Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wk12/D1 - Race Ready Track Workout #1

I need to figure out a new routine/time for posting on my blog because I'm not doing this as well as I used to! :(

Warm-up: 1.82K @12:21
Pace 6:48/km
4 striders

Workout #1: 1 mile/1.6K @9:39
Actual: 9:27
Pace 5:53/km

Workout #2: 3/4 mile/1.2K @7:12
Actual: 7:22
Pace 6:09/km

Workout #3: 800 m @4:43
Actual: 4:48
Pace 6:00/km

Workout #4: 400 m @2:15
Actual: 2:05
Pace 5:14/km

Not bad for a hot and humid morning when I was feeling a little stiff after my 10K uphill race on Sunday! :)

I headed to the track early this morning to avoid the 33 degrees Celsius weather (predicted to feel like 42 degrees with the humidity) today, It was already 24 degrees by the time I arrived at the track and needless to say, I was soaked with sweat by the time I finished. But I got it done and I am pleased. I love track work! :)

I shared the track with another runner today, too. At first, I was disappointed, but it ended up being a nice camaraderie experience. He did his thing, I did mine, and it was comfortable. :)

I made a decision, and for Miss-Very-Conservative-About-Her-Running, it's quite different from what I usually do. Here's the math ...

Week #12 - This week
Week #13 - Next week - 5K GOAL RACE

My training program is ** 17 ** weeks. Oh oh!

I knew when I started my program that I was cutting it short by two weeks, but it couldn't be helped. I returned to running the earliest that I could after my achilles tendon issue and after Snowmaggedon. The Safe Harbour 5K in Bayfield, ON was my absolute favourite of all the 5K races I ran in last year so I really wanted to make it my goal 5K race.

Between the start of my program and now, I encountered a terrible training week and decided that repeating my one week was a wise choice. Hindsight is 20/20. I wish now that I hadn't, but I can only say this now after experiencing my program's three different phases. I still think my reasoning at the time was best; I can look back and see that it would have been just fine proceeding to the next week, but I was not armed with the same knowledge then as I am now. :)

So now I am three weeks off ... what to do?

I called my sister, who recommended my training book/program highly after using it twice. I asked for her advice, and together we determined that I would not be pushing it unwisely if I jumped forward to the program's Week #16 for my Week #13, keeping Race Week #17 as is for my Week #14. Make sense? Have I lost you yet? :) I am also taking all optional days of rest to ensure that I am not overdoing it.

And after today's awesome workout, I think it will work!

Before I "finish" this post that was started days ago ... I am adding a pic of my THREE pairs of matching running shoes (my camera has been funky lately so sorry for the unfocused shots of late until I figure out what's up). The first/top pair is my 7 1/2 pair that were given to me at Christmas by Ben. I found them for $100 off at the Running Room. :) Unfortunately, when I started to wear these shoes in more, I realized that they might be a little too small. :( So when the same shoes went on sale for $80 off at Runner's Choice, I scooped up a Size 8. Wonderful! Just the increase in half size stopped certain aches and twinges in my left foot and leg. So when the last pair was left sitting there on display a few weeks ago, still on sale, I scooped up another pair with two $10 coupons off so they were $100 off, too. :) Happy feet! I have marked all three pairs in various ways to differentiate them from one another. I have also learned my lesson from last year, when I started the season with two new pairs and wore them evenly throughout the year (I think this is what eventually contributed to my achilles tendon issues ... two 'worn' pairs of running shoes without knowing it. Although I meticulously record the mileage on my shoes, I failed to account for other factors that wear running shoes out quicker). I plan to wear one pair predominantly, using the newest pair as the alternate when needed. Hopefully, this will alert me better later this year as to when my shoes need to be retired.

As for my 7 1/2 pair, as long as I don't use them for running, I can wear them like plain old running shoes out and about. :)

Tomorrow is an optional rest day so I am not running and I have Kundalini Yoga tomorrow night. Next track workout - Thursday.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DAIRY CAPITAL RUN 10K - Runpiker Series #2

Last year, I participated in the 5K race, and I had a lot of fun. :) This race set the tone and my enthusiasm for doing the rest of the Runpiker Series runs in 2010. It was my second race of the year. I have no blog record of running this race from last year, but I have my results:

May 2, 2010
5K @36:19
Pace 7:16/km

So how am I doing one year later?

1:07:24 Official Posted Time
Pace 6:45/km
Gun Start/Chip Finish
8 seconds shy of my current PR! LOL!

Garmin Recording
10.22K @1:07:29
Pace 6:37/km

.22K @1:10
1:07:29 - 1:10 = 1:06:19? LOL!

Wow! What a day! So much to think about during and after the race ... so much that I learned today ...

To begin, it was nice and cool first thing in the morning, but it turned out to be quite warm and very humid during the race. It almost felt like an anomaly that I wasn't racing in the rain! :) Ben and the dogs came with me to Woodstock so this race was a family affair.

* * * * *
LEARNI NG #1 - You are never too old to run.
I saw an 88 year old woman cross the finish line in the 2K. Six people ran in after her. :) Everyone near the finish line clapped and cheered as she crossed the finish line because it was so inspirational to watch her in action. :)
* * * * *

After the 2K finished, the 5K race started (~10 minutes before the 10K) so I watched and cheered this nice size group of 308 runners and walkers start their race before I headed to my start line. There was a significant group of walkers with walking sticks and matching t-shirts at the tail end, which was unusual but great to see in the 5K. I then headed to my starting line.

Once again, my heart sank a little when I saw how small the 10K group was (131). It 'almost' gives me the impression that no one likes to run in these races unless s/he can run 10K in an hour or less ... but I know that I am never going to become one of 'those' runners unless I keep doing what I am doing so ... it is what it is. :) I wasn't there to compete against anyone but myself, and my goals for this run were different. Memory serves me well because I recalled from last year that there was a very long steady incline in the few km of this course so aiming for a PR was out. Instead, I had determined that this would be a free-for-all run. I wanted to see how well I could do in a 10K without going by the Garmin, instead running it by "feel," even if I ran out of fuel near the end. I set my Garmin for "Pace," "Time," and "Average Pace."

* * * * *
LEARNING #2: "Average Pace" works really well for me.
I would check my Garmin periodically to see how I was doing by the "Pace" window and there were some very wide variations ... 6:15, 7:45, 6:30, 7:10 ... but my "Average Pace" remained pretty much steady at 6:38 throughout the race. This helped me to not to get demoralized or panicky about a very slow pace, but to keep in mind that I was making up for it in the long term when running faster on the flat road and the downhill. I didn't slow myself down when I saw that my pace was sub-6:30; instead, I kept going with it to see how well I could do. Because my "Average Pace" remained steady, I trusted my running ability.
* * * * *
So it was the familiar swooooosh as 'it seemed' that everyone ran ahead of me. At one point, when I passed by a police car, I heard the officer start to direct traffic through. This gave me an indication that I might be last or that there was a gap between me and the next runner ... I didn't give it too much thought, but was something that I noticed. With 28 races, you would think I know better, but in this particular race, I did get caught up in the starting pace:

1 km - 6:24

In my defence, I had warmed up with a light jog so I was not running this 'cold' ... but it is too fast for me. It felt fine, but then we hit the steady incline:

2 km - 6:41
3 km - 6:41

Still a very fast pace for me, especially on an incline ... but hey, I was the one who decided to run by "feel" so I went with it. By this time, I was passing a lot of walkers. :) It helped boost my ego when needed out there. :)

4 km - 6:40

I spot a woman well ahead of me with a distinctive white running top with a blue stripe down the back in the middle. I noticed this shirt at the starting line and this shirt/runner would prove to be my personal 'rabbit' for the rest of the race.

There are multiple water stations and I have slowed once to use one of them them for cooler water. I am running with my water belt and due to the heat and humidity, I have already been using them frequently for small squirts of water to wet my dry mouth.

* * * * *
LEARNING #3: I am really smart to wear a water belt!
I want to make a note of this (again) in case something changes for me in the future, but I really do not understand how anyone can run in the weather without a water belt. I am carrying water and sipping at it when needed, but isn't the heat dehydrating everyone one else, too? I think there is only two of us wearing water belts.

5 km - 6:38

I am finishing the first loop and running faster because of the cheering noise from the crowd at the finish line for the 5K runners finishing. They have the fire truck hose spraying, too, which was soooo nice last year and I am already looking forward to it at the end of my second loop. I hear the announcer overt the loudspeaker advising the crowd that the first 10K runner has just entered the park. I think that he should announce that this runner will NOT be lapping me today! :) :) Woo hoo - I made it past the 5K mark before he runs into first place! :)

But now I have to do that bloody incline again. My pace going up them was not so enthusiastic:

6km - 6:51
7 km - 6:44

However, this is when I start to pass a few 10K runners. There are several runners walking up the hill and although my pace is excruciating slow, I am still passing them. One of them catches up to me and passes me again, but this is when I decide that I will skip the water stop, knowing that she will use it, and use it as my opportunity to pass. For some reason, the water station is in the valley so runners run down to it, stop for water, but the have to run up a hill. Sure enough, she stops, I pass, and she then tries to catch up to me on the hill, but it's too late; she has lost momentum and can't get up to speed on the hill. And I keep truckin' ...

8 km - 6:34

As I dip into the one side of the park, Ben and the dogs are there to greet me. This pic is Ben's viewpoint. I am a little nervous that the dogs will go nuts and try to run to me, but they are as good as gold. I ask Ben later, what did you do to make them behave so well? And he tells me, they didn't clue in it was you until you passed ... then they went pulled like crazy on the leashes to catch up to you! :) :)

This is when I notice that I am catching up to two more runners. Although I am very hot and tired, I am feeling very good because my average pace is holding steady, and I have no caught up to more runners who have been ahead of me the whole time. Both runners slow at the next water station and I do, too, because I need to throw some cool water on me, and within a few minutes, I have passed the two of them. :) :)

9 km - 6:53

I am slowing and starting to feel very sluggish in this one section of the race. I just felt a wave of tiredness and I am wondering if this is when I am going to hit a wall, or start slowing significantly before the finish ...

But as I round the corner, I see white shirt/blue stripe lady. My rabbit. :) I had lost sight of her through all the curves and turns we are making, but there she is. Without realizing it, I start to run faster. It is my goal to catch up to her. Just keep this pace steady, I tell myself. Don't go crazy, keep it here, and you will catch up.

And I did. :) My rabbit starts to walk with less than a km to go, and I pass her. I half expect her to start running and catch up to me, but I don't see her again. :)

10 km - 6:19

This is when I see several more runners ahead of me ... and they are walking.

* * * * *
LEARNING #4: I always have enough in reserve for the end.
29 races and regardless of how tired I feel, I have never walked before the finish line. :) One fringe benefit of being very conservative when it comes to pushing myself in a race?
* * * * *

At this time, I can see the curve before the finish line chute, and I am happily passing another runner who is walking. I see one last runner ahead of me. She has slowed to a walk, but I am pretty sure she will start running again before I reach her so as my last motivational milestone in this race, I decide that I will keep up to her pace to the finish to get me across the line.

Sure enough, just as I thought, she starts running again as soon as I am behind her. Good! I can follow her pace in ... except that it turns out that my pace is just a little bit faster ... we are so close to the finish - should I bother trying to pass her? And for a refreshing change, instead of being laid back and just finishing the race, I decide that yes, I do want to pass her. :) She ran the entire race well ahead of me, and I did a great job catching up so why not go for it?

So I did. :)

I pulled to the right and keeping my pace, I started to pass her. And then the unexpected and (for me) magical happened ... she started to run faster and started racing me to the finish. :) And somewhere internally, my inner competitive spirit suddenly appeared and I ran with everything that I had. I could hear people clapping and hooting because we were both gunning it!

.22 km - 5:19

Best pace: 3:38 (told you I was gunning it!) :)

* * * * *
LEARNING #5: Although I like to think of myself as very laid back, I can become very competitive when challenged!
* * * * *
When Ben found me walking and catching my breath, he exclaimed, "WOW, Sweety! You were really running at the end! Your arms were swinging and everything!" Thank goodness he caught my very funny photo finish in the pic above, eh? :) :)

And now to ingest even more humour into this ... when the race results were posted later in the afternoon, I realized that when the police officer had let the cars pass the barricade after I ran by that I really HAD been the last 10K runner! I ran from last place to 8th last place and I know this to be true because I counted all the people I passed along the way, and my count equals the number of runners posted on the results after my name - LOL! I had fought and battled my way eight places up!

Runner #123 out of 131 10K racers. :)

So here ends my tale of the Dairy Capital 10K run for 2011. Truly a great 'test' run. My sixth race of 2011; my 29th race total to date; the second time I have been to this event; and, my 10th 10K race total to date. it was fun, I learned a lot, Ben and my dogs were with me, and best of all ...

With that crazy 2 km incline (twice!) of 20 metres, I was only 9 seconds off my PR. :) :)

Rest on Monday; back to the track Tuesday. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wk12/D4 - Easy 6K

6K @42:37
Pace 7:07/km

Simply posting this for recording purposes/history. This was simply an easy run to "warm up" for tomorrow's race, and because I missed an 8K on Monday because I ran 14K on Sunday. It all makes sense in my head. :) :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wk12/D3 - Track Work 3 X 800

Warm-up: 1.62K @10:35
+ 4 striders
Pace 6:32/km

Track Workout: 3 X 800 @4:49
2 minute rest inbetween

#1 - 4:40 Pace 5:50
#2 - 4:45 Pace 5:56
#3 - 4:47 Pace 5:59

Cooldown: 1.18K @6:56/km
Pace 6:56/km

Once again, I had such a fun time at the track! :)

Everything went much smoother this time ... I knew the track, I knew how to use my Garmin properly, and it was perfect early morning cooler weather. Just ideal!

But to back up and explain what I did this week ...
I took Wednesday OFF rather than running 5K. I had a lot on my plate and was too busy so I opted to give myself the rest day after my first track workout. I even missed Kundalini yoga so this demonstrates how busy I was!

However, when I woke up Thursday, I was not myself and this is when I realized how my busy-ness, physical labour, and go go go pace was catching up with me ... I was burned out! I gave myself permission to switch my scheduled track work with the next day's optional 5K or OFF. I am really glad I did as I needed it!

It was during this workout that I realized what I had done 'wrong' with my Garmin the last time ... I was counting my workouts UP and the watch was counting them DOWN so I simply got confused. :) It didn't happen this time.

A great workout, a fast workout, and then a cool down run as far as Starbucks before stopping for a tall black Americano ... the perfect reward! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wk12/D2 - Track Work 6X400

Warm-up: 1.6K @10:45
+ 4 striders
Pace 6:44/km

Track Work: 6 X 400
2:15 - 2:20 min. each
2 min. walking rest inbetween

#1 - 2:20 Pace 5:49/km
#2 - 2:23 Pace 5:58/km
#3 - 2:13 Pace 5:33/km
#4 - 2:25 Pace 6:03/km
#5 - 2:20 Pace 5:50/km
#6 - 2:16 Pace 5:41/km
#7 - 2:21 Pace 5:54/km

Cool down: 1.19K @8:12
Pace 6:54/km

What a fun workout !! I loved it! Track work was everything that I was hoping it would be and more.

But first, sorry for the delay in posting. I am sitting at my computer now while it rains so I am "forced" inside from my garden/yardwork to get this done. :) I am not complaining as it sounds like it will be a very hot and humid summer, which will keep me indoors when it happens. :( I have been getting my workouts done; just not the posting/recording, but now is the time for get on top of it ...

My training book did not stipulate any sort of rest time between intervals so I was unsure of what to do. My Garmin, however, suggests either "1 or 2 minute" options and a custom option so I decided to choose the two minute one. I then walked the whole the time and drank water before starting my next interval.

I ran into a few issues trying to figure out how to use my Garmin for this kind of workout. I thought I had this figured out before going to the track, but it took my two rounds before I figured out how to reconfigure my display windows in such a way for me to keep track. However, my workout seemed to end one lap shy of goal, but I knew I would not be able to check this out until I arrived home do I did a "7th" lap for good measure to ensure I had completed my workout accurately. :)

And I must say ... I love love love running sub-6:00 min/km !! Wow !! The whole time I was doing this workout, I kept thinking about my decision to postpone training for a marathon this fall ... how I chose to concentrate on improving my speed and fitness instead this year, and how it was DEFINITELY the right decision for me !! Noooooo question about it! I want this experience in my journey to that marathon destination so Niagara Falls sub-2:30 (2:15?) goal this October ... here I come !!! :) :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Wk12/D1 - Easy 4K

Sorry! This post is mainly for record-keeping purposes. No thoughts or stories in this blog post to share. :(

I was scheduled for an easy 8K, but after running my 14K LSD on Sunday, I aimed for an easy 5K instead. I thought this was pretty good because I usually take a day off the day before and after a long run.

It turned into an interrupted 4K. By the 2K mark, I looked at my Garmin and it was all screwy. I had hit one of the buttons while running that changed the screen, and I was concerned that I had done something to it so I stopped to check it out. It took me awhile but I figured it out. I then ran for another 2K before feeling too tired to run any more. I am pretty sure that if I had not stopped after my first 2K, I could have kept going because I know I do not do well when starting to run, stopping, and trying to resume my run.

It doesn't really matter because it was a holiday Monday here (Victoria Day weekend), and I did not want to push it, knowing that I had my first track work scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday). I also have a full day outside in the garden scheduled. :) :)

No yoga this evening at the fitness club because of the holiday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wk11/D4 - Return to Cloud 9 ... 14K with a sub-7 min/km Pace !!!!

14K @1:37:57
Avg. Pace 6:59/km

Avg. Moving Pace 6:53/km

Wow wow wow !! :) Happy happy day! Today's run contained several milestones and went a loooong way in making me feel very optimistic about half marathon training this fall. :) :)

But just to back up a little ... Friday night we have overnight guests. I was hoping to make it to Kundalini yoga before their arrival, but they arrived much earlier than expected so I skipped yoga in order to be a good hostess. I really, really wanted to get up early the next morning to run my scheduled 13K before we went out for breakfast, but it just wasn't feasible, so Saturday (yesterday) ended up being an additional rest day. I didn't want to alter my training schedule, but it is what is so I am going with the flow and considering the extra rest day a benefit. And I was determined to go out first thing this morning to get my LSD 13K done.

After a second poor night of sleep, I woke up thinking that my run wasn't going to happen today. I was feeling so tired and really needed a few hours of good, solid sleep before taking on the day. This is when Ben, who is ill this long weekend with a bad head cold, gently prodded me to go. It was the encouragement I needed to get dressed and head out the door with Wallace in tow. :)

Although I was scheduled to run 13K, I wrote in an earlier post that I was aiming for 14K. I have had a few good 13K LSD runs during this training cycle so I felt "ready" to take this next distance on. When I was training for my half marathon last August, I experienced a brutal 14K. This was when I had finally acknowledged that I couldn't complete a half marathon without incorporating a run/walk method, and my first attempt at it was when I was scheduled for a 14K distance.

So today was the day I wanted to run 14K from start to finish!

I did not eat breakfast as it was too early. Instead, I drank a Vega sport powder, changed my Garmin to three settings: "Distance" was the largest display on top, with "Time" and "Avg. Pace" completing the two bottom displays. I also lathered Wallace's hind thighs with "Body Glide for Women" because the poor little guy has been chafing from running. :( We were ready to head out for our warm-up and run ...

And then it started to rain ... I'm not kidding!

But you know what? I welcomed it. :) I consider LSD runs in the rain my default weather now! So my run was completed in continuous soft, warm rain. I didn't even noticed it that much because I have grown so accustomed to it now ...

Around the 3K mark, I checked my average pace and saw 7:02/km. Good. And I kept running.

At the 6K mark, I started to feel my glute muscles a bit. I am not sure if this is a residual from my hill workout and tempo run earlier in the week, or due to hauling wheelbarrows full of dirt and gravel around my yard Thursday night and Saturday. :) They weren't painful, but just making me aware of them. I also checked my average pace display and saw that it was still at 7:02/km. Odd. Had I really kept this pace that consistently? Or did I inadvertently set this display wrong?

All is good. I feel strong, I feel consistent, and I am not feeling tired or sluggish.

I check my average pace at the 9K mark and see 7:02/km yet again. At this point, I am convinced I set my Garmin wrong and think, "oh well!" I will check it when I get home to see what I did wrong ...

I feel my pace pick up a little at around the 11K mark. This makes me smile because I am still feeling good at this point. However, I start thinking that perhaps I should watch myself now to ensure I have enough energy to make it to 14K. And I can't help myself ... I look at the average pace window again on my watch as I am checking my distance recording ...

7:01 / km

Holy crap! It finally changed AND it decreased! I was suddenly forced to believe what I had been refusing to accept throughout this entire run ... my average pace HAD been that consistent and I was on track for running not only my first 14K without walking, but setting an outstanding pace for me at the same time !!!!!!

Now I had to go faster! I was so close to achieving a sub-7:00/km pace! In my first 14K of 2011!!

So I ran! In the last km, I had to choose between running up a steep but short hill or running long up a gradual hill. This is where my sub-7:00 pace goal faced jeopardy. I chose the steeper hill, willing myself to run up it as well as I could, and with the hope that the flatter ground at the top near the Children's Museum would give me enough distance to bring my pace back up for a fast finish.

And it did. :) And I am still filled with joy !! :)

Upon looking at my splits before writing this post, 10 out of 14 km were sub-7:00/km. :) :) My fastest was 13K at 6:42/km. My slowest was 3K at 7:08/km.

As I write, I am very tired. :) I may need to nap this afternoon. A great way to remember this Victoria Day long weekend! :)

  • I ran a very short 1.37 km on Friday as a method of getting home. My pace was 6:47/km, which made me happy. I am hoping that running as transportation becomes more commonplace for me. :)
  • Approximately one year ago, on May 21, I ran 5K in 39:45 with a pace of 7:41/km
  • On July 17, 2010, in 1:36:11 (comparable to today's time), I ran/walked 12K at a pace of 8:00/km.

Pea Nutty Noodles

This will be the last post for Good Health Recipes Sundays. My race season is in full-swing now, and the great majority of them will be run on Sundays. Also, I will be blogging on Sundays about my scheduled long runs for half marathon training, which officially begins next week. Therefore, I am ending this series. :)


Peanut Sauce

1 lb. of your favourite shaped pasta
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. white (rice or wine) vinegar

Garnishes ... Pick and Choose
Any You Please and as Much as You Want

Chopped peanuts
Diced cucumbers
Diced apples
Sliced scallions
Limes, cut into quarters
Sliced cabbage
Asian chili sauce, if you are brave
Chopped fresh cilantro or mint
Shredded carrots

Pick out the garnishes you want to serve with the noodles and chop, dice and slice them. Put them in little bowls.

Boil the past until it is al dente (not too mushy). The pasta water should have enough salt to taste like the sea (see guide below). When it is well done, quickly rinse the pasta in cold water.

Now mix all the ingredients for the peanut sauce together in a big bowl with a big spoon. Stir until it is all mixed together and smooth.

Taste the sauce ... is it perfect? When it is, toss in the pasta and pout into a pile on a big bowl or platter. Put the little bowl of garnishes around the platter and enjoy!

from The Family Dinner by Laurie David

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wk11/D3 - Running a Tempo with Angels

Warm-up: 2K @14:02
Avg. Pace - 7:02/km

Tempo Run @20 minutes
Avg. Pace - 6:01/km

Cool-down: 1.5K @10:21
Avg. Pace - 6:55/km

In complete contrast to the snipers I ran with last week, today I ran with angels in my head. :) :) What a difference one week can make !!

Today I ran first thing in the morning. The warmer temperatures were a good reminder to me that I need to return to a "first thing in the morning before anything else" running schedule as I am encountering humidity later in the day, and the weather forecasters are calling for yet another dry, humid, and hot summer. :( The best thing for me to do right now is to re-accustom myself to running early when it's the coolest in preparation for a miserable summer of half marathon training.

So this is what I did differently for my run. I also left the dogs at home because I didn't want anything slowing me down on my run ... Angus dragged me down a little last week on my humid tempo so I didn't want to take any chances with him today. Sorry, pooches! :( After last week's sniper-fest, I made every effort to ensure that today's run would go as "well" as possible. I went to bed early last night after getting all my running gear ready, and I left for my run thinking nothing, but positive thoughts. :) I wanted my 5K race pace today!

And as hoped, my 20 minutes tempo went exceedingly well. :)

1 km - 5:55
2 km - 6:09
3 km - 6:00
0.32 km - 6:01

I am stoked because, after factoring in race adrenaline, another 1.68 km, and a leeway of 9 minutes, that's my 5K in under 30 right there - LOL! :)

I did my best NOT to look at the Garmin but to see how well I did on my own, using my own sense of speed. I used the "Pace - Average" display again and this does seem to be working for me. Rather than a, "this is my pace right now," I have a, "this is how I am doing in the grand scheme of things" sense. It's probably all semantics and psychologically games, but whatever works best for me, right? :)

And being good to myself in my head was a significant factor. I am not sure what was happening with me last week, but today, I was nothing but lightness, positive thinking, happiness and confidence and it showed. :) It's amazing to me how much of an effect one's head-space can have on a run. Over the weekend, I read various posts from runners on the DailyMile about their half and full marathons (Pittsburg, Toronto, Mississauga). It was incredible to read about one person's high/PR versus someone else's stress during his/her run, and the personal challenges involved. How would I react, if, after all the effort to train and prepare, things just didn't go right that day? Could I overcome it or would it continue to eat at me slowly? I feel exhilarated, too, when I read someone's account of well-deserved success, but I learn more from someone else's "the good, the bad, and the ugly" account. I have to keep this mind for the next time I experience a disappointing race, and feel so reluctant to post anything about it (e.g. Run for Retina).

I also want to add to this post today something that I just realized about my training this year. Last year, when training for my half marathon, I ran four days a week, and I can find weeks during the program when I ran only three days because I opted out. I think there are several factors for this:

1. I am fitter. My body is not as tired from the exertion so I am doing better at adding another day.
2. I have a more specific goal. Last year, I was aiming to 'just finish' in the 2:30-ish zone. For my upcoming 5K, I am specific about running it under 30 minutes; therefore, I am more concerned about missing assigned workouts.
3. I am more of a disciplinarian with myself this year. I am better at getting myself out there to run, even when I am not 'feeling' it.
4. My blog and DailyMile. :) I cannot tell a lie (darn moral upbringing!) so with online friends who are sharing my running experience, I've got to stick to the plan and the goal. :) :) To those of you reading this right now, thank you!! :)

And on that final note, I plan on taking tomorrow off - LOL! I am still very good at taking a rest day after three consecutive days of runs. :) I have a 13K scheduled for Saturday, but I am going to see if I can sneak in another km to make up for lost mileage from last weekend's 10K race substitution for my 13K. However, this is also for an ego boost ... to see if I can run 14K straight without walking. :)

Happy long weekend! ... it's Victoria Day weekend in Canada ... Monday is a holiday! Fireworks! Thank you, British heritage in Canada, celebrating a dead monarch! :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wk11/D2 - An Easy 5K in the Cemetery

5K @37:13
Avg. Pace 7:25/km

As you can see from my pace, I took it very, very easy today. I opted to go for a run rather than taking a rest day, but with a tempo planned for tomorrow, I used today simply as a warm-up.

I headed with the boys to the cemetery. I left my iPod at home because of my new rule - no tunes on runs 5K or less. :) I also took my camera so I could take a few photos.

I am very comfortable in cemeteries, as a general rule. I don't quite understand people's automatic dislike for them. I think of my father whenever I am in a cemetery because, as a kid, I spent a lot of time in them with him. He loved the history cemeteries have to offer and has passed this on to me (hence my undergraduate history degree?). I spent many a Sunday afternoon with him exploring cemeteries around southwestern Ontario, listening to him explain someone's story or the connections between tombstones. Perhaps my comfort level comes from my viewpoint that a cemetery is more for the living than it is for the dead.

In particular, I really enjoy my local Mt. Pleasant cemetery. It's scenic and very park-like. There are always gardeners working in it, maintaining the beautiful grounds, and they allow dogs, providing plastic bag holders and garbage cans everywhere to ensure dog-walkers (and dog-runners!) co-exist with everyone else.

There is always someone there, tending to a plot-specific garden (this cemetery allows personal gardens around tombstones and there are quite a few). It is 'busy' in this sense, the number of people who pay their respects and maintain their loved one's plot. Without fail, whenever I am running in this cemetery, I see someone there, keeping the memory of someone else alive through some act.

While I am running, I like reading the tombstone headers and seeing something different every time I go. Just today I noticed a statue that has been there for years, but overlooked by me until now. I love the neatness and organization of all the little crosses in the veteran's area, but saddened by the number of them, only a tiny fraction of how many people who have fought in wars. There are family-specific areas, and ethnicity-specific areas. And as of last summer, there are new memorial walls for those who choose cremation.

So this is what I thought about and focused on rather than speed, pace, mileage, tempo, hills, and intervals. :) As much as I need that focus to keep my running and progressing, it is also very nice to get out 'just for a run.'

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wk11/D1 - A Very Good Hill Workout X 8 on a Tuneless Tuesday

Warm-up: 1.7K @12:05
Avg. Pace 7:14/km

Hill Workout X 8: 4.0K @31:40
Avg. Pace 7:53/km

Cool-down: 2.0K @14:08
Avg. Pace 7:03/km

A good day for a good hill workout. :)

I'm so glad that I took yesterday off as a rest day. My training program schedules an easy 8K every Monday, but I generally opt to take a rest day after a Sunday race. As it turns out, I was bone tired yesterday, as in, anything I did took great effort. :( There was no way I could have gone for a run; I just didn't have anything left to give after a crazy busy week. I believe that after 10 weeks of training, my body is tired and that I needed to take my "rest day" options just to have a bit of a break, especially before I begin the final "Track Work" phase of my training. Today proved to me it was the right thing to do. :)

Today marks the beginning of my last week for the "Strength Training" phase. I feel very good about getting outside to complete this workout before it started to rain ... again. I left the dogs at home :( and left the iPod at home, too, because it's Tuneless Tuesday (side note: I ran without music last Saturday, too! I missed having it on a sluggish run, but I did it). Me, myself, and I were not accompanied by any snipers on this run. I am pleased to report that those buggers did not appear today!

By the time I reached my hill base, I was feeling strong. Such a good sign! And my first foray up the hill went exceedingly well, the 'easiest' I have ever run up this hill. :) Another good sign! I didn't "fly" up it nor did it feel "easy," just for clarification, but it was good to have the sensation that if I had come across this steep of a hill early on in a race, I could have run up it without it wiping me out!

I was sharing the hill with two skateboarders so I spent my time at the hill watching out for them. I also remembered my sore hip flexor on the left side from last week so I made sure to vary where I ran on the hill this week - some of the trips up were done on the inside right, some were done in the middle, and others on the far left sidewalk. As I type now, I am not feeling the same tenderness that I did last week so I think this helped.

I actually felt good about each trip I made up. I honestly didn't think I had it in me to run up this hill 8 times, but I tried concentrating on one trip up at a time rather than on the number I had left to run. This seemed to help. :) I also tried to lose myself more in my thoughts so that I wasn't solely focusing on the challenge the hill was giving me. It was only on the last hike up, when my pace was slightly faster than a walk (!) that I had to resort to my counting game to distract me from how hard it was for me. But I have to tell you, the feeling of accomplishment, running up and down 4 km of hill, is great! :)

I then ran home and happily noticed my pace picking up near the end.

I am yawning up a storm while writing this so I think I will sleep deeply tonight. Once again I have the option of running 5K or a rest day tomorrow. I will play it by ear and see how I am feeling, but I think right now that, if I can sleep well tonight, I will be out running tomorrow. :)

It took effort on my part to go to yoga last night. This is the busy class with Grace, not Kundalini yoga that I enjoy so much on Wed. and Fri. We did a lot of work on our legs and boy! was it needed after my race on Sunday so I am very, very happy about making it to last night's class. I did notice today when running that my legs felt great. However, my shoulders were a little tight. We did not work on arms/shoulders too much last night so it was interesting for me to "feel" today how we hadn't. I really find that it makes a difference!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

AROUND THE SQUARE RUN 10K - Runpiker Series #1

If you happened to find this blog post while searching for your results from this race, click this link for Run Around the Square. Cheers!

For my friends who read my blog posts, thank you for your patience with my late posts as I try to catch up after a too busy week!

a.k.a "The Pancakes & Sausages Run"

I have used "The Drowned Rat Run" in my blog and on DailyMile too many times so I need a new moniker to differentiate this race from the others! :)

This is a new(er) race. The first one was held last year, and then added to the 2011 Runpiker Series, replacing the Embro Highland Games 10K. Because I have no blog record of running at this time last year, I checked my Garmin history for a past comparison ...

May 15, 2010
7.10K @55:01 with Wallace
Pace 7:44/km

This entry made me smile because it shows that I was adding mileage and that I was no longer walk/running by May of last year. A nice reminder as to how I was improving last year at this point in time ...

So how am I doing one year later?


May 15, 2011
10K @1:08:11
Avg. Pace 6:49/km
Gun start/Bib tag finish

Garmin time: 1:07:23
Avg. Pace 6:44/km

I am pleased! :)

But before I write more in my post, the t-shirt's quote because it's a good one:

"I pass through this world but once.

Any good, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any other human being, let me not, defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

~ Stephen Grellet


This weekend's race was held in Goderich, ~ 1 hour 10 minutes north of London, and truly one of the prettiest towns in Ontario by Lake Huron. Unfortunately, it wasn't easy to appreciate Goderich's enviable lakeside location when it's grey, raining non-stop, and there's a chilly wind ... brrr! It is hard to believe I was just sweating in humid, August-esque temperature weather in the last few days because Spring's rain and coolness returned with vengeance here last night and today. Although I was happy not to run in humidity, today's pelting rain was a little more than I bargained for. :)

Ben and I drove up early this morning, 'me' with a bag of dry clothes I anticipated needing, and 'he' with a fishing rod and gear. :) Originally, he was coming with me to cheer me on, but when he reminisced about some nice fishing spot up there that he used to frequent, I urged him to go fishing instead. Better for him to be happy and wet fishing than miserable and wet cheering for me! This was intended as a fun run, not a PR race or a half marathon, so his absence from the sidelines was not a problem (except for anyone reading this blog because there are no photos to share!).

I am going to confess that my heart sank a bit when I reached the 10K registration table and realized that there was much fewer of us running this distance than the 5K. It was my experience all last summer at the Runpiker Series races that the smaller the pool of runners in a 10K, the faster the average pace; therefore, the greater likelihood of me finishing at the tail end - LOL! I recognize that someone has to be the last one to cross the finish line, and heck, it might as well be me because I am competing in these races against me ... it's just that it is a little sobering, coming from my exaltation with my new PR at the Forest City Road Race, only to run at a similar pace in another race without the comfort of being 'mid-pack.' <sigh> Something else to laugh/reminisce about someday, right?

~92 people lined up for the 10K and ~211 for the 5K at the start line (sold out at 350 so unfortunately, multiple runners said forget-about-it! when they saw the weather). We were wet, cold and ready to run in order to warm up! :) The race started in the town's old fashioned square, and did a loop of the town area back to near the start line where the 5Kers branched off to cross the finish line, and the 10Kers continued running for another loop. It was a gun start, and for the first time in years that I have experienced this, the run participants hand-wrote their names on the bottom tab of the bib when picking up race bibs so that these tabs could be collected by volunteers as we crossed the finish line ...

I have to hand it to all the volunteers and participants ... for such a lousy weather day, everyone was in amazing spirits. Similar to other Runpiker Series races I have been in before, the local feel to these community runs always makes it a great experience. The volunteers were soaked standing out there, but still managed to enthusiastically clap and cheers runners on.

There is not too much to tell in the vein of a storyline as this race was a basic and straightforward run for me. I stayed within a larger, stretched out group of people who were running a similar pace as me, mainly 5K runners, and I enjoyed my time running within a larger group of people because I was anticipating that once I started my second loop, I would be running on my own.

Learning #1 - I did something that worked for me so mental note (!!) ... I didn't want to wear my thinner running jacket because I knew it wouldn't do well in the rain. I decided I was fine running with one l/s and one s/s t-shirt similar to the FCRR 10K. I also wanted to run in shorts rather than running pants, which would just get soaked. I remembered that I had saved my souvenir plastic yellow rain poncho from my Niagara Falls Half Marathon (I didn't need it at the time). I brought it with me to this race and ran with it on for the first 6K. I certainly stood out wrapped in bright yellow plastic !! I found this great photo on another runner's blog to show you what I mean! I looked like that guy in the poncho in this photo. :) However, it actually worked very, very well for me. It kept me from getting soaked, it helped with the wicked wind we encountered in spots, and it provided me with slight warmth. The drawback was not being able to access my water belt easily, but given the weather, I wasn't reaching for water too frequently. I pulled it off and put it in the water station garbage at the 6K point, which was good timing because I did fine without it after this point.

Learning #2 - I am still not eating breakfast early enough. I felt "full"/sluggish with breakfast for the first loop of my run and had to tell myself to hang in there, that the feeling would subside during my run (it did). You would think that I have learned this lesson by now, but clearly I have not! :( I gambled, thinking a protein shake would not be as filling as a bowl of oatmeal. Wrong. I am still working out the kinks for this. However, it did make me smile to overhear two other runners at separate points telling their running mates that they could 'still feel breakfast' during the run so I was not the only one ... :)

Learning #3 - Instead of using the "Time" data field on my Garmin, I experimented with using the "Pace-Average" option. I wrote in my race prediction post this morning that my simple goal was to maintain a "6:40-ish" pace. This worked well for me. Instead of paying attention to my "current pace" and feeling compelled to adjust up or down accordingly, I ran by feeling and had a better idea of my pace overall with each passing km. I didn't look at it too much, and stuck with running at a pace that felt right for me in the moment. I only used it to make sure I was on track. I am going to do this again in the next race to see if this continues to work for me.

1 km - 6:33
2 km - 6:36
3 km - 6:45
4 km - 6:49 (very windy!)
5 km - 6:48

The route itself was terrific - all flat - and through nice neighbourhoods where some folks were brave and kind enough to stand out front, cheering runners on. If the day had been sunny, we would have had fantastic views of Lake Huron - it is worth doing this run again next year just for this. :) However, with the grey weather, the sky and lake essentially blended together, and provided us with an off-the-lake wind - wooo!

I passed 5K runners who were starting to walk, and I ran by a busy church (the lot was full) and then headed toward the square again. This is when I felt a slight urge to just stop running and call it a 5K for the day. Ha! Clearly the snipers I experienced earlier in the week during my training runs had left some buddies behind. :( Again, this was connected to a sense of dread around the loop again all by myself.

I ran into the square, went to the left, smiled and said thank you to the volunteers at this juncture who cheered me on, and continued my race.

Probably the best thing that happened to me was rounding the corner and seeing that I wasn't too far behind other 10K runners. I was no longer in a group, but I could see runners ahead, and this was good enough for me. And check out these splits! :)

6 km - 6:44
7 km - 6:44
8 km - 6:44

I could feel myself feeling more energetic and run stronger, but this is when I had to think about what to do. Do I run with this energetic wave that I hitting me, and risk running out of fuel at the end? Or do I bank on it being my pace for the rest of the run? I decided to hold myself at this even keel and not risk it.

And this is when the coolest part of the race occurred for me. The runners I could see in the distance? I caught up to them. :) Because I ran this very even pace and stayed the course, I gained on some runners and then I was part of a mini-pack again. I even passed a couple of runners, which simultaneously made me feel very good and a little guilty. LOL!

9 km - 6:56

Learning #4 - See this drop in pace? This is when I made the error of following the pace of a threesome in front of me. Rather than concentrating on my own feeling of pace (what I had been doing), I fell in behind them with their pace and stayed with it. Hindsight is 20/20 - maybe I should have double-checked my Garmin at this point as a motivator to run faster, but I think I was so happy just to have caught up from so far behind that I feel into a stay-with-the-group mentality! In the last km, I witnessed the one man's family cheering and jumping up and down with glee cheering him on - it was similar to hearing my nieces and nephew getting so excited. It was a heart-warming moment on such a dreary day. :)

10 km - 6:48

So I followed this group across the finish line. They were clearly excited with their time and success. I watched as the clock changed over to :08 as I ran by it, and felt very good about being less than a minute off from my PR. I honestly had not expected to do this "well" after a week of doing everything wrong in preparation for a race. :) And as you can see from this post, I actually learned a lot from this race as well, which is even more important.

So while wet, cold and tired, I headed to the square gazebo to collect my catered breakfast of pancakes with real maple syrup, sausages, fruit, muffins and croissants. How sweet to have this race catered with a real breakfast! I also stayed put with several other wet runners in the hope that I would win one of the draws, but no such luck today. I met Ben at our appointed time, changed into my dry clothes, and we were off toward home, enjoying our time together and going out for lunch for him. :)

I am taking tomorrow off as a rest day and then I will be back at the hill for my third and final hill workout on Tuesday. Happy weekend!

Race Prediction - Around the Square 10K

I can't post when Blogger.com is down (for two days!). :( And I can't post when my time inbetween runs is fully booked! :(

Sorry for the lack of posts - I am now two runs behind as I write this! - but I will be catching up on them later and back-dating them.

But, rather than getting any further behind, I can jump in now and take it from here. :) I just wanted to share that, as of this morning, the wind is howling, the rain is coming down in heavy spurts, and it is 11 degrees Celsius. And the funny thing is, I think I prefer this type of weather for running over sticky, hot and humid! Ha!

I am not expecting to PR today NOR am I am aiming to PR. I have been very physically active over the last few days so my body is a little on the tired side. I am running this race in Goderich for FUN! I love the Runpikers Series and I am excited that it begins earlier this year so fun it is today!

I will say this ... I would like to see my pace in the 6:40-ish zone, but if I am feeling the after-effect of my week while running, an average pace under 7:00 min. will suffice!

Race post later in the day. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Wk10/D4 - An Easy 5K on a Humid Morning

I am posting this two days after the fact ...

5K @38:14
Avg. Pace 7:38/km

A crappy run, but it is what it is. I am still glad I took yesterday off and ran as a warm-up today. I went out early but it was still humid and I drank a lot of water during such a short run! I don't want to complain about the nice weather, especially after such a hard, cold winter and all the rain in the last month or so, but I just want a gradual increase to hot temperatures so I can adjust. :) This wicked extremes in temperatures is not easy to adjust to with my running!

Wallace came along solo as Angus was training with Ben. I did a lot of walking, too - I took my 6.5K loop for a 5K run, stopping my watch when I walked up hills because my heart was not into trying them today. I am so pooped!

I went to Kundalini yoga last night. As always, a great class. I was complimented by my instructor on my improved breathing (she has been working on this with me). I am enjoying my progress, too!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wk10/D3 - The Sniper Control Run (Tempo for 20 Minutes)

It's odd to be posting a run so late, but I wasn't able to access my blog when Blogger.com is down. :( It must have been quite the problem on their end because I have not been able to access my blog for two days!

I am back-dating this post to keep the dates of my runs accurate for future reference. I now realize that for anyone who follows my blog from their blog list will be receiving the backdated ones instead of the most recent one (my Goderich race) so I will give a link to here. :)

Warm-up: 2.2K @16:14
Avg. Pace 7:17/km

Tempo Run 20 minutes @6:16/km

Cool-down: 2.5K @27:53
Avg. Pace 11:15/km

This turned out to be a very mentally challenging run ... a mixed bag of sorts.

It was hot and humid and I was feeling blah! During my warm-up, I felt very negative. I was late getting out because I had spent the previous few hours feeling nauseous for some reason (this has been going on for days). I was not happy and my reflected this ...

It's too humid to run ...

Today is just not a good day to run ...

I think I should postpone my tempo run until tomorrow ...

I doubt I can run a 6:19/km pace again today ...

I was forced to conduct an intervention with myself !!

What is going on here?

Where are all these snipers in my head coming from this week?

I WILL run my tempo run today!

I WILL try!

I WILL get this done! ... and

It really doesn't matter if your tempo pace sucks!

So I did it. I started my tempo run in my usual spot and gave it the best that I could. I had a greater challenge this week controlling my pace. Within the first km, I was as high as 5:00/km and as low as 6:45/km. I struggled to find the happy medium of (hopefully) 6:19/km or faster. I think my inability to find an even keel contributed to my tiring after the 10 minute mark - last week I gained speed after 10 minutes, but this was not the case today. :( But I did the best that I could under the circumstances - humidity, tummy issues, sniper attacks and a cranky attitude!

I also want to send out good karma to the runner who passed us during our tempo run. He enthusiastically declared, "The three of you are doing just great!" I am sure my "thank you" sounded more weak than intended - LOL! I was breathing more heavily at this point. :)

I think my running challenges this week must be a counter-balance to last week's, "Best Training Week Ever!" I fully admit that I have been over-exerting myself outside in the yard all week and that this may have something to do with it. I am going to exercise my "rest day" option for tomorrow rather than running an easy 5K. I will go to Kundalini yoga, run an easy 5K on Saturday, and then have a fun, relaxed race in Goderich on Sunday.

There! I am already feeling a little more positive. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wk10/D2 - A Challenging Hill Workout X 6 on a Tuneless Tuesday

Warm-up: 1.6K @11:27
Avg. Pace 7:10/km

Hill Workout X 6: 3K @23:04
Avg. Pace 7:39/km

Cool-down: 1.8K @12:42
Avg. Pace 7:09/km

I am still running up the hill in this pic. :)

Today was very interesting (for me). I headed out solo toward my chosen hill and the warm-up run felt very sluggish. When I look at the Garmin time now, I realize it wasn't that bad; it just felt that way. But it was enough to make me start thinking that todays' workout was going to be a bust; I just wasn't it feeling it. And it got me to thinking, where did all these snipers in my head come from?

Once I reached the hill, I took off my water belt (loaded with water in case), snapped it around a street light, and took one mini bottle with me. I remembered that the last time I did this workout, my mouth would be dry by the time I reached the top of the hill, hence why I kept a mini water bottle in hand during the actual workout this time.

The first hill climb went well, but it was tough. After a minute of easy jogging at the bottom, I tackled it again. This is when the snipers in my head reappeared. I started thinking that I wasn't ready for this workout today and that I couldn't do 6 hill climbs consecutively. And as I ran back down the hill, I thought about how I was going to change this around because I needed to.

By the third climb up, I started changing my thinking ... my legs love this! This is great! This is easy! I am becoming so strong by doing this! I think I'm losing lost 10lbs. just by doing this! This workout alone is shaving my speed by 5 seconds! I wish I could do a hill workout everyday!

And then I was at the top of the hill again. Woo hoo! I was half way to goal! :) Now to repeat ...

During the fourth climb up ... one 1,000, two 1,000, three-1,000 .... all the way up to 24 1,000.

During the fifth climb up ... one 1,000 ... all the way to 27 1,000. Must be getting a little slower if I go by this count ...

And finally, during the sixth and final sloooow climb ... one two buckle my shoe, three four shut the door, five six pick up stick, seven eight lay them straight, nine ten a big fat hen ... again! One two buckle my shoe ...

It was with great joy that I jogged down the hill for a final time, collecting my water belt, giving myself a few minutes to walk, and then running home. :)

It was busy while I was on hill. Three cyclists and three runners went up in the time I was doing my workout so I was impressed to see all of these individuals tackle it. The majority of cyclists and runners I saw, however, took it down (that would be me at any other time!). There was a young couple who drove down the hill and parked at my starting point at the base of the hill for some reason (?) so I had an audience while running up and down.

And today was Tuneless Tuesday. Last week, when I headed out the door, I was thrown off by my change in schedule (Monday off after race day Sunday) so it was only when I was running home last week from my first hill workout that I realized what day it was ... :( Today, I did remember, and my workout, warm-up and cool-down went just fine without music. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wk10/D1 - A Sluggish, But Still Very Nice & Easy 8K on a Sunny Day :)

8K @59:02
Avg. Pace 7:23/km

A rare picture of the three amigos sitting together, watching robins making a nest in a tree outside. They might not have any desire to go running with me, but they always welcome me home. :)

Today there is very little to report on my run. It was gorgeous weather ... again! :) ... so it is was great to use running as an excuse to be out in it. My intention today was to run it easy, just following the pace I set naturally, ignoring the Garmin altogether. The first three km were very sluggish and slow. It was hard to get my heavy-feeling legs to move. I wasn't surprised - I half expected this. In hindsight, I now remember that my time was affected by a walking stop along the path that I was forced to make, too. A city worker in a sidewalk cleaning machine blocked the path for a few minutes so another runner and myself has to clear out of the way and wait until he turned off the machine so we could squeeze past. No worries. :)

After such a great week of workouts last week, and a rest day, I knew it would take longer for me to warm up. I have paid attention to this ever since I started running, and I now think that I am the type of runner whose slowest/most sluggish run is after a rest day. I usually take a day off before a race because this is what a number of training programs suggest, but it might be better for me in the future to go for a short, "warm-up" run instead. I am scheduled for a 13K this weekend, but have exchanged this LSD for a 10K race on Sunday. I am planning to make up for the missing 3K by using it as a warm-up/short run on Saturday, and see if it has any effect (if any) on Sunday's run.

The rest of my run was in the 7:01/7:03 range. I don't care because it was nice to go an easy 8K when the rest of the week will entail hills, a tempo run, and a 10K race. :)


I opted not to run to and from yoga tonight because I have a hill workout scheduled for Tuesday. I am not confident at this point that an additional 3K wouldn't affect how I feel on the hills tomorrow! Ben had to opt out due to a migraine so I went solo to the club. Grace is the instructor on Monday nights. The class attracts different people and has a different vibe from my Kundalini classes (not surprising). This class is typical of yoga classes at a fitness club; no meditative components and using yoga as a workout. It's interesting to feel myself "glowing" by the end of the class because the exertion from holding poses is providing the workout the workout rather than cardio or weight-lifting. :)

Hill X 6 tomorrow! :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mushroom Barley Soup

The full-bodied flavour is worth the longer cooking time. Keep a container or two of this soup in the freezer, as it freezes well. The barley and vegetables offer a potent cholesterol-lowering punch, while the mushrooms off anti-cancer action, making this soup more than just delicious comfort food.

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 oz. dried mushrooms (such as porcini)
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 parsnip, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
2 cups button mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup barley (preferably pot barley)
8 cups sodium-reduced beef, chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, por boiling water over dried mushrooms; soak for 25 minutes. Remove mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid, and squeeze out excess water. Coarsely chop mushrooms and set aside. Strain soaking liquid through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or a coffee filter and set aside.

Heat oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat; add onion and saute until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add celery, parsnip, carrots, soaked mushrooms and button mushrooms; saute another 5 minutes. Stir in barley, broth and reserved mushroom liquid. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours or until barley is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 8 servings

PER SERVING NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Calories, 150, Protein: 10g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: less than 1g, Carbohydrate: 24g, Dietary Fibre: 5g

from The Enlightened Eaters Whole Foods Guide by Rosie Schwartz

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wk9/D4 - An Unexpectedly Awesome LSD 13K :) :)

13K @1:30:12
Avg. Pace 6:57/km

Avg. Moving Pace 6:50/km

Roll me in chocolate and cover me with nuts !! What a great, great running week for me !! :)

First, there was my 10K race PR at the FCRR on Sunday. Then there was my successful first attempt at a hill workout on Tuesday, followed by a terrific experience with my first tempo run on Thursday. I honestly was not expecting to have today's whipped cream and cherry on top. :)

Backing up 24 hours ... I did attend my Kundalini yoga class last night. I was set to run to class, too, before a mini thunderstorm rolled in. I used my running time to cuddle with a quivering Wallace on the couch before it ended and driving instead (he has developed a fear of storms in the last year for some reason :( - poor little fella!). My yoga class was great as usual, and we focused on 'Reconnecting with the Psyche' after our warm-up exercises. I noticed how much 'easier' it was to hold my plank pose (improved upper body strength), and how my balance is improving with some standing poses. :) Perhaps it is just as well that I didn't run because I am sure my body appreciated the rest.

Today is the first time that I have ever headed out for a 13K run without feeling a little anxious. Even though I have run this length 3X before without walking, I still have it in my head that this is a challenging distance for me to run. Today is the first time I have truly felt confident about running it from beginning to end. :)

When I headed out with the boys into the sunshine and cool-ish breeze, I coached myself on making sure this was a nice and easy run. My training book instructs me to resist running fast, even if I am feeling faster, because today's scheduled run is all about building endurance and taking it easier after two separate, harder workouts earlier in the week. I promised myself to resist looking at my Garmin too much, and just to run at a pace that felt right to me regardless.

And I did just that. :) It was a gorgeous day so I spent my time people watching. There were quite a few people out in Springbank Park in this glorious weather so there was plenty to see. Three women doing yoga together in the sunshine. A significant number of elderly people out for a stroll. There were several families walking together and interesting to me, there were far more little dogs being walked today than medium or large dogs. There were other runners out, too, but less than the number of cyclists and walkers using the paths. A few people were out on rollerblades, although this seems to have decreased in popularity in the last few years. There were several canoes out on the river, which was picturesque, and the merry-go-round at Storybook Gardens was open officially for business. :)

That last paragraph is just my way of proving how I spent my time while running ... I concentrated on what was going on all around me rather than focusing on pace or distance or wondering how I was performing ...

I admit that I did look at my Garmin a couple of times. The first few times, my pace was 6:30 and 6:45, which made me feel great! And on the third time I checked, my pace was 7:30. This is when I decided that I wouldn't check it again until I reached a certain landmark (the dog park in Greenway Park) because this is when I would need to check it for distance.

I kept my promise. :) My dogs and I paced each other for another 5km+ before I reached the dog park. This was the first time that I checked my 'Distance' and 'Time' data fields: 12.2K and 1:25 and change. WOW !! I am sure my eyes bugged out of my head like a cartoon character because suddenly realizing that I was in a position to finish my 13K in under 1:30 made me gleeeeeeeeeful! :) :) So I started really running. How funny to realize that, in the 13th km, usually my most difficult km, I was able to find some energy to run faster. :)

But this is when life intervenes ... in a funny way. :) As I am running and grinning, thinking about the great, ego-boosting time I am about to accomplish, there is a confluence of park users. There is the lady walking her husky dog (not quite in control), the mother on her bike with her young daughter on another bike (they yo-yoed with me 3X for several kms), and a car rounding the curve, crossing our paths to enter the dog park parking lot ... and me! I see this all happening so I remove myself from the mix by jumping off the path away from everyone onto a grassy knoll with the intention of returning to the path when it's clear ... and this is when I am pulled to a full, dead stop. A 90 lb. dog and a 40+ lb. dog, in unison, figured that a grassy section on our run was meant as a 'pee break' for them! I couldn't be angry because the sight of the two of them together, peeing, looking up at me with relief, was priceless. :) :)

With their bladders emptied, we resumed running and I pushed the pace in an effort to finish my 13K before my watch showed 1:30. I looked like a crazy person, running down the path with my left arm held out and bent in front of me, watching the time data field on my Garmin, praying I could beat 1:30! I so wanted that to happen! :) But as it turns out, I needed an additional 12 seconds to run a full 13K, and after stopping my watch, I caught myself pumping the air with fisted right arm with happiness. :) :)

With a big smile on my face, I walked 2.16 km home, showered, and went out for a celebratory lunch with Benny {he had a great morning with his friends doing his passion/hobby and had done very well too! :) }.

As I type, I am feeling the runner's after-high, and Wallace is snoring loudly. :P I declared an earlier week in my training program a great one, but I have to say now that it's in second place because this week rocked! :) :)

Rest day tomorrow and a scheduled 8K for Monday. Happy weekend, everyone !! :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wk9/D3 - A Very Sunny Tempo Run! :)

2.1K @10:30, Pace 7:03/km

Temp0 Run:
3.2K @20:04, Pace 6:19/km

1.5K @15:26, Pace 7:01/km

Woo hoo! I am one happy, happy, happy camper! :) What a great run for my first tempo! :)

My goal when heading out today was to maintain a pace of 6:30/km for 20 minutes. I thought this was realistic for me, and that I might find it a little challenging. I never expected to shave my goal by 11 seconds/km. Just awesome!

My program scheduled me for a 1 mile warm-up (1.6 km), but I ran a little further to make sure I was on a flatter running surface for the beginning of my tempo. I decided to measure the W/U, tempo and C/D separately for easier analysis/measurement.

I started off running too fast, but I am assuming that this is common. It took a few minutes to find my pace range. After a little while. I found myself starting to run faster, more between the 6:00 and 6:10 minute range, but I slowed myself down because I didn't believe that I could hold that pace for a full 20 minutes. I felt good and although I could feel that I was running faster than usual, it didn't feel 'out of my range' or too much.

The best part of this run happened at the 11 minute mark. I thought this is when I might tire or a start slowing down. I was very surprised to note that my pace became faster. I would never have guessed this would happen! I had to slow myself down again because I was afraid it wouldn't last, but it turns out I was wrong. It did last and I smiled all the way home from my cool-down because I knew I had just 'hit this ball out of the park' - a home run. :) Very pleasantly surprised and elated, especially because it was so difficult to get out of bed this morning (not enough sleep) so I thought I would be sluggish out on my run.

The bar officially has been raised for me. I aimed for 6:30, ran 6:19 so there's no going back. It looks like I should aim for 6:10-6:15 during my tempo run next Thursday. :)

On a side note, I am not sure if it is a coincidence in the timing or not, but ever since I ran a 6:40/km pace at the FCRR 10K, my pace during my subsequent runs has increased, as if my legs 'know' that greater speed and now are naturally gravitating to it. Does that even make sense?! :) Pretty cool if that's what expected to happen.

I have the option of running an easy 5K tomorrow or a rest day. Because I am running 13K Saturday, I prefer to take Friday off. However, running may be my only method of transportation to yoga again tomorrow night; therefore, I might 'have' to run. :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wk9/D2 - Easy 5K + Kundalini Yoga

5K /2 + Kundalini Yoga

So I tried something a little different tonight ... I used running as transportation! :)

I felt good today. There were no sore leg muscles as half expected from yesterday's hill workout. I climbed stairs without issue and honestly didn't feel any twinges or aches. I am thinking that my leg muscles were strong enough to handle yesterday's workout ... woo hoo! We'll have to see next week how they feel after climbing the hill again 4 + 2 times. :)

As a result, I decided to go for the 5K, but to split it up. I would run the 2.5K to the fitness club for my Wednesday night Kundalini Yoga class and then run the 2.5K back ...

RUN #1

1 km - 6:50

Wow! My legs feel cement-like. :( Very heavy and slow to turn over. I didn't expect this so I am surprised. I automatically deduce that maybe there will be a residual effect from yesterday's workout ... Nice to have this downhill for running ... :)

2 km - 7:05

What goes down usually has to go back up ... VERY challenging to run up the hill! Ha! My legs are not sore, just sluggish and not very happy about having to go up hill.

.64 km - 8:33

Not feeling it at the crest of the hill and I have to stop to walk across the road to get the Athletic Club. I am wondering at this point if I will have it in me to run home. :(


Great class as always. Capping off the work we did last week, tonight was the last time we worked on our psyche. The arm exercises have my arms tingling from muscle tension, and apparently I am moving my shoulders too much during Breath of Fire. I started to internally laugh at one point because the various stretches and poses we did made me realize that my muscles were affected by yesterday! :) I can feel it now !! I suddenly feel a little tenderness in areas of my legs that I haven't felt before. Very interesting ... New-to-me poses tonight and some changes to regular moves. I like the warm-up for the first half of class because it is always familiar, but the last half is always different. I enjoy the balance between the two.

RUN #2

Well, I'm thinking that maybe I should just walk so I can retain my relaxed, "zen" feeling, but I am curious as to how I run after a yoga class, just for a change from the norm.

1 km - 6:36

Sweet downhill! I am holding myself back rather than flying, which would be so easy to do.

2 km - 7:15

Back up the hill I enjoyed in Run #1 as a downhill. It is not so bad and I just try to stay steady. I "feel" like I am running it very slow.

.43 km - 6:01

I run faster (a strider?) because I am watching my Garmin for the 5K mark. I am feeling pooped, but I am determined to finish my "5K" before walking the rest of the way home.

I really enjoyed this experiment, and I may do this a little more in the future now that the nicer spring weather is finally peeking around the corner. It was the first time that I ran such a "short" distance as my scheduled runs are usually 6.5K +. I am very very pleased that I actually felt up to running 5K because I truly expected to be sore today and opting for the "rest day" option.

Tempo run tomorrow ... really looking forward to it. :)