Sunday, July 31, 2011

Egg on My Face ... But in a GOOD Way (?!?!) :)

Did you read my post from Saturday? If you did, you will understand better why I am posting an "egg on a face" picture!

Over the weekend, I thought it was a good time to share my doubts about being able to run 19.5K / 12 miles. This has been in the back of my mind already since last week when I first attempted 19.5K and it's continued to be in my thoughts all week. When I shortened my run on Thursday down to an 8K from my scheduled 13K, I was pretty much convinced that I had hit a training wall.

Hence my blog posting Saturday ...

I went to bed Friday night with the intention of waking early early early with Ben so I could try my best to run 17-18K in the early morning heat and humidity (rather than dealing with the intensity of the heat and humidity later in the day). Ben awoke to his alarm at 3:30 a.m. so he could drive two hours south to meet his friends for muskie fishing on Lake Erie ... and I rolled over and went back to sleep!

I slept in until 7:00 a.m. (this is late for me). When I woke up and saw the time, I knew that I was really hooped in regard to my run. By the time I had coffee and something to eat, my run was going to be much later than intended, thus setting myself up for yet another miserable run in the humidity and heat. :(

This picture says it all! :(

I drank my coffee, ate a hard boiled egg and a banana (trying something new as a pre-run meal), got dressed for my LSD run, and less than an hour after eating, decided "W" - whatever! - and headed out with William Wallace.

And wouldn't you know it ... just before we had finished running the first 2K, the sky suddenly opened up and poured ... just like that. It was like having a personal rain cloud above me, literally dumping all of its contents. I was soaked! Strangely enough, it was my body only and not my shoes that were affected by this soaker so it wasn't an issue to keep on running.

As I continued, I realized how nice it was outside. In direct contrast to last week's run, the sudden downpour had not made the air more muggy. Instead, the air was remarkably fresh with a cooler breeze off the river. Because it was so cloudy, I didn't have to use my sunglasses nor did I feel the hot sun's rays beating mercilessly down on me. This small, weather interval was a miracle! :) And it's the reason why I was able to run my full LSD today. :)

I found a slow, steady pace early in my run. I could feel that it was just right for me. For the majority of my run, until I was into my 16th km, my average pace held at 7:20/km (11:48/mile) - it never wavered on my Garmin (rather than "actual" pace, I had the display window set for "average" pace. I wish that this was faster, especially since I was crossing into the sub-7 zone earlier in the year when training for my sub-30 5K race. However, I know that I couldn't go faster if I wanted to go the distance. This was my comfortable training pace for LSDs so I stuck with it.

I intended to run 17K. It was when I ran more than 10K that I started to dream about 20K..
And the closer I got to 16K, the more I started to believe. The weather was in my favour and I didn't want to blow my golden opportunity!

Just before finishing my 16th km, I started to feel sluggish. This is when I saw the slight change in my average pace for the first time - 7:21/km. I knew that the longer I ran, the slower I would become so I set another goal for myself - don't let my average pace slow past the 7:30/km point.

After keeping steady for so long, I reached the bottom of a small by 19.5K. Usually this hill is not an issue but after running for so long, I gave myself permission to walk up it, and then sluggishly ran the last 0.5K toward home. I wanted to end it on a nice even km number. :) It was with tired joy that I saw my Garmin pronounce 20 km. :)

Looking back on that Saturday post, I wasn't completely wrong. If I didn't have this weather window - this break from our sizzling summer heat - I doubt I could have run this distance. I really lucked out! :) And I am still sticking to my plan to postpone my scheduled LSD until the following week because I need a recovery week. I really like my 17-week training program; I plan to use it again after this round. However, I will likely tweak it by turning it into a "22 week" plan (or something like that) instead. I think I need to incorporate recovery weeks into it because I am finding it just a little too much at my current weight, level of fitness, and running ability.

Happy Civic Monday, everyone. :)

Week 6/17 HM Training - Run #5 20K PB

As of today, I have accumulated multiple PB's ... :)

PB weekly mileage = 61.7 km (38.3 miles)

PB monthly mileage = 220.3 km (136.9 miles)

I am counting the following because my current training program scheduled me to leap from an LSD of 16K/10 miles to an LSD of 19.5K/12 miles in one week. However, I still want to track the in-between kms. I have run these distances only twice before - the first time when training for my HM last year (using the 10:1 run/walk method), and then during my actual HM last October.

This is why this is such a big deal to me. :)

I achieved the following by running slowly, but solidly, with one brief stop - one to scoop up Wallace poop - and one "walk up a small hill" at then end of my run (you can see the pace plummet slightly between 19K and 20K):

PB 17K training run = 2:05:23 (7:23/km ... 11:52/mile)

PB 18K training run = 2:12:54 (7:23/km ... 11:52/mile)

PB 19K training run = 2:20:38 (7:24/km ... 11:55/mile)

PB 19.5K / 12 miles = 2:24:56 (7:26/km ... 11:58/mile)

PB 20K = 2:29:13 (7:28/km ... 12:00/mile)

Monthly Review - JULY 2011

220.3 km TOTAL

27:12:13 hours

My highest month to date !! :)
By 40 km+ !!

Wicked !!!!!!!! :)

My next few months will not match this total as my strength training phase and track phase are coming up next.

Nevertheless, I think I will still be logging in my second and third best months to date for the rest of the summer and into the fall.

Week 6/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest
T = 11.5K = 8 striders
W = 10K
Th = 8K (supposed to be 13K)
F = rest
S = 8K + 8 striders
Sun = 20K (supposed to be 19.5K / 12 miles) :)

TOTAL = 61.7 km (38.3 miles)

This is a new PB - my highest mileage to date, ever, including both 2010 and 2011. :)

2011 - 50K earlier this month (31.1 miles)
2010 - 47.6K in November (29.6 miles)

I think this will be my record for awhile since hill training, tempo runs and track work are scheduled. Still very cool! :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blog News & Commentary

1. The page, Running Goals (accomplished) has been updated.

2. The page, Running Goals (in progress) has been updated.

3. A new page, Mileage, has been added.

4. A new page, Race Placement, has been updated and returned to the page line-up.

5. I have responded to any comments that have been left for me in the last few weeks by leaving a subsequent comment. First, thank you for writing to me - it is appreciated and valued. :) Second, I am not sure if you receive notification if a comment has received a reply, hence why I am making note of it here.

And now for a few comments ... this is a blog/diary after all. :)

When I started this training program, I noted that there would be a few extra long runs by this point. Here is what I have slated for the next few months:

This week ... Week #6 - LSD 19.5K/12 miles (total for week = 62K)


Week #7 - LSD 22.5K /14 miles (total for week = 65K)

Week #8 - LSD 26K/16 miles (total for week = 68.5K)

Week #9 - LSD 19.5K/12 miles (Phase II - strength training
(hills and tempo runs) begin)

Week #10 - LSD 16K/10 miles


Week #11 - LSD 16K/10 miles

Week #12 - Race Week - 1st HM Springbank

This is what I am realizing - I can't do it. This is too much for me at my current level of fitness and my current running ability. I am not making excuses because I don't want to do it. In fact, I was quite hopeful and enthusiastic when I started this program that my running level would be such that I could do it. This isn't crying uncle.

However, after working in some wiggle room and needing three weeks worth of 16K LSDs before I felt like I could run that distance steadily and consistently, I now see a lot of additional mileage being added to my LSD schedule without the standard "recovery" or "rest" weeks added in (do you know what I am referring to? The "rule" that you add 10% more mileage each week until Week #4, at which time you dramatically decrease your mileage as a rest/recovery week before resuming the mileage increase).

We are also in the midst of the hottest and most humid summer on record. Although I am proving myself to be truly "Canadian" by bitching about the weather, it seriously is challenging to run right now because I am not accustomed to it. I applaud runners who regularly run in this type of weather where they live, but the intensity of the H&H is really affecting my pace and ego! :)

I experienced this last year and I think I am at the same point this year ... I am proud of how I have been able to slowly add mileage for the last few months, but I do not have faith that in this heat and humidity, I can add almost 4K to a running distance I have been challenged by for the last three weeks. So this is what I am going to do:

This week - Week #6 - tomorrow I will aim for 17-18K. I will see where I am mentally at by 17K to see if I can push myself to 18K.

Week #7 - no LSD. I need a rest. I have the South Huron 8K race on Sunday and since creating my schedule, I have mused and hummed and hawed about how I was going to balance an 8K trail race with a scheduled 22.5K on the same day. I thought about a double run on the same day and I thought about switching the LSD to Saturday while running my scheduled 8K + 8 striders as a my race on Sunday. Now it makes better sense to me to cancel it.

Week #8 - I am going to see where I am at before deciding.

Week 6/17 HM Training - Run #4 8K + 8 striders

Today I crossed over into the 200 km zone for total km run during the month of July. I have an LSD scheduled for tomorrow so once I complete it, I can officially post my highest mileage month ever. :) This is why I am posting a photo that is supposed to represent the looong road ... a lot of miles run for me! :)

Today's run was good. However, I left later than intended. First, I didn't set the alarm. I slept until I naturally woke up because I'm exhausted and needed to sleep as much as I could. However, I can't do this tomorrow because the forecasted heat and humidity + my longest LSD scheduled to date = the need to wake up early early early. Second, Ben had a bad night of sleep. I needed to run to the drug store for him first thing, and this was my focus until much later in the day. And finally, William Wallace was sick again in the night ... on our living room carpet. :( While I was cleaning this up, our cat, Smudge, threw up twice in the kitchen (?!!?!). What are the odds of me waking up to a sick dog, cat and partner all at the same time? Maternal care comes before running - LOL!

So I have to say, I'm impressed that I actually made it outside for a run because I was very, very tempted to skip it. :) William Wallace came with me. It was hot, but not terribly hot. There was little humidity in the air (a wonderful reprieve) so I knew I could handle an 8K in this. I headed toward campus for a change, and it was a good decision. The path was less busy, it was mainly in shade, and the breeze off the river, although warm, was still somewhat refreshing in the heat. All this made it much easier for me to run. I saw multiple golden splits again so that provided me with an ego-boost. I really needed that. :)

When my sister and BIL were here the last time, they brought a flat of Gatorade with them. In this heat and humidity, they choose to have a cold Gatorade as soon as they walk in the door after an LSD. Every once in a while, I purchase a Vitamin Water (lemonade flavour) for the same reason (I like the taste). However, I am very leery about jumping onto the sports drinks bandwagon - I consider a lot of this to be hyped up marketing for a highly processed product with a degree of truthiness (just my opinion - please feel welcome to disagree with me and I am more than willing to change my mind, but this is how I feel about a lot of these products at the present time). And in the next paragraph, I am about to prove how susceptible I am to marketing and hype anyway ... :)

I am sharing this today because, when I arrived home, I drank a Zico coconut water. I didn't do much research on any particular brand of coconut water before buying it; I just happened to find this flat of 12 with 3 bonus bottles while shopping at Costco yesterday and decided to try it. Coconut water is receiving a lot of press lately for being a natural alternative to sports drinks. It's been in the back of my mind to check it out because I believe in the benefits of restoring hydration/electrolytes to your body after a long run, particularly after a run on a warm/hot day, but was turned off by the sports drinks marketed to people who are drinking them like soda. I liked what I was reading about coconut water - no added sugar, a label list I could read and understand (remember the Food Rules!), and comparable to a banana. The taste was okay - it's different. I have 14 more bottles to drink after my runs in the next few weeks so we'll give it an honest try and determine if it works for me or not. :)

I went to Kundalini Yoga last night. It was a smaller class, which I enjoy more because it is usually the core group who attend faithfully. I spoke to Judy about DVDs and/or CDs for at home. I have some leads and will be pursuing this as I like the idea of adding to more sessions per week, even if it means doing it solo at home. I am training for a half marathon on my own so I hope I can handle yoga solo as well. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011


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


PART I: What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

RULE #12 - Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle.

Most supermarkets are laid out the same way: Processed food products dominate the centre aisles of the store, while the cases of mostly fresh food - produce, meat and fish, dairy - line the walls. If you keep to the edges of the store, you'll be much more likely to wind up with real food in your shopping cart. This strategy is not foolproof, however, since things like high-fructose corn syrup have crept into the dairy case under the cover of flavoured yogurts and the like.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Week 6/17 HM Training - Run #3 8K (Not 13K)

It's not often I post something like this, but today's run sucked! :(

I ran 8K today and I ran it at the pace I have been running at in the heat and humidity so at least that's something. However, I'm disappointed that the wheels came right off at this point, and in spite of my valiant efforts to run/walk the rest of the way in order to still claim a 13K, I couldn't do it. I just gave up.

It's funny how often I read that running is a great "de-stressor" and how ideal it is when someone has a lot on his or her mind, but I find that the reverse can be true, too. Sometimes trying to get the run done adds to the stress rather than alleviating it ... and then the stress is compounded when the run doesn't go well. :( I really should have cancelled it and taken today as a rest day instead.

To make matters worse, it's the THIRD time in the last three weeks that my scheduled 13K on Thursdays hasn't happened:

1. Today - 8K only (too tired; too muggy for me too handle after the rain)

2. Last week - 0K (migraine on Wednesday, and then opted to do Wednesday's workout with striders on a treadmill the following day)

3. Two weeks ago - 11K only (too hot and humid for me)

I don't think I was the only unhappy camper out there. Most of the runners I ran by today were not very friendly. I smiled and nodded at a lot of people, but no one acknowledged me back. In fact, I had one runner run my out of my lane. :( All runners, walkers, cyclists, etc. keep to the right side of the yellow line on the Thames Valley Path. As I was running around this curve and down, this man ran up and at me. I expected him to move to his right to his proper lane, but it soon became clear that he had no intention of doing so - he looked like he was ready to run me over unless I moved so I frowned and moved left to accommodate him. It's rare that something like this happens and it's weird that he refused to move into his proper lane, especially since I was likely not the first and not the last person he did that to today. :(

The only good news I have to share - I have officially run over 800 km this year.

Tomorrow is a rest day and then it's 8K + 8 striders on Saturday followed by a rematch with 19.5K, which I might be reconsidering. 18K sounds more of a reasonable goal for me to set than the training program's 12 miles. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Week 6/17 HM Training - Run #2 10K+ and 8 striders

My running path was not quite this peaceful or beautiful this morning. :) Pave it, add some sounds and signs of a city around it, and then it is a closer representation.

I had a very good run first thing this morning. I enjoyed it so much because there was no humidity for a sweet, sweet change. The running temperature was ideal for me, the dogs were eager to run, and I felt strong from beginning to end. This was a great feeling and I hope I feel it more often in the future, as well on longer runs. :) Clearly, the temperature had a lot to do it. It was nice for a change not to arrive home soaked from sweating.

My skill at striders is improving. I found my faster pace, "HM race pace", without starting out overly fast, and my recovery time from the striders was much improved because of it. I like how the striders kick start me to run faster overall as well. My pace was clearly faster by the end of the run than at the beginning.

I am beginning to think I may be able to run 5 days this week and all my scheduled mileage. I really hope so. :)

On a side note ... I haven't referred to my achilles tendon in quite awhile. This is because it is not bothering me any more. :) I iced it regularly when it was so tender at the beginning of my HM training schedule, and I have added additional calf stretches after my runs during this phase. This seems to have done the trick. I am pretty happy about this, but still cautious. If anything, the one 'injury' from running that I am currently nursing is that I still have slight tenderness on the front of both shins. They don't bother me when I run at all. The only time I notice my shin splints is when the area is pressed. The best description is that it feels bruised, like I was kicked in the shins, but the bruise tenderness remains longer than a few days. I have started icing these areas, too.

And on a second side note ... running with my arms relaxed and down by my side, hands unclenched and shoulders relaxed, has really improved. I haven't given this much thought until this past weekend - this is when I ran by multiple runners whose shoulders were clenched up so tightly, it looked painful. Two runners in particular had their necks kinked to their shoulders, and it was affecting their gait. Regardless if they have a pre-existing condition or not, seeing them reminded me to double-check myself, and be grateful that attention I paid to this earlier has had positive results.

I run 13K in the morning. :)

Kundalini Yoga tonight was more than excellent. Some things really clicked tonight and it felt great. It was like an "aha" and I loved it. I didn't have an opportunity to speak to my instructor as I intended to tonight because there was another student needing her attention, but my instructor did celebrate my success with me during the class because she was watching. :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week 6/17 HM Training - Run #1 11.5K

Woo hoo! Week Six of HM training begins ...

Today was better in terms of humidity and heat. The air was not half as thick as it was over the weekend and the heat was in the 20's rather than in the 30's C degrees. However, it still wasn't my ideal running conditions, but I made the best of it.

I took William Wallace and Angus with me today because it was cooler. Angus slowed as usual near the end, but he was a trooper. Wallace could run forever, I think. :)

The good thing about today's run was that it felt strong. 11.5K is becoming easier for me to run as a regular weekly run. :) It felt like a good run and when I looked at my splits, I saw that it one of my best so far in this heat in this distance. Once again, I saw multiple golden splits and my pace when running ALL the way up Riverside Hill a.k.a. Thrill Hill was not that much slower. I actually had to look for that split because it didn't jump out at me as a noticeable, slower split. :)

I did not go to my "Rock Bottom" class again tonight. I intended to, especially because the day's humidity and heat was not as energy-sapping as in the last few weeks. However, I am suffering from another migraine tonight, one that is giving me significant grief, so I am keeping this post short so I can head to bed early. Hopefully, I can sleep this one off in time for my 10K + 8 striders run early in the a.m.

Monday, July 25, 2011


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


PART I: What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

RULE #11 - Avoid foods you see advertised on television.

Food marketers are ingenious at turning criticisms of their products - and rules like these - into new ways to sell slightly different versions of the same processed foods: They simply reformulate (to be low-fat, have no HFCS or transfats, or to contain fewer ingredients) and then boast about their implied healthfulness, whether the boast is meaningful or not. The best way to escape these marketing ploys is to tune out the marketing itself, by refusing to buy heavily promoted foods. Only the biggest food manufacturers can afford to advertise their products on television. More than two thirds of food advertising is spent promoting processed foods (and alcohol), so if you avoid products with big ad budgets, you'll automatically be avoiding edible foodlike substances. As for the 5 percent of food ads that promote whole foods (the prune or walnut growers or the beef ranchers), common sense will, one hopes, keep you from tarring them with the same brush - these are the exceptions that prove the rule.

Bogus health claims and faulty food science have made supermarkets particularly treacherous places to shop for real food, which suggests the next two rules.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 5/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest
T = 12.13
W = 10K + 6 striders
Th = 8K (supposed to run 13K) :(
F = rest
S = 16.2K (supposed to run 19.5K) :(
Sun = rest

TOTAL = 46.3 km

Week 5/17 HM Training - Run #4 16K (Not 19.5K)

16 km @ 1:59:16
Avg. Pace 7:27/km
Avg. Moving Pace 7:22/km

I failed to run my intended 19.5K / 12 miles today, and I am surprisingly okay with it. :) My zen stones photo proves to you that I am, right? :)

It was a very tough day for running. Although it was cooler temperature-wise than in previous days, the air felt extra 'thick' with humidity. It had rained in the night (wonderful and needed!) and this ended up creating a heavier air. I knew before I left home that I would be running in challenging conditions. However, I felt alert (Starbucks Cafe Verona coffee helped with that) and lighter (that sensation as if five pounds magically disappeared overnight ... not bloated!). I was feeling enthusiastic about today's distance as well, rather than overwhelmed by it. I still hoped for the best! :)

This morning I also downloaded my 20K music playlist from last year onto my iShuffle. This is the one I created with a particular 'one minute song' to signal walk breaks every 10 minutes (I run to regular music for 10 minutes and then I stop to walk when this short, one minute lullaby plays). I didn't expect to be able to run the full 19.5K in this humidity without needing walk breaks. My game plan? Run without stopping for 16K, because this is what I have been able to do for the last few LSDs, and if possible, run 17K so I could have a sense of 'improvement'. Then, if I felt tired and sluggish after this point, try the run/walk (10:1) method for the remainder of the run to achieve my designated mileage.

For the most part, William Wallace and I did extremely well. I analyzed my splits after the fact at home, and I'm actually quite pleased with them. A significant number of splits are faster than in previous runs (striders really work for me!). There are several slower splits, but these reflect my hill climbs. I ran very slowly up most inclines, which proved to be my "pace killers," but otherwise, I did quite well on the flat ground. I could feel how steady my pace was, too. I felt good for most of it. I was quite hopeful that I could run my intended distance in its entirety after all, as long as I remained on this slower, cruise control pace. I also thought about how important that treadmill run earlier this week had been for me. I am not sure I would have been feeling so positive about yesterday's or today's runs if I hadn't accomplished that particular 10K with striders when I was feeling so low.

There were quite a few runners out on the running paths. I didn't see any organized running groups, but I did see quite a few 'foursomes' and 'couples.' I spent a lot of my time smiling, waving, and saying hello. Most runners were very good about being supportive to one another today. :)

I noticed today how many runners were running at a slower pace. Some extremely fit people were not running that fast; in fact, they looked quite sluggish. :( Witnessing this helped me to keep it in perspective. I may not be running very fast, but neither is anyone else. It's about getting the longer distance done slowly rather than focusing on one's race pace. We all suffer slowness together!

In previous weeks when running 16K, I usually started feeling tired in the 14th km. Today, I was good until just before the 16K mark (so an improvement). By this point, we were running by the sewage treatment plant in Greenway Park when Wallace needed to do his business. I'm assuming that maybe it was the combination of the smell from the plant in the thick humid air, and stopping for several minutes for Wallace, but when I started to run again, I could feel that it was over for me. I was done. Finis. I just couldn't get going again. I walked for a bit before deciding to reset my watch, thinking that I might still run/walk the rest of the way home, but I never got my oomph back. I was out of water after emptying all four bottles and I didn't have the heart or drive to continue.

The truth is, if you look at my posted schedule on my blog, I have been one week ahead on my LSDs for two weeks. Back on July 10th, I was supposed to run 14.5K / 9 miles, but I upped it to 16K / 10 miles. I was running my second LSD 16K last weekend when it was supposed to be my first. Clear as mud? LOL! I have been anticipating this 19.5K for weeks now, knowing that it would be a big challenge, so I worked in a little wiggle room in case I didn't achieve it the first time (today). I was quite sure that I would need a second crack at it (next Sunday) and this is how I worked it in without disrupting my schedule too much. If at first you don't succeed, try try again! :)

On a final note, I decided to look back in my blog to see where I was at one year ago. Wow! I commented on missing multiple runs due to the humidity, I was running 45 seconds slower per km than I am now, and I hadn't even started half marathon training yet! I recall feeling overwhelmed by the thought of running 13K, too. I skipped my scheduled 13K three times before finally tackling it! I feel jazzed about where I am at now with my running, and enthusiastic about the level I could be at this time next year if I keep working at improvement. :)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

FOOD RULES - Review on Rules #1-#5

I've been thinking ... can you smell the wood burning? :)

Since there are 64 "Rules" in Michael Pollan's book, "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," I thought that instead of just posting two per week, I should take a moment to revisit them to see how they are (or aren't) working for me. Now that I have officially posted the first ten Rules, I will review Rules #1 - #5. After I post Rules #11 - #15 in the next few weeks, I will post an update on Rules #5 - #10. Make some sort of sense? :)

Before I begin, this is a pic of Michael Pollan from his interview with the Toronto Star. I have seen him on TV in two interviews - very, very thought provoking! He is quite interesting. :) Stop your channel surfing when you see this face talking! :)

Rule #1 - Eat food.

Two deceptively easy words ... until one realizes that the majority of 'food' we put in our mouths are actually "food-like substances." :( Two easy words that have rocked my concept of food! Most of the rules that follow in Part I explain these two words in much greater depth. Suffice it to say, I am currently in the process of becoming much more conscious of this, discussing the concept with friends and family, and analyzing what I am putting in my mouth. A lot of the time, I am thinking about it as I put the food-like substance in my mouth, and so the next step for me is to start thinking more about it before it reaches my mouth.

I am not finding this too difficult of a rule to follow. I understand the general gist of this, and when I look at the food in my pantry and in my fridge, I know there are a several products "great-grandma" would not recognize (Clif bars, Kellogg's Raisin Bran cereal, Willie's Zucchini Relish, Renee's Gourmet Vinaigrettes, Chipits Peanut Butter Chips), but I think that she would recognize more than 50% of the items I have in the kitchen. This is because I cook most meals from scratch so my starting point with this rule is already at a 'higher' level (for lack of a better description). This doesn't mean I don't have my work cut out for me (do I really want to keep a bag of croutons in the pantry for Ben's caesar salads when the expiry date is not until 2012?!?!). I just want to acknowledge the improvements I have already made - so let's have a woo hoo! for that - but I/we need to improve upon this more. Ben is not necessarily on this bandwagon with me so there needs to be some give-and-take/cajoling involved. :)

I like this rule, but it is really challenging. Michael Pollan uses several examples, and one of them is "xanthan gum". However, I have seen this product on the shelf in the "Natural Food" section of my grocery store. (??) Multiple organic and natural processed foods contain xanthan gum! My Renee's Gourmet Vinaigrettes, which are kept in the cooler by the lettuces (not on the shelf next to all the Kraft processed salad products), have ideal ingredients listed until the third last one (before dried red peppers and the ambiguous "spice") - xanthan gum. Therefore, I think I have to pick my battles. I do read my Nutrition Facts and ingredient lists before putting something in my cart. I have improved how many processed foods make it to my pantry shelf with multiple chemical-sounding names. If the ingredient list is more than 75% ingredients that I could buy and pronounce, I'm okay with it. This is where I am at with this rule now at the present time.

An excellent rule. I am someone who thought "real cane sugar" was better! Therefore, when he writes, "sugar is sugar," it's an "aha" moment for me. I attribute my weight fluctuations over the years in part to sugar - I have an incredible sweet tooth. This is a work in progress for me. Just the other day, my mom, who, like me, eats organic peanut butter, had a spoonful of Ben's Kraft Crunchy Peanut Butter and exclaimed while making a face, "Ewwwww! That's so sweet!" And she's right - his PB has sugar in it ... as does the BBQ sauce he loves (high fructose corn syrup) and the Heinz ketchup he eats (liquid sugar). I would be lying if I claimed I never eat these two products - when Ben barbecues steaks for us, he adds the sauce during cooking, and when I fry an egg, I usually add a teaspoon of ketchup to it (yum yum!). But having admitted that, my success with it at this time is that these kind of products are not eaten every day or even every week ... and I am researching alternatives.

When I initially gained a significant amount of weight, guess what I was drinking all the time? Diet Coke! It took me a looong time to break myself free from it and to recognize how much long term damage it did to my health. I've read about how aspartame makes people crave sweets - I can attest to that! I jumped on the anti-sweetener bandwagon a long time ago so I can guarantee that there is nothing in my fridge and pantry that has artificial sweetener in it. It still creeps me out that to this day, if I slip up and indulge in a can of Diet Coke, I will inevitably have big cravings for it for days afterwards. :(

I have also been following this rule on my own for some time in an effort to cut back on sugar. I just took a few minutes to look in my fridge and pantry, and woo hoo! On a positive note, most of the items that I have that do have honey or sugar listed have it much further down the list, but I did find two that listed sugar in the first three ingredients ... our Clif bars (brown rice syrup was the #1 listed ingredient) and Chipits Peanut Butter chips (sugar was #2).

The chips were intended for oatmeal cookies that I occasionally bake for Ben as a treat ... I may have to rethink the Clif bars. :(

Week 5/17 HM Training - Run #3 8K + 6 striders

Another good run. Woo hoo!

I headed out early this morning with both Angus and Wallace. The air did not feel as thick as it has lately so I was hoping for a good run together. Nevertheless, I was drenched with sweat by the time I reached home. Gone are the days when I could get away with wearing my running clothes a few times before they needed washing! Eek! :)

I like these shorter Saturday runs prior to Sunday LSDs. The nice thing about having a blog is tracking how I feel about runs, and I consistently prefer the short runs the day before a long run rather than after. Whereas other runners head out for a recovery run the day following an LSD, I prefer a rest day. Some runners prefer a rest day before a LSD, but I prefer a short, 'warm-up' run, especially when it follows a previous rest day.

I was running near the Springbank Community Centre (formerly the Guy Lombardo Museum) when I noticed the tailgate of a truck set up as a water station for runners again. I have been noticing this more of late; I don't recall seeing this in previous summers. I knew that if I was running around the park today (I will tomorrow), I would see another water station set up by the stone house. I am not sure what local running / marathon training group is doing this, but I think it's pretty cool. Because I am training for a half marathon by myself, it's with great interest that I watch the running groups train together. Some faces are familiar to me, too, either from running past them on the path or seeing them at local races. I have every intention of joining a full marathon training group when I am ready to make this step (probably with the Running Room because of their 10:1 running/walking method). I think I will need this camaraderie/support even more than I do now when training for such a long distance. As I was running by this particular water station by the community centre, the eye-candy guy setting it up called out to me and asked if I wanted some water: "I'm good but thanks for asking!" I called back as Wallace, Angus and I ran by. I didn't expect this generosity, but it was sweet gesture on his part to include me for a few seconds. :)

I had run ~ 3 1/2 km before I remembered that I was supposed to be including 6 striders today. Ooops! Good thing I didn't forget! Once again, this made my run pass by more quickly because I was focused on keeping track of my strider count and determining when to start/stop my next one. Because I have my Garmin set to 'Distance' only, I have no idea what pace I was at during my striders - all I know is that it didn't feel as fast as I could go (too hot and humid out), but it was enough to make my breathing harder by the end of it and to need a little time to recover from it without burning me out. My striders on the treadmill last Thursday felt much easier than the ones today!

And speaking of the treadmill, I knew that I had saved a link from on how to make the treadmill less boring! I looked for it last night and here it is.

I made it to Kundalini yoga last night and it was awesome! I really missed it. :( I am planning to ask my instructor next week about audio/DVDs she would recommend. I feel the difference so much in my runs following yoga that I would like to try doing yoga on Tuesday and Saturday evenings, when possible, since there are no yoga classes offered then. If anything, I would like to do a yoga session on the Saturday night before my races. :)

Friday, July 22, 2011


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


PART I: What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

RULE #10 - Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not.

Imitation butter - a.k.a. margarine - is the classic example. To make something like nonfat cream cheese that contains neither cream nor cheese requires an extreme degree of processing; such products should be labeled as imitations and avoided. The same rule applies to soy-based mock meats, artificial sweeteners, and fake fats and starches.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week 5/17 HM Training - Run #2 10K + 9 striders

10K @1:09:00
Avg. Pace 6:54/km

Today was not a great day, but thanks to a boring treadmill, "thrillmill," it ended on a better note ... :)

Without getting into all the non-running-related reasons, it just wasn't a great day and I was in a bit of a funky mood. It didn't help that today was the hottest day on record to date - 48 degrees C with the humidex - and as anyone under the heat 'dome' will attest to, the air was truly thick and hot. Way too gross and a health concern. And a great reason not to run today ...

Yesterday, I had a lingering migraine that just wouldn't go away. It wasn't the kind of migraine that makes someone lie down in a dark, silent room, but it was consistent enough to make me realize that I couldn't do it today. Skipping my run contributed, in part, to my funky mood today. After a few weeks of altering my training schedule to accommodate a wedding, a trip out of town, and then a 5K race, I really wanted/needed this week to follow my training plan perfectly. Instead, I only had Run #1 for the week under my belt before I was making alterations ... again. :(

So I was already on my slippery slope to funky ground today when it was compounded by every day things-that-go-wrong-as-part-of-life, but always seem to happen all at the same time. :( And because of the record-setting day of heat and humidity, it was looking like I would be skipping scheduled Run #3, too. My ego is already been feeling bruised by how much my pace appears to have decreased over the last month; the thought of heading outside and struggling to run in pea soup thick air made me feel worse. And when you're feeling funky, there's just little to no motivation. :(

So it was quite the mental game between early morning and early evening, working on motivating myself to go to the gym to use the treadmill instead. I have not been a huge fan of the treadmill in the past (very boring and the time ticks by soooo slowly) so it was hard to work up some enthusiasm for jumping on one when I was feeling so funky. :(

I'm writing about this because getting to the gym for a 10K run this evening really was a great accomplishment. It shows a subtle, but significant, change to me. It reflects how much more dedicated I am to my daily runs compared to last year. When I trained for a half marathon last summer and fall, I scheduled four runs per week with three rest days, but there were multiple weeks when I only ran three days because it was too hot, I was too tired, etc. This year, even when it is rainy or humid and hot, or when I am feeling tired, I still head out the door to run. I now become anxious (in a good way, not in an obsessed way!) if I miss a run. It's on days like this that I notice my improved commitment level.

There's further proof of this, too. When I arrived at the gym and set myself up on the only treadmill that has been altered to show pace and mileage in kilometres instead of miles, I realized that I had forgotten my headphones. A treadmill is terribly boring as it is with music or TV entertainment - I can't imagine using it without! :( But that's what I did - if I drove home, I wouldn't return. Instead, I ended up being the lone treadmill user without Apple white buds in my ears. That shows how 'hardcore' I am, right? :)

The first 15 minutes were brutal. My pace was great, actually 30 seconds/km faster than what I have been doing outside these days, but time was going by sooooooo sloooowly. I played counting games in my head, sang songs from my running workout playlist in my head, and tried to find a silent TV screen that would distract me. Ugh! I contemplated quitting at the 5K mark multiple times just to save myself from the repetitiveness and boredom. :( The action that saved me was remembering that I had 6 striders to get done. The act of concentrating on running these striders, and even adding more, is what got me through the final 5K. It also helped to speed up the TM to push my pace an additional 15 seconds faster which made me focus more on what I was doing. I also threw in some imagination and fantasized that I was running my half marathon in Niagara Falls. :)

But the best part is that my funky mood was lifted by the time my TM workout ended. :) Being able to run faster lifted my spirits and gave me an ego boost. Getting another training run done also made me feel better. My day's stresses no longer felt as overwhelming either.

Tomorrow is a rest day, but I plan to go to Kundalini yoga for the first time in two weeks. I missed last Wednesday because I was out of town, last Friday because I was in a 5K race, and then my migraine prevented me from going yet again last night. :( I have an 8K with 6 striders Saturday morning and then ..... drum roll please ..... I am scheduled to run 19.5K / 12 miles Sunday morning. Eeeeeek!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cancelled Wednesday Run with Half Marathon Tips

I didn't run today ...

I am sure there are so many runners who cancelled their training runs because of the heat and humidity, or who used treadmills instead. However, after yet another terrible night without sleep (it's been a terrible week for me for sleeping well), not only was I feeling just fried today, but I nursed a consistent, dull migraine for the whole day as well. I was hoping that if it disappeared by this evening, I would head to the gym to get my 10K + 6 striders done, but unfortunately, it's still there. :( :(

On the positive side, I am finally caught up on my blog! :) My Summer Night 5K Race Report is now posted with pictures.

Also, a DailyMile friend posted this link today and it's just excellent. I learned from it because it provided me with more insight into my training plan runs:

Seven Training Tips for Your First Half Marathon

Now I am off to bed. I hope to deeply sleep for a change and then tackle my scheduled 12K with my Thrill Hill early in the morning before the hotter-than-Mexico temperatures hit. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Week 5/17 HM Training - Run #1 12K

In my part of the world, we are in for some crazy heat and high temperatures this week. It is going to be ugly for those of us trying to train. :(

I was up extra early this morning in an effort to run before the heat set in. It still felt like 30 degrees C with the humidity, but it was the 'best' it was going to be today so it was then or probably not at all.

As it turns out, my run overall was better than some of my runs of late. In fact, I even saw some splits head south of the 7 min/km mark for a nice change so I felt hopeful that all these slow training runs have not been in vain. :) I ran for most of the run - I stopped for Wallace to do his business once and walked near the end of my run before the traffic lights for a mini break before Thrill Hill. I ran 3/4 of the way up Thrill Hill, better than expected, and then gave myself permission to walk the rest of the way up before the morning sun was beating on me by this point.

I tried to zone out and think about anything else but the heat, to run on auto-pilot. It worked for a significant portion of the run and I think this is what got me through it. I went through all four bottles of water that I had on me, but I didn't need to stop for more.

The same walker who complimented me the other day gave me the thumbs up today as I ran by and said, "You're doing great!" I think I have a new coach. :)

Only Wallace went with me today; Angus does not do well in this heat and humidity. :(

No gym tonight. No desire. No energy. :( And I still have some company here until tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011


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


PART I: What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

RULE #9 - Avoid food products with wordoid "lite" or the terms "low-fat" or "nonfat" in their names.

The forty-year-old campaign to create low- and nonfat versions of traditional foods has been a failure: We've gotten fat on low-fat products. Why? Because removing the fat from foods doesn't necessarily make them nonfattening. Carbohydrates can also make you fat, and many low- and nonfat foods boost the sugars to make up for the loss of flavour. Also, by demonizing one nutrient - fat - we inevitably give a free pass to another, supposedly "good," nutrient - carbohydrates in this case - and then proceed to eat too much of that instead. Since the low-fat campaign began in the late 1970s, Americans actually have been eating more than 500 additional calories per day, most of them in the form of refined carbohydrates like sugar. The result: The average make is 17 pounds heavier and the average female 19 pounds heavier than in the late 1970s. You're better off eating the real thing in moderation than bingeing on the "lite" food products packed with sugars and salt.

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

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week 4/17 HM Training - Run #4 16K

I officially have another 16K under my belt - 16K steady and consistent without needing to take walk breaks. I ran it from beginning to end. :)

I had plans for today and company arriving this afternoon for a few nights; therefore, I needed to wake up at 4:30 a.m. so I could get this workout done before my social commitments began. It was a little disconcerting at first because it was so dark, but by the time I was dressed, had my morning coffee and was out the door, it was light enough outside so that I didn't need to be too concerned. I was actually feeling a little excited about getting out so early - I was curious as to who else would be out at this time, and I was proud to be so "hardcore" early! :) :)

Only Wallace came with me - 16K is too long for Angus. :(

It was very humid as it has been all week, but at least it still felt a little cooler. I kept my pace purposely slow and steady because I was more interested in running the full 16K rather than pushing myself. This worked for me. I had a few short stops - one for doggie reasons and one for a quick water fill-up at the fountain.

The last few km were tough, but when I look at my pace for them, they were consistent with the negative splits I ran so I was pleased that my pace did not match how I was feeling! I had to walk up a short hill at the end because I was too spent to run it after my initial attempt, but my finishing speed at the tail end of the run was good. :)

I was soaked with sweat when I arrived home, and my own mother made a comment about me 'needing' a shower. I have to admit, I was stinking after this run! I am not sure what brought on my body odour that day, but it was unusual for me.

I have a 19.5K scheduled for next week as my LSD. I am not very confident about it. :( I was hoping to squeeze in an additional 1K today to see if I could have bragging rights about my first 17K without walking. but the last 2K of this run pretty much sapped that out of me!

No run tomorrow - it's a rest day Monday. I have 12K on Tuesday and it looks like a brutally hot and humid week ahead. :(

Week 4/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

T = 10K (not 12K)
W = 5K (not 10K + 6 striders or 12K
Th = 11K (not 12K)
F = 5K - Summer Night 5K
S = OFF (cancelled 8K + 6 striders)
Sun = 16K

TOTAL = 47 km

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SUMMER NIGHT 5K - London Honda Series #4

History Review

2003 - 34:07
2009 - 35:35

Now that my blog is a year old, a significant number of my race report posts will be starting with a link to the previous year's race report post. How cool is that? :)

So "if" you clicked on the link above, you will have at least the background story on my previous three races before reading this post. :)

So what's happening with my running one year later?


Official Time - 32:12
Gun start/Chip finish

Garmin Time - 31:24

#338 out of 448

14/28 Age/Gender Group

25 DNF

This was Race #33 total-to-date for me. :)

This was my 16th 5K race. :)

And before I begin my race report, I have to play my usual race bib game:
17-7 = 10
10 / 2 = 5 ... my favourite number :)

So I achieved the conservative goal I set - sub-33. And I achieved a secret goal I had ... to cross the finish line before a particular runner!

I was happy to have my mom visiting from out of town so I was spoiled for this race - I actually had two people in attendance to cheer me on (Mom and Ben). I also met up with my racing partner (RP), who was there with her new 'friend' to cheer her on. :)

It was hot and muggy, just as expected, but not as severe as last year (lucky considering the record high temperatures being set in Ontario in the past week following this race). After setting my mom up in the shade in a lawn chair on the sidelines, I took off for my warm-up run. Like several others, I had my 'sweat on' prior to the beginning of the race. :)

I found my RP at the start line, met her friend :), and then we didn't have too much time to chat before the gun went off. RP told me originally that she had wanted to run a sub-30 for this race, but she had missed several runs recently and was not feeling it in this heat. I told her to go for it if she found her legs, but not to count me in - I was in this race for fun, I was not going to overexert myself in this heat/humidity, but I would do the best that I could pacing her. I was willing myself to go with the flow for fun on this one.

And then we were off! This photo is a pic of us waving to Ben and Mom near the start, happy little campers before becoming hot, sweaty and tired! :)

Overall, I really enjoyed this race. I know the course, it's short and sweet, with some challenges, and it has a fun atmosphere. However, this is the first year I can recall finding the course a little too cramped/busy for the number of runners. Either this race has increased in popularity or I was running in a more popular pacing/speed group than in previous years. Does that make sense? :)

The surprising, happy news that I can report from this race is that I think I could have run it faster had it not been as crowded on the path as it was. Perhaps it's best that I didn't as I probably would have been very bummed about just missing a sub-30 - LOL!

A great part of the race - running in union/pace with RP. Having a pacing partner is a wonderful, wonderful thing! :) RP and I ended up running in unison together, sometimes one in front of the other rather than beside each other. It was the only way to pass people when we were able to. We ran together for most of the race - she moved further ahead of me in the last km by running uphill faster when I urged her onward. I am now strongly considering joining a half marathon group next spring because I see how a regular group would probably encourage me to push/improve my pace more.

An irritating part of the race - the runner with the jogging stroller. Let me make it *perfectly* clear that I love runners with baby jogging strollers. I have nothing but admiration for them - what a tough workout! There are always a few of them in the races I run, and it's fun to see parents switch with one another while running a race together. Unfortunately, because this race was mainly on running paths and not on the open road, having a stroller in it proved to be an incredible problem. An additional complication was that this particular mother/runner was very aggressive. She was making runners in front of her turn around in surprise, thus making them jump out of her way with little room to spare. A couple of times, she and her stroller ran onto the opposite side of the path in front of the fastest runners who were returning to the start/finish line. RP, who was just ahead of me, turned around several times to look at me with a, "are you seeing what I'm seeing?!?!?" look. I empathize with how challenging it was for the mother/runner out there, but I wasn't impressed with how more challenging she made the race path for the rest of the runners around her. RP later told me derived some satisfaction by racing her to the finish line and crossing before her. :) I just wished she would have been more laid back and enjoyed this race for fun; her body language indicated that she wasn't. :(

I wrote at the start of this post about my secret goal, about running faster than a particular runner. She is someone who participates in most of the same races that I do, and her times are always slightly faster than mine. She is usually just ahead of me in points in the London Honda Series. At the last race, the Go the Distance 8K, I watched as she passed me when I was pacing with other runners instead of racing to the finish. A bit of a bummer when I realized after the fact that this had cost me 2 points - LOL! Anyway, I saw her running ahead of me through the section of the race when it was proving difficult to pass. I actually was thinking of just pacing behind her the whole way and then passing her at the finish. :) However, RP was keeping us at a faster pace so when she passed my target runner, I decided to follow suit and then hoped that I would not see my secret goal runner then pass me again before the finish line! (she didn't). :)

A tough section of this race is that the last km, which is essentially all uphill and once runners reach the top, we turn left for the last quarter km to the finish line. The pic to the left shows me heading toward the finish after running from the corner/hill. I'm cruising at this point. I'm hot, sweaty, tired, and happy to see the end approaching. Ben and Mom are standing up with their cameras, taking pics and waving. I'm smiling and waving back. Woo hoo! Almost there!

It's just after I pass Mom and Ben that I suddenly catch a glimpse of a runner to my left. I didn't realize I had someone in my left blind spot until she decides she wants to pass me. She has made me her goal to beat at the end! :) It's a funny thing what an action like that can do. I had the same instinctual reaction as I did at the Dairy Capital 10K - I just went zooooom and took off speeding! I didn't catch her in my sights again. It was exciting for me to experience that racing rush at the end. I really ought to thank this person because she's the reason I PB'ed in this race and when I checked the official race results, I really did beat my secret goal runner, but only by 10 seconds (I wasn't sure that I truly had because of the chip timing). I laughed when I saw the above photo Ben took because he captured the moment before this runner started to race me. :)

Everyone met up on the other side of the finish line when RP and I compared thoughts on the race, and shared the details with the others. I gave her friend my free beer and burger coupons so that the two of them could enjoy a free dinner together before Ben, Mom and I took off. It's the least I could do for RP because she's responsible for pushing my running pace in this race.

I am cancelling my 8K with striders tomorrow, and taking a rest day. I then have a 16K LSD on Sunday (hence why I am not going to push it with an additional 8K tomorrow).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Race Prediction - Summer Night 5K

It feels like quite a long time since I last did this! :)

Tonight I have another evening run - a 5K. And it will be the fourth time that I run in this race. Very very cool!

As much as I wish I could be typing "SUB-30" as my prediction for this evening, I am a REALIST and I know this is not possible without potentially trying to kill myself! And my training schedule, as lacklustre as it has been this week, is still more important to me than running sub-30. I am simply not a hot weather, evening/after dinner type runner, and I know that this race has a energy-sapping hill after the 4K mark so yes, maybe someday, but this is what I want to accomplish:

1. Sub-33 minutes. I honestly will be happy with a time of 32 and change ...

2. There is another runner within my pace range who usually inches ahead of me in the 5K races in both running series. I watched as she ran past me at the end of the last London race while I was concentrating on pacing/running with another runner. This runner is beating me points-wise, and I likely won't catch up this way, but by golly! At least I can beat her time in a few races for the rest of the season, right? :) :)


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


PART I: What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

RULE #8 - Avoid food products that make health claims.

This sounds counterintuitive, but consider: For a product to carry a health claim on its package, it must first have a package, so right off the bat it's more likely to be processed rather than a whole food. Then, only the big food manufacturers have the wherewithal to secure FDA-approved health claims for their products and then trumpet them to the world. Generally, it is the products of modern food science that made the boldest health claims, and these are often founded on incomplete and often bad science. Don't forget that margarine, one of the first industrial foods to claim it was more healthful than the traditional food it replaced, turned out to contain transfats that give people heart attacks. The healthiest food in the supermarket - the fresh produce - doesn't boast about its healthfulness, because the growers don't have the budget or the packaging. Don't take the silence of the yams as a sign they have nothing valuable to say about your health.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Week 4/17 HM Training - 11K (Not 12K)

Still trying to get caught up on my blog posts! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can ... !!

I was determined when I woke up this morning that this would be the day that I would finally get a good, full run accomplished ...

Angus, Wallace and I did great for the first 9K. I am very happy with my splits as they are much speedier than they have been of late. And the run itself felt better than earlier ones this week, too! If anything, today's run taught me to be patient - keep doing the mileage ... one step at a time ...

However, the heat and humidity finally caught up with me when I was running my 10th K. I actually stopped to walk for a bit, which as you know, I hate to do because I rarely get started running at a steady clip again after doing so. My 11th K was essentially a walk/run to the base of Riverside Hill, at which point I made a feeble attempt at it before crying 'uncle!' and walking up the rest of the hill and all the home. It is what it is.

I do have a little story to add to this post. While I was running, a woman walking in the opposite direction suddenly pointed at me, up and down, and said something. I slowed, and said, "Sorry! I didn't catch what you were saying!" so she repeated herself. She said matter-of-factly, "You have lost a lot of weight!" I wasn't sure what to say so I smiled, gave her the thumbs up, said, 'Thank you!" before continuing to run. However, I wasn't quite sure what to make of it! I know that it was meant as a compliment so I take what she said to me in the spirit in which she meant it. In a sense, she is correct - I have lost approximately 40 lbs. - but I have accomplished this very slowly over the course of three years ... as a result, I am not accustomed to people noticing this about me. I don't want to over-analyze it; I am just assuming that she is someone I have run by frequently on the paths and today was a day when was noticing a difference. :) And once again, it was a sweet interaction with someone on the running path.

Tomorrow is usually a rest day, but I have my only race in July - the Summer Night 5K. This is the fourth race in the London Honda Series, the one with the points for age groups! It is a fun event - I have run it three times before - but it's not my forte. It has a steeper incline and hill at the end, it's an evening run (I'm a morning runner), and it will be hot and humid (I'm a rain/cooler weather runner).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Week 4/17 HM Training - 5K (Not 10K or 12K!)

This post is several days late. My mother is staying with us for a week+ after her nephew's wedding last weekend, and we have been busy busy busy together, in partnership with an out-of-province aunt/sister (also here for the wedding). I have been chauffeuring them everywhere to visit other relatives, etc. This was unexpected for me so my apologies for "dropping off the map" suddenly without warning. :( I am just getting caught up on my blog now ...

It's not often that this has happened to me this year, as anyone who checks in on this blog regularly can attest to, but today I cut my run short midway.

My morning started very early as usual, and it was a gorgeous, cooler morning. I was excited - woo hoo! How great is this after yesterday? My schedule calls for me to run 10K today, and for the first time, this is the week that I am required to add 6 striders to my run. When I felt the 13 degree Celsius weather out on my deck, I was excited about potentially making up for yesterday's swelter-fest run with a 12K today ...

But my mom got up early on this morning, too, and my usual quick cup coffee before I head out for my early run turned into a coffee house chat session. The next thing I knew, time had flown by, the temperature outside had already increased by more than 10 degrees :( , and I was under a time crunch because we were heading to St. Catharines for the day to visit cousins who weren't at the wedding.

So I ran 5K. This is the first 5K training run I have done since ... March? And it broke my heart a little to be running such a short distance when I am in my mileage build-up phase. Maybe it was just as well because I have a 5K race this Friday night and 'ideally' I should be tapering before a race. I hadn't originally planned to taper because this upcoming race is for fun, but I also didn't expect my schedule to be so wonky this week so I just need to go with the flow and not get so worked up over my training schedule.

And at least I got "a" run in. :)

I skipped "Rock Bottom" last night because it was just too interruptive after a day of running around to then turn around and head to the gym in the evening. I also missed Kundalini yoga this evening (Wed) because we did not return home from our distance visit until late.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Week 4/17 HM Training - 10K (Not 12K)

This post is several days late. My mother is staying with us for a week+ after her nephew's wedding last weekend, and we have been busy busy busy together, in partnership with an out-of-province aunt/sister (also here for the wedding). I have been chauffeuring them everywhere to visit other relatives, etc. This was unexpected for me so my apologies for "dropping off the map" suddenly without warning. :( I am just getting caught up on my blog now ...

Wow! What a challenging run! :( Thrill Hill Tuesday did not happen today. :(

I headed out for my run late and this contributed in a small part to my challenging run because it was already so hot and humid at the beginning of it. I left the dogs at home because of the humidity - a wise decision. It was really tough out there folks! :(

I gave it the 'ol college try and now that I have luxury of hindsight a few days later, I view it more as a 'success' than I did that day. I was supposed to run 12K with my nemesis hill, something I have been doing with some degree of success over the last few weeks. However, on this day, given the heat and humidity, it was tough for running so I told myself to repeat what I had done with my LSD on Saturday ... just run on cruise control. Take it easy. It's all about the mileage accumulation, not the pace. And I actually did okay with this. I was lucky that where I was running, there was lots of shade and when there was a breeze off the river, it was actually cooler than the humid air. It was going pretty good ...

And then the wheels came off ... :(

In my 9th km, I could feel all the energy leave my body and my pace really start to slow down. I had already coached myself by this point to accept the fact that I would likely not have the ability to run up nemesis hill when I could feel myself hitting a wall. I tried to resist it because I know that once I start walking, that's it - I can only run in spurts after that. But I had to. I just couldn't do it.

A true sign that it was too hot and humid for me to run? For the first time in my running experience, when I reached for my water bottle to drink, the water was too warm. I needed it to cool me down, but was rejecting it because it had warmed up so much during my run. For the first time in a very long time, I needed to stop at one of the restroom/water fountain areas along my running path to refill my bottles with cooler water.

It was a long walk home. :( It *sucks* to stop a run so far from run and then have to spend so much time walking back ... but hey, at least it was still exercise!

I was disappointed, but the good news is that I didn't beat myself up about it. It is what is. I have had some pretty good running weeks, and now that we (in Ontario) are in the throes of a very hot, humid and dry summer, the quality of our runs are just not comparable to spring and fall runs. Like everyone else, I just have to keep doing the best that I can. :)

And I just want to add ... I am extremely lucky that the summer I was learning to run again was 2009 - the wettest, coolest summer we have had on record in Ontario for many years. I have continued running during the summer since then because my desire to become an endurance runner is strong. However, I am always thinking about beginner runners, and how tough it is for them under these conditions. They really, really deserve a lot of credit!

Yesterday (Monday), I went to Body Sculpt. As usual, the class was filled to capacity. I had a great workout and I am excited to point out how much better I did, and how I did NOT feel the after effects today. A very good feeling!