had a few appointments available at the end of the week, I went to a walk-in clinic that day rather than booking an appointment with my family doctor. I wanted a quick referral. :)

My appointment with the doctor at the walk-in clinic was quick. He barely looked at my calf, putting his hand around it and squeezing it a few times. We spent our time together discussing my injury. He was nice, but dismissive of referring me to the FKC - "They are only going to tell you what I am about to tell you." The doctor told me that runners hurt themselves 'all the time' in this area, that it was a common injury, and all that I needed to do was to stop running for 6 weeks and my leg would be fine. I told him that I was interested in facilitating the healing, that there must be something I could do besides ice packs/heating packs (which is what he also advised). He showed me the basic calf stretch most runners are familiar with - the lean against the wall , bend one leg, keep the other leg straight and stretch. He said if I had extended benefits, I could take advantage of physiotherapy and then wrote me a physio referral.

However, I did stress that I still wanted to see a sports doctor about my torn calf muscle, and a referral to the FKC was the main reason I had come into the clinic. He had no problem with my request for a second opinion, but it did leave me feeling a little mixed. My gut feeling is that my left achilles tendon injury at this time last year is connected to my current torn calf muscle on the same leg. I could follow this doctor's advice, and just not run for six weeks (with the caveat of seeing him again in six weeks if it was still bothering me), similar to what I did last year (the "do-nothing-but-rest-and-no-running" approach), or I could see this as a sign that my left leg needs to be treated professionally.

As it turns out, it took a week for the FKC to call me with an appointment with a sports doctor. In the interim, I started thinking that my referral was going to be 'refused.' :( Silly of me, I know, but this reflects how the seeds of doubt were planted by the walk-in clinic doctor that I might be making this injury more serious than it really was.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

London Honda Series 2011

The Series came to an official close last night for 2011. :)

Anyone who follows this blog knows that I participate in two different running series based out of our local Runners' Choice - the Runpiker Series (8 races outside of London throughout SW Ontario)* and the London Honda Series (6 races in London). To close the Series, there is a social/awards night held at a downtown bar/restaurant, The Honest Lawyer. Ben and I met my racing friend and her BF for drinks to celebrate the end of local summer racing, and to cheer all the winners from the different age categories. If interested in how the points are accumulated, check it out here. Again, anyone who follows this blog might remember that one of my goals for the year was to place 5th in my age category so I could win a $10 gift certificate to the store - woo hoo! :) I knew I wasn't fast enough to place in the top positions, but by participating in all the races, a runner can get an additional 30 points, and this is what I was counting on to bump me up in the rankings. :) I was on track until I injured myself at the 5th race - the Springbank Half Marathon. As a result, I could not run in the Halloween Haunting race a few weeks back, and ended up 'losing' potential points that would've made me a contender - LOL! I ended up in 8th place instead. Oh well - it's all in good fun. :) Maybe I can place 5th place next year. :) As it turns out, I have a very competitive age group. :)

Highlights from the evening:
  • Although the races attracted approximately the same number of runners as last year, twice as much money was raised this year over last year's "best-to-date." The organizer/store owner attributed this to the internet. When runners registered for a race, their name was automatically "linked" to a donation page. This made it easier for runners to solicit donations from others. Just awesome!
  • My name may not have been drawn for the Las Vegas trip top prize, but I did win a beautiful long sleeved winter running shirt. Love it! :)
  • Leslie Sexton won for her age group and it was then pointed out that she WON the half marathon in the Scotiabank Half Marathon in Toronto a month ago. VERY COOL! Ben and my racing friend's BF both reacted when she walked up to the microphone to accept her award - Oh her! We know her - she always crosses the finish line first! :) My racing friend and I just laughed because we don't know her - we are usually far behind her in these races. :)
  • Kudos to Runners' Choice - they already have next year's races planned and registration online will be ready within a few weeks. I have already added these dates to my calendar and can start planning for 2012. Love that! :)
As sad as it is to see the season close, it is just as well for me since I can't run just yet and I have some recovery weeks ahead of me before I can start training again. I am still seriously considering joining the half marathon clinic in January 2012 for the Forest City Road Races HM in April. I think this is do-able, but can't state that confidently until I know more about my torn calf muscle and where I am at with it.

I still enjoy the daydreaming about it. :)

*For participating in the Runpiker Series, I received a complimentary running shirt at the last race in Grand Bend. I mentioned this in my draft blog post that I have yet to publish! :(

Saturday, November 5, 2011

10, 000 Blog Hits

This blog reached 10,000 hits earlier today. Very, very cool! Thank you for contributing to this number of views since I started tracking them. :)

Unfortunately, I have been a poor blogger of late. I am also waaaaaay behind on checking my favourite blogs, too. :( There's not much to say on a blog which tracks my personal running experiences when I haven't been able to run for 5 weeks! :( I will try to be better at it from this point forward. As one of my DM friends pointed out to me through a PM, recovering from a running injury should be considered a part of training. I was encouraged to think of it this way so I am taking it to heart and will add my recovery notes to my running diary/blog.

Months ago, I spent some time writing and scheduling the twice weekly "Food Rules" posts for up until the end of October (when my race schedule was pretty much wrapping up for 2011). These posts were intended for my days off from running so that there would still be a daily post when I didn't have a regular run or race to post about. However, I didn't have an "in-case-of-injury" contingency plan prepared. :( I am putting a pause on it for now (essentially for the months of November and December), and will resume them (there are 60+ Food Rules in total) once my next round of training starts. I am still trying to figure out what is realistic for me ...

I have a few posts I need to catch up on - my Springbank Half Marathon post which was written ages ago, but went MIA when life became too busy and my home computer died for a few weeks. Time to finish those edits ... I will get this done. :) I have a doctor / ultrasound / physiotherapy update to report on and an overdue Festival City Run draft post, too. Last weekend, I volunteered at the Halloween Haunting Run so I have to get crackin' on this.

So here's to 10,000 hits and counting. :) Cheers!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BI-YEARLY REVIEW: May 2011 - October 2011


May = 151.4 km

June = 138.6 km

July = 220.3 km (my highest month-to-date by 40 km)

August = 203.4 km (my second highest month-to-date)

September = 169.2 km (initial injury month)

October = 19.8 km (torn calf muscle month)

TOTAL KM = 902.7 km

Previous Bi-Yearly Review: November 2010 - April 2011
TOTAL KM = 521.1 km

Previous Bi-Yearly Review: May 2010 - October 2010
TOTAL KM = 752.66 km

Monday, October 31, 2011

Monthly Review - OCTOBER 2011

19.8 km :(

Less km than when I resumed running in February 2011 after my achilles tendonitis and Snowmaggedon.

It's a fact of life after tearing my left calf muscle. :(

Keeping my fingers crossed that there will be running between now and Christmas!


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #39 - Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.

There is nothing wrong with eating sweets, fried foods, pastries, even drinking a soda every now and then, but food manufacturers have made eating these formerly expensive and hard-to-make treats so cheap and easy that we're eating them every day. The french fry did not become America's most popular vegetable until industry took over the jobs of washing, peeling, cutting, and frying the potatoes - and cleaning up the mess. If you made all the french fries you ate, you would eat them much less often, if only because they are so much work. The same holds true for fried chicken, chips, cakes, pies, and ice cream.Enjoy these treats as often as you're willing to prepare them - chances are good it won't be every day.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Friday, October 28, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #38 - Favour the kinds of oils and grains that have traditionally been stone-ground.

When grindstones were the only way to refine flour and oil, flour and oil were generally more nutritious. In the case of grain, more of the germ and fibre remains when it is ground on a stone;you can't get white flour from a stone. The nutritional benefits of whole grains are impressive: fibre; the full range of B vitamins; and healthy oils, all of which are sacrificed when the grain is refined on modern roller mills (as mentioned, highly refined flours are little different from sugar). And the newer oils that are extracted by modern chemical means tend to have less favourable fatty acid profiles and more additives than olive, sesame, palm fruit, and peanut oils that have been obtained the old-fashioned way.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Race Report from the Niagara Falls International Marathon ...

Although this isn't the race report I had hoped to be posting on my site, this inspirational and enjoyable post by Cynthia's Adventures is an excellent replacement for 2011. :) Cynthia just ran her first marathon in Niagara Falls.

My goal is see this blog looking similar to hers in 2013, with months worth of consistent running/training updates, complete with a successful full marathon race report in the fall. :) :) :)

Monday, October 24, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #37 - "The whiter the bread, the sooner you'll be dead."

This rather blunt bit of cross-cultural grandmotherly advice (passed down from both Jewish and Italian grandmothers) suggests that the health risks of white flour have been popularly recognized for many years. As far as the body is concerned, white flour is not much different from sugar. Unless supplemented, it offers none of the good things (fibre, B vitamins, healthy fats) in whole grains - it's little more than a shot of glucose. Large spikes of glucose are inflammatory and wreak havoc on our insulin metabolism. Eat whole grains and minimize your consumption of white flour. Recent research indicates that the grandmothers who lived by this rule were right: People who eat lots of whole grains tend to be healthier and to live longer.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Friday, October 21, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #36 - Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the colour of the milk.

This should go without saying. Such cereals are highly processed and full of refined carbohydrates as well as chemical additives.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My Cancelled Niagara Falls Half Marathon (2011)

A very sad post to write, and more than likely, not coming as a surprise for you to read. :(

It's official: I am not going to Niagara Falls this weekend. I have torn my left calf muscle. Although I am not limping or on crutches, I can feel the damage (tightness, dull pain at times, sharp shooting pains up the leg after standing for too long, swelling). I have been told 'no running' or physical activity for 6-8 weeks. I am currently waiting for a phone call from the Fowler-Kennedy Sports Clinic after my doctor acquiesced to my request for a referral to them.

Five weeks ago, I tore my calf muscle at the 18.5 km mark at my Springbank Half Marathon, and self-misdiagnosed it as a muscle cramp. Before my left leg suddenly seized up on me, I was on Cloud 9 - I was feeling great about how I was running and very pleased with how well my training was by this point. Although I PR'd by 11 minutes, I limped the last 3-ish km to the finish line, and felt concerned then by how much time it would take for me to heal. Three weeks later, after lots of R.I.C.E., and cutbacks on my training runs, I PR'd in the Festival City Run in Stratford. I used this race as a test to see where I was at with my leg 'cramp.' I ended up worsening my muscle tear at the 8K mark: I felt the "gravel hitting me in the back of the leg" sensation, the commonly-used description for a muscle tear, and this is when I realized I was in trouble.

This explains the lack of training updates on my blog, and why I stopped the automatic NFIM countdown posts I created for my blog weeks ago.

Last Sunday, I drove up to Grand Bend for the Pinery Provincial Park Road Races. It was the last run of the Runpiker's Series, and the Series shirts were being distributed to all the runners who had participated faithfully in them. I had pre-registered for the 10K a while ago so I had a race shirt to collect, too. :) I didn't want to miss out on this event and actually debated with myself on the drive north whether I could participate in at least the 5K ... when I took a wrong turn which ended up making me miss the start of the races. This was not just a coincidence (Divine Intervention?). :) I ended up cheering for my friends and fellow runners as they ran in, collecting my race shirts, eating my free egg sandwich and walking away empty-handed from the Series draw for big prizes. And I didn't re-injure my leg. :)

I needed to work through this disappointment on my own before sharing it with everyone here. The timing of my injury is very disappointing because this has been my #1 running goal since participating in the same event last October. However, I am okay with it now after allowing myself to go through different stages, which included a huge amount of denial, before finally reaching acceptance.

I am very grateful for having a terrific running season filled with so many fun races, a slew of successful secondary running goals and milestones, and proudly, quite a few PRs, before this occurred. I have already contacted my local running store to be a race volunteer in a few weeks at the annual Halloween Haunting race. I have run in it for the last three years, but will be on the sidelines this year volunteering instead.

I have draft posts written from these races and will edit/post them this week, for anyone interested in the details. I know that I love to read other people's race reports so I am assuming 'better late than never". :)

In closing this post, I just want to thank everyone who checks in on my blog for your supportive comments and encouragement throughout this year. I really appreciate how enthusiastic and positive you have been for me. This has definitely been one of the best aspects of running!! :) :) My posting will no doubt be haphazard for the next six weeks since I use this exclusively for recording my running and I will have nothing but physical therapy and rest to report on! :) However, at the top of my homepage, there is a tab called, "Training and Race Calendar (Nov. 2011-May 2012)." Six weeks from now is when this plan is supposed to start. Hopefully, I will heal in time for the next round of training for a spring half marathon. :) :)

Monday, October 17, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #35 - Eat sweet foods as you find them in nature.

In nature, sugars almost always come packaged with fibre, which slows their absorption and gives you a sense of satiety before you've ingested to many calories. That's why you're always better off eating the fruit rather than drinking its juice. (In general, calories taken in liquid form are more fattening because they don't make us feel full. Humans are one of the very few mammals that obtain calories from liquids after weaning). So don't drink your sweets, and remember: There is no such thing as a healthy soda.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Friday, October 14, 2011



from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #34 - Sweeten and salt your food yourself.

Whether soups or cereals or soft drinks, foods and beverages that have been prepared by corporations contain far higher levels of salt and sugar than any ordinary human would ever add - even a child. By sweetening and salting these foods yourself, you'll make them to your taste, and you will find you're consuming a fraction as much sugar and salt as you otherwise would.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Monday, October 10, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #33 - Eat some foods that have been predigested by bacteria or fungi.

Many traditional cultures swear by the health benefits of fermented foods - foods that have been transformed by live microorganisms, such as yogurt, sauerkraut, soy sauce, kimchi, and sourdough bread. These foods can be a good source of Vitamin B12, an essential nutrient you can't get from plants. (B12 is produced by animals and bacteria). Many fermented foods also contain probiotics - beneficial bacteria that research suggests improve the function of the digestive and immune systems and, according to some studies, help reduce allergic reactions and inflammation.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Friday, October 7, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II : What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants).

RULE #32 - Don't overlook the oily little fishes.

Wild fish are among the healthiest things you can eat, yet many wild fish stocks are on the verge of collapse because of overfishing. Avoid big fish at the top of the marine food chain - tuna, swordfish, shark - because they are endangered, and because they often contain high levels of mercury. Fortunately, a few of the most nutritious wild fish species, including macherel, sardines, and anchovies, are well managed, and in come cases are even abundant. Those oily little fish are particularly good choices. According to a Dutch proverb, "A land with lots of herring can get along with few doctors."

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Problems with the Computer ... :(

CRAZY how dependent I have become on a computer!

Well, folks, I am behind on yet another race post because my computer died on me. :( I am quickly typing this using someone else's computer. :( Ben and I share an iMac and for the first time, it's stuck on the grey apple when it starts. I am spending all my free time trying to figure it out on my own so I don't waste money hiring somebody to fix something that I am able to do myself.

So! Until I am back in action ...

#1 - I PR'ed! 1:04:41
I am VERY, VERY pleased with this because I had energy to burn at the end.

#2 - I hurt my left calf again. :(
At the 8K mark, just after realizing I could kick my pace up for the last section to see how I could do, and while waving at some volunteers and thanking them for being there, I felt a large piece of gravel smack me in the back of my left calf. I actually looked to the left and over my shoulder to see who might have accidentally kicked this at me. After several more strides, I realized that it wasn't a piece of gravel that hit me, but something inside my muscle. It was a weird struggle for me for the last 2 km to slow down and nurse it so that it wouldn't completely stiffen and seize up the way it did on me during my Springbank half marathon, but it was hard to slow down after really hitting my stride. :(

More details to come, but two days later, I am not in pain nor am I limping; however, I can feel it, I am icing it, and I cancelled my today to give it more rest.

Hope to catch up sooner than later! I hope YOU had a good run for me today. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

20 DAYS FROM NOW .....


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #31 - Eat wild foods when you can.

Two of the most nutritious plants in the world - lamb's quarters and purslane - are weeds, and some of the healthiest traditional diets, like the Mediterranean, make frequent use of wild greens. The fields and forests are crowded with plants containing higher levels of various phytochemicals than their domesticated cousins. Why? Because these plants have to defend themselves against pests and diseases without any help from us, and because historically we've tended to select and breed crop plants for sweetness; many of the defensive compounds plants produce are bitter. We also breed for shelf life, and so have unwittingly selected for plants with low levels of omega-3 fatty acids, since these fats quickly oxidize - turn rancid. Wild animals and fish too are worth adding to your diet when you have the opportunity . Wild game generally has less saturated and more healthy fats than domesticated animals, because most of these wild animals themselves eat a diverse diet of plants rather than grain (see Rule #27).

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Race Prediction - Festival City Run 10K

Here we go again. :)

My race prediction for tomorrow should be 'predictable' because I outlined earlier this week in another post as to what I should be doing in order to make up for my speed workout.

Scheduled speed workout for Friday:
3 X 2 miles @21:22.

Using the pace calculator from Cool Running, this is works out to be a 6:38/km pace, and when the distance is changed, it means I should be running this 10K in 1:06:23.

My current PR for the 10K was established at the Ingersoll Harvest Run - 1:06:04.

My actual goal, factoring in all of this? 1:05:00

"5" is my favourite number so seeing it for the first time in a 10K race would be awesome. :) And aiming for a pace of 6:30/km is an easier number than 6:38. :) I also had very good luck at this race last year, both in fun/scenery and in PRing,

I do have one concern. I still feel slight tightness in my left calf, and it's in the back of my head that it might act up again, the way it did at the Springbank Half Marathon. This is just something I have to deal with mentally and to be prepared for in case it actually manifests physically.

In closing, I promised Suza @More to Life Than This that I would post a cartoon for her in this post. She is organizing a 5 hour run with her room-mates this weekend, weather permitting, complete with a designated 2 mile route and planned snacks! :)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 14/17 HM Training - Run #3 7K instead of 16K

So much for a 16K LSD today - LOL!

My intentions were good. I was up at the crack of dawn with the intention of getting my LSD for the week done today. I left Angus at home because this distance is too far for him, but William Wallace came with me.

It started slowly and it didn't feel good. I really was running much, much slower than I usually do, even when it's hot and humid. As usual, I gave myself until the 2-3 km mark to 'judge' what this run was going to be like because I need this mileage to warm-up properly. However, by the 5K mark, I was still running very slow and sluggishly, and I knew right then and there that it wasn't mental, but truly physical - it was just not an ideal day for me to run this distance - period. I knew I was running slow because Wallace kept looking up at me inquisitively, as if to say, "What's the deal with this slow speed?" The first turn-off point to head home from the running path was at the 7K mark so I ran until this mark, stopped, and called it a day.

It is what it is! No regrets. No beating myself up about it. Just acceptance, calling it a day, and moving forward. :) I am relieved that I didn't keep to the schedule with a speed workout today after all because there is no way that would have worked out this morning after all!

Rest day tomorrow (no 5K). 10K race on Sunday. TGIF and have a good running weekend! :)


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART I: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #30 - Eat well-grown food from healthy soil.

It would have been easier to say "eat organic" and it is true that food certified organic is usually well grown in relatively healthy soil - soil nourished by organic matter rather than chemical fertilizers. (It also will contain little or no residue from synthetic pesticides or pharmaceuticals.) Yet there are exceptional farmers and ranchers in America who for one reason or another are not certified organic, and the excellent food they grow should not be overlooked. (And just because a food is labeled organic does not mean it's good for you: Organic soda is still soda - a large quantity of utterly empty calories.)

We now have a body of research supporting the hypothesis, first advanced by organic pioneers Sir Albert Howard and J.I. Rodale, that soils rich in organic matter produce more nutritious food: that is, food with higher levels of antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals. Of course, after a few days riding cross-country in a truck, the nutritional quality of any kind of produce will deteriorate, so ideally you want to eat food that is both organic and local.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Monthly Review - SEPTEMBER 2011

169.2 km


The first time I have run under 200 km in two months.

I ran 32.2 less than last month. This is a result of my taper week for the Springbank Half marathon and the week after, when I was giving my calf muscle seizure a rest from running. It is still my 3rd highest month of the year and my 4th highest month since I started recording so that's saying something! In fact, kind of cool because it was an injury month so it shows how my average runs have increased in mileage overall.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 14/17 HM Training - Run #2 TRACK WORKOUT

Scheduled Workout:
1 mile warm-up, 6 x 1 mile @10:31, 1 mile cool-down

Actual Workout:
1.6 km, #1 @10:30, #2 @10:28, #3 @10:25, #4 @10:08, #5 @10:15, #6 @10:43, 1.6 km

Before I start blogging about today's run, I just want to say that it was really worth it for me to read my post from one year ago, on Wednesday, Sept. 29th, titled "12K !!!!!!! I am thrilled !!!!" ... If I needed a reminder as to how far I have come with my running in one year, this is a good example. :) One year ago, I am posting excitedly about running 12K 'without walking breaks', and one year later, I am running ~13 km in a speed workout, running at a pace >1 minute faster. :) Very cool. :)

I checked the weather channel when I woke up this morning, and it assured me that it was going to be a clear day ... I'm just pointing this out because I ended up running for several miles in drizzling rain! It didn't impede my run, and it never became all out, heavier rain, but my faith in The Weather Channel's accuracy is shaken - LOL!

The first three miles (5K) went very, very well: 10:30 (6:31/km), 10:28 (6:30/km), 10:25 (6:28/km)
I like that these miles are within seconds of goal time. I worked hard at finding the correct pace and then at maintaining it - it paid off.

The next 2 miles (3K) were too fast: 10:08 (6:18/km), 10:15 (6:22/km)
I have decided to look at this both ways - I can say, woo hoo! Look at how much faster I run after ~ 7 km (I've noticed this consistently in most of my runs - my speed increases after 7 km). However, I recognize that today's workout is about teaching me to maintain consistent pace, to control myself that I can run 21.1 km successfully and steadily from the start to the end. Within this context, it is evident that I need more practice!

The final mile was too slow: 10:43 (6:40/km)

I am not kidding when I write that I have trouble resuming running after stopping. I took a little extra time between the 5th and 6th miles to get a drink, and as soon as I started my last mile, I could feel right away that it was going to be a struggle. :( I had to coach myself not to quit because this last mile was no fun at all. :( Needless to say, my cool-down 1.6 km was more walking than running.

I was out on the track early before school started so it was interesting to watch as the football team emptied out of the school onto a school bus in full uniform. This explains my Friday Night Lights theme with today's blog images. I wanted to yell out, "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!" to them, but I doubted any of them would get it. It just so happens that I recently downloaded the final season of FNL and that Ben and I are watching a few episodes every night before bed so this is fresh in my head. :)


Kundalini yoga tonight. :) The new schedule is in full swing and I want to check a few more classes out. October is my racing month and I am focused on my four races. Once my season for 2011 officially ends, I hope to make more use of the fitness classes available.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 14/17 HM Training - Run #1 11.5K

This pic is what I found under images for "casual, relaxed" ... ?!?!?!!? There were other equally bizarre images, but at least this weird one gave me an excuse to post an image of a dog.

In direct contrast to weather predictions of rain, rain, rain for the week, this morning was sunny, gorgeous, and just the right temperature. :) Thank goodness I had a run scheduled because it would have been very difficult to have a rest day!

The run started out well. Same old, same old. :) A friend drove by me on the bridge and honked at the 2K mark. :) By the 3 km mark, I saw another friend ahead of me with her dog so the three of us stopped to chat and sniff with them (for the record, I chatted only!) as we walked a short distance together. After making arrangements to meet up later in the week, we were off again.

I usually have trouble resuming running after stopping, and today was no exception. The next few km were a little tough to get my legs going again. I so admire people who can run, stop for awhile, and then start running again because I just don't seem to be able to do this 'well.' However, I was farther away from home than not and running at this point was also a mode on transportation to return home in time so off we went ... I had to suck it up. :)

Once again, there wasn't really anything of consequence to report in this post. It was, in general, a sweet, casual, relaxed run (hence the image search that produced a dog in people clothing). :) I was happy to take it easy because I have a speed workout scheduled for tomorrow, and I think last week's enthusiastic and faster 11.5K run tired me out a little too much for the following day's speed assignment.

Of note is the fact that I ran up my nemesis hill once again without stopping, and it made me realize that I have been doing this quite regularly for awhile - should I really be calling it nemesis hill anymore? "Thrill Hill" still fits as an ironic name because there is nothing thrilling about this hill at all. :( But I guess I can now say that I am 'thrilled' that this hill no longer poses an overwhelming challenge to me, that it has slowly over the course of this running season become a 'norm' to run several times per week. :)

Schedule change. :) I have a 10K race in Stratford this coming Sunday - the Festival City Run. :) This is one of the easiest weeks to adjust/switch to accommodate a race in my training schedule. I will run my LSD of 16K on Friday (instead of Sunday), and consider my 10K race on Sunday the equivalent of my speed workout scheduled for Friday. Check this out ... my speed workout is 3 x 2 miles @21:22 so in order to 'meet expectations', I will run need to run 10K (6.2 miles) on Sunday in 1:06:14 (it was a little bit of an effort to figure that one out exactly!). This is not factoring in the two steep hills on the course versus the flat track ideal conditions, but I will mull it over and consider in my race prediction post this coming Saturday evening. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #29 - Eat like an omnivore.

Whether or not you eat any animal foods, it's a good idea to try to add some new species, and not just new foods, to your diet - that is, new kinds of plants, animals, and fungi. The dazzling diversity of food products on offer in the supermarket is deceptive, because so many of them are made from the same small handful of plant species, and most of those - the corn and soy and wheat - are seeds rather than leaves. The greater the diversity of species you eat, the more likely you are to cover all your nutritional bases.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #3 TRACK WORKOUT

M = rest day
T = 11.5 km
W = 8.6 km / speed workout
Th = rest day
F = 12.6 km / speed workout
S = rest day
Sun = 19 km LSD

TOTAL = 51.8 km (32.2 miles)

A surprise for me that my mileage for the week is one of my highest (it looks like it's my 3rd highest week to date), and that's with 'only' four workouts. Interesting to see how the training has altered the closer I get to goal half marathon.

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #4 19K LSD

It turned out to be an awesome week running-wise after all. :)

After last week's imposed rest due to my calf strain /muscle seizure, I was determined to make sure that my Week #13 went according to schedule (while still be 'smart' about my calf). I cancelled last weekend's long run, kept my Monday as a day of rest as regularly scheduled, and then followed my training plan to the "T" this week.

I also admit that I was not looking forward to my 19 km this week. I was feeling nervous about my calf and hoping that this run would not aggravate it. I recognized that my run was supposed to be slow and easy so I intended to keep it this way for the sake of my leg.

Before Wallace and I headed out, I warmed my calf up with a heated bean bag, as I have done all week. It was feeling fine, but I wasn't going to take any chances.

1-4 km = 7:13, 7:18, 7:18, 7:16

There are no stories to tell from today's run ... which is not necessarily a bad thing. :) The weather was perfect for it - cooler, no rain. By the 2 km mark, I was still feeling a little overwhelmed by the 19 km goal so I worked on adjusting my thinking. Instead of concentrating on the full distance, I broke the runs down into familiar landmarks - "run until you reach Labatt's, run until you reach the short, steep hill, run until you see Wellington St.", etc. I also focused on my music, using it as a distraction by concentrating on each song. It worked for me. :) It was a opportunity to listen to the playlist that I created for my Springbank half marathon that I didn't use too much. :)

5-7 km = 7:01, 7:04

8 km = 6:47 :)

9-13 km = 7:05, 7:09, 7:06, 7:05, 7:05, 7:04

14-15 km = 6:57, 6:57 :)

It was a nice, steady, consistent run. While running my 16th km, I could feel myself starting to tire. It came over me in a wave, and I was actually tempted to stop to walk (that's how strong it was). I had expected this - I usually tire at this point during a long run after a full week of training runs/workouts. As much as I wanted to stop, I wanted to achieve 19 km more. :) My pace felt a little more slower and sluggish at this point, but I told myself not to care, and just to keep going. :)

16-17 km = 7:19, 7:20

I also started thinking abut Niagara Falls and how this was good training for the last few km when feeling tired. Did I have it in me to push myself, in spite of feeling tired, and will myself to the end? As you can see by my last 2 kms, this thinking helped me rally:

18-19 km = 7:08, 7:04

So, yes, by the end of this run, I was so pleased! Pleased with the mileage, pleased that I finished it without stopping, and especially pleased that I didn't encounter any issues with my left calf. My right achilles tendon was feeling a little tender (it's the left one I usually have issues with so this just makes me shake my head), but I'm icing it.

Week #13 is over an done with now, peeps! FOUR more weeks! FOUR more weeks! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #3 TRACK WORKOUT

It feel very, very good to have a great track workout. :)

1 mile warm-up; 3 x 2 miles @21:22 (6:38 pace); 1 mile cool-down

1.6 km (1 mile) warm-up; #1 @20:50; #2 @20:20; #3 @21:03

An early morning morning workout in the rain at the St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School track. It was great to have the campus to myself and watching the trickle of teachers/staff arriving before their TGIF day. :)

I ran the first workout the "right" way on track. I have to admit that I 'like', not 'love', track workouts these days. They were short and sweet and fun when I did them for my sub-30 5K sessions. I shouldn't be surprised that the track workouts for a half marathon are that much longer ... but I am! LOL! Running around a track for such a longer period of time has lost a bit of its charm as a result. :)

But I get it. For someone who usually is quite laidback when it comes to speed and pushing herself during regular workouts, I am surprisingly 'serious' and 'dedicated' when told to go workout at the track. As you can see from the results above, I will run the pace when assigned. :)

I am actually a little disappointed in my second workout, the one that I ran a full 1:02 minute faster than planned. I could not stop myself from running faster, I tried to control my legs, but I kept seeing 6:10 or 6:18 as my pace. If I were training for a shorter distance, this would be too 'slow', but I know that I can't keep this pace up for a half marathon ... at this time. I need to feel comfortable at a slightly slower pace if I am going to maintain this for a full 21 km+ distance. I don't want to be the runner who looks back at her half marathon with a "fantastic 12 km" in the middle before struggling with a run/walk pace at the end after burning herself out.

I ran most of these workouts in drizzle. It rained during my last few laps around the track in my last workout so that made me feel badass. :)

And hey! NO CALF PROBLEMS !! :) It felt a little tight, but it didn't tighten more while running. A good sign. :)


There are quite a few new classes offered at the gym now that it is September. I plan to take advantage of them after my half marathon. :) I went to Kundalini yoga on Wednesday and again tonight (Friday). We are working on the immune system, and it's just what I need because this means working the shoulders/shoulder blade area. This part of my body has been quite tight lately, but the yoga this week alleviated this clenched area substantially. :)


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #28 - If you have the space, buy a freezer.

When you find a good source of pastured meat, you'll want to buy it in quantity. Buying meat in bulk - a quarter of a steer, say, or a whole hog - is one way to eat well on a budget. Dedicated freezers are surprisingly inexpensive to buy and to operate, because they aren't opened nearly as often as the one in your refrigerator. A freezer will also enable you to put up food from the farmers' market, and encourage you to buy produce in bulk at the height of its season, when it will be most abundant - and therefore cheapest. And freezing does not significantly diminish the nutritional value of produce.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 1317 HM Training - Run #2 TRACK WORKOUT

1 mile (1.6K) warm-up; 6 X 1 mile @10:31; 1 mile cool-down

1.5K warm-up; #1 @10:16; #2 @10:30; #3 @10:29; #4 @10:35; #5 @ 10:27; #6 cancelled; 2K walk/run cool-down

I am so far behind on my blog, I am jumping in with the most recent work-out, and working my way back. :(

I felt tired, cranky and bloated before my workout. My warm-up did not feel good. :( However, my running improved as the mileage increased. I went too fast with my first workout; it sufficiently tired me out so that by the end of #5, I didn't have the heart or desire to run a final 6th. :(

I know I can do it; I just couldn't do it today. :)

I warmed my left leg muscle with a warmed up bean bag again before my workout; this helped. I could still feel the tightness inside the muscle while I ran, which I find distracting because I am now so paranoid about it seizing up again. :(

I also admit to having a little too much on my mind right now and functioning on less sleep than I need so just getting this done and doing what I could is good enough for me today! :)

I have Kundalini yoga tonight. I am taking tomorrow as a rest day (no easy 5K) and I have another track workout scheduled for Friday.

Happy running, all! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 13/17 HM Training - Run #1 11.5K

My fastest training run at this distance to date. :) And it started out as one of those typical runs that doesn't feel great at the start, but then turns into something very good. :)

William Wallace and Angus joined me and they were extremely happy to be running again! They get excited every time they see me change into running clothes; they have figured out my routine (smart, smart pooches!).

I googled images for the word, fresh, hence the pics of a lemon and of a clear drop on a bright, green leaf. After last week's dramatic drop in mileage in an effort to heal my muscle cramp, I am bidding 'adios' to my dismal Week #12 of training, and starting training FRESH with Week #13.

I headed to Springbank Park for my run and was surprised to find that a lot of the paths have been repaved during the last week. It was sweet to have newly paved paths to run on, and kudos to the workmen - they accomplished a lot in the time after my half marathon and my run today. :) I guess it wasn't a bad week for decreased mileage after all because I missed all the construction work.

My leg was fine. I tried something different before heading out - I heated a bean bag and applied the heat directly to the cramp in an effort to release the clenched feeling. I spent last week it, but I wonder now in hindsight if this default method was wrong for me to be using. I am quite confident I do not have a tear; it does not hurt. The muscle is just very, very tight. I could still feel the tightness as I ran, and I was paranoid about it clenching up again (!), but the run still went well. :)

And my run included my nemesis hill, too, which I now can run up without stopping all the time now. :)

We'll have to play it by ear. I have a track workout again tomorrow, and the added speed may be a test as to how well the calf is doing.

Monday, September 19, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #27 - Eat animals that have themselves eaten well.

The diet of the animals that we eat strongly influences the nutritional quality, and healthfulness, of the food we get from them, whether it is meat or milk or eggs. This should be self-evident, yet it is a truth routinely overlooked by the industrial food chain in its quest to produce vast quantities of cheap animal protein. That quest has changed the diet of most of our food animals in ways that often damaged their health and healthfulness. We feed animals a high-energy diet of grain to make them grow quickly, even in the case of ruminants that evolved to eat grass. But even food animals that can tolerate grain are much healthier when they have access to green plants - and so, it turns out, are their meat and eggs. The food from these animals will contain much healthier types of fat (more omega-3s, less omega-6s) as well as appreciably higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants. (For the same reason, meat from wild animals is particularly nutritious: see Rule #31 (Blogger Note: scheduled for posting on October 3rd)). It's worth looking for pastured animal foods in the market - and paying the premium prices they typically command if you can.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week 12/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest day
T = cancelled 11.5K for recovery day (muscle cramp)
W = cancelled track workout for recovery day (muscle cramp)
Th = 5K (instead of yet another rest day)
F = postponed track workout for a recovery day (muscle cramp)
S = track workout 8.1K
Sun = cancelled 16 km LSD

TOTAL = 14.4 km

My lowest mileage week since February of this year. :( Such a bummer after PRing in my half marathon!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Week 12/17 HM Training - Run #2 TRACK WORKOUT

1 mile warm-up; 2 X 2 miles @21:22; 1 mile cooldown

1.6K warm-up; #1 @21:13 (pace 6:36/km); #2 @21:37 (pace 6:37/km); 3.5 km walk cool-down

Today was a big test for my leg.

Wallace and I walked to downtown London for 1.8 km before starting our 1.6 km jogging warm-up (I measured the distance ahead of time, using It was a little odd to be running with him through the busiest section of the city, but it was fun, too. :) I had decided to switch Catholic high schools for this weekend workout so we were heading to Catholic Central High School for a change since it is the closest high school to me within walking/running range (Western is just minutes away, but I would have to pay $80 a month to use their track. :( My sister uses Trent University's track for free - no fair!).

There's a difference between CCH's track and St. Thomas Aquinas's track (where I usually go). CCH's is much older and has little green space around it. There is also a very tall chain-link fence that surrounds it so I felt like I was in a prison fenced-in area - LOL! With people walking on the sidewalks on the other side of the fence and gawking, it was a little strange.

My first workout went very well. As usual, I started out too fast and had to keep checking the Garmin to rein myself in until I hit my goal stride, which became easier to maintain once I leveled off.

I encountered several issue during my second workout. Wallace started dragging behind me. He has never done that so I wasn't sure what was wrong. I stopped my watch, tied him to the benches, and continued my workout. It wasn't long before I felt a twinge in my calf, similar to what I felt during the half marathon. I suddenly felt the tightening in my calf and I immediately changed my cadence and slowed down. This did the trick, although it made me ultra-paranoid while running. :( I was concentrating on this when Wallace started baying. It caught me off guard because my little pooch never taps into his beagle heritage to bay. Aroooooooooooooooooh! He sounded so sad and despondent. He really did not like being left behind while I continued to run around the track. I stopped again, retrieved him, and then finished my workout. This time, Wallace did not drag behind me. :)

I chose to walk home the entire way because of the tightening on my leg. I gently stretched it when I arrived home. I also researched the injury more online and realized that maybe utilizing RICE all week had not been the smartest idea; a cramp needs heat. I am confident this is not a tear or an injury; I can literally feel the tightening, which creates the discomfort. I just need to keep working it slowly and gently, with heat, light stretching, and rest.

Friday, September 16, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan


PART II: What Kind of Food Should I Eat?
(Mostly plants.)

RULE #26 - Drink the spinach water.

Another bit of traditional wisdom with good science behind it: The water in which vegetables are cooked is rich in vitamins and other healthful plant chemicals. Save it for soup or add it to sauces.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."