Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WEEK 11/17 HM Training - Run#2 Hill Workout X 8 Repeats

One of my DM friends posted today that he was beginning to like hill workouts (it just so happens that he has been doing them on Wednesdays like me, too). Personally, I think that's just nutty!

I completed this workout solo - there were no mutts with me today. I also edited my workout - my warm-up was shortened, I did 8 instead of 12 repeats, and I shortened my cool-down. I justify this by saying that I did 8 very solid repeats; in fact, the last few were actually faster than my first few repeats - how about them apples? :) And this workout was an improvement over my hill workout two weeks ago under similar circumstances (the day after an 11.5K run). I was very pleased with what I accomplished, but also felt that I had done enough.

But I can say that today while typing this up (the day after), it was clearly a killer workout because my hip flexors are stiff! I am waddling around like an old penguin lady - oy! I am not sure what I did but I am clearly feeling this workout more today than I ever have previously experienced. :( I didn't go to yoga last night so this might have had something to do with it, and I didn't warm-up for as long as I always do so this could be the problem, too. Whatever I did or didn't do, I am paying for it! Thankfully, it is clearly not an injury; just stiffness from overdoing it.

And woo hoo again! My last hill workout. I won't have to do these again until the new year during my next round of half marathon training, and I am just not nutty enough to throw them in for fun anytime soon. :) I'll stick to running hills that are on the path I have chosen until 2012. Hold me to it! :)

Monthly Review - AUGUST 2011

203.4 km (126.4 miles)

25:19:43 hours

My second highest mileage month to date :)

17 km less than my highest month (July 2011)

I am a little stunned. This would have been a new PR if I hadn't cancelled several of my runs last week, or edited some runs a few weeks back. I am only realizing now that the "Strength Work" phase, with its tempo runs and hill work, does not necessarily mean a significant decline in mileage overall ... but it does explain better, in part, as to why I am feeling more tired these days!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ingersoll Harvest Run 10K Race Report and Tuesday's 11.5K

I'm alive!

I went for a great morning run today. :)

I have a great Ingersoll Harvest Run 10K race report coming ...

But life is in the way right now. I have company and it's rude to take time away from the visit to be on the computer. :(

I'm aiming for posts Wednesday!

Cheers, peeps. :)

WEEK 11/17 HM Training - Run#1 11.5K

I had a great run this morning. :)

Angus, Wallace and I headed toward Springbank Bank/Storybook Gardens and back. The weather was great for it; coolish and a little grey, which is why Angus could come along with no over-heating issues.

Unfortunately, I do not have accurate results from this run because my Garmin acted up. :( At the 6K mark, a large pop-up window covered my other displays, warning me that my "Lap Database was Full" and to press "Enter," but the window kept reappearing after I kept pressing "Enter." I could see data still being recorded in my regular displays so I just kept going until I reached my goal distance. However, when I downloaded my Garmin, it showed that I had only run 6 km instead of 11.5 km and the splits I was interested in seeing weren't recorded. :( Fortunately, the data I saw on the display screen 'under' the warning window was accurate so I know that this was my best 11.5K training run to date, but it's odd how the info that I saw on the screen was not recorded. I have since cleared my Garmin's history, but I know that I have mucked something up on my Garmin when playing with the lap option last week during my hill workout as a method for counting hill repeats (it didn't work).

I have to laugh at myself a little. Last week, I had a great hill workout (10 successive repeats) and I joked about the dogs putting something in my morning coffee. Today when I was running, I remembered that last week I cancelled this usual Tuesday, first run of the week, and hence why my hill workout had been so good - I had more rest before I did it. After being more speedy today, I think my hill workout tomorrow with 12 repeats is going to be much tougher! But woo hoo! It's the last one I have to do during this training cycle! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bayfield Safe Harbour 5K - June 2011

Look at this action shot - LOL!

I was sent an email from the organizers today to alert runners to the photo gallery of over 200 pics from June's race. This is me looking so serious as I run my first sub-5K race. :)

It makes me laugh because many of the photos were of multiple runners, but for some reason, the photographer chose to take a photo of me solo.


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


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

RULE #21 - It's not food if it's called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles).

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

INGERSOLL HARVEST RUN 10K - Runpiker Series #6

Race reports are tough to write and post within a timely way when life and its priorities get in the way ... LOL! :)

This is my blog post from last year. I laughed when I reread it because think I wrote it too soon after the race ... I sound rather cranky in it! I still recall how terribly hot and humid it was that day, and how sluggish I felt running throughout this race. It wasn't much fun for me, but I did receive one of my favourite tech shirts to date so this was a bonus. :)

This year, I had better reasons for participating in this race. My former running partner was planning to be in the 5 km, and two DM friends were registered for the 10 km as well so I was anticipating it more as a social event rather than as a race. :)

But before I get much further with this recap. I just want to point out that this race was #35 for me. :) And I anticipate running my 40th race by the end of October. :) :) I think the number on my bib this time is a good omen ... my next race, Race #36, which is the Springbank Half Marathon, is going to be a good one. :)

So how did I do a year later?


I'm going to call this a.k.a. The "Accidental PR" race! :)

Official Time
"On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!" Start
Chip Finish

10 km @1:06:04
Pace 6:37/km

Garmin Time
Pace 6:34/km

Not too bad with the Garmin and chip times - a difference of only 3 seconds? Wow! :)

My mom was visiting from Peterborough/Douro where she now lives so it was wonderful to have her come along with Ben and me to one of my out-of-town races. She was at one of my local London Honda Series races in the spring, the Downtown 5K, with my sister and two nieces to cheer me on, but this was her first Southwestern Ontario/Runpiker Series bystander race. :)

After picking up my bib/t-shirt/chip from pre-registration, I found my Jacquie, my race partner, in line at the washrooms. :) Similar to last year, the men's side of the public washroom was taken over by women by the time I arrived so I solidified this takeover by joining this particular line for old time's sake. :) We only had a few minutes to chat before we needed to get into line for the race. This is when I realized that I did not have my iShuffle ... CRAP !! I had forgotten my music at home! My morning prep for the race was out of sync with me paying attention to having others joining me today that I had left it plugged into my computer at home. CRAP !! I have never run a race before without music and now there was nothing I could do about it. I was about to find out what all the non-music-listening runners experience when running a race unplugged.

Just like last year, this race started at the bottom of an incline so runners were lining up on the actual incline, ready for take off. As we stood there waiting for the race to start, I kept looking around for Lauren and Lindsay, but without any luck. I found that both funny (peculiar) and funny (ha ha) because these races are not very large; it should be easier to find people. However, several hundred runners together waiting for a race to start actually all look very similar!

Jacquie's boyfriend ran over to us with his cell phone to take a quick photo - "Evelynne's mom wants a picture of the two of you at the start!", he exclaimed, once again proving that no matter how old you are or what you are doing, your mother will always want a picture of it. :)

Jacquie and I discussed our goals for the race today. She told me that she wanted to run a sub-30 5K today and I told her that my goal was to run my 10K at a steady and consistent 6:30/km pace. I told her not to run with me at the beginning because she needed to run 30 seconds/km faster than I intended so good luck!

Someone then yelled, "On your mark, get set, go!" So we did. :)

1 km = 6:25

What a difference not having music in my ears. I have never heard so much heavy breathing all around me at the same time - LOL! It did make me laugh a little to hear everyone's breathing change so dramatically with race start anticipation. Although my music is never loud enough to block out noise, I could listen in on conversations between partner runners more clearly. :) This was amusing as well.

2 km = 6:34

Ahead of me, I finally catch sight of Lyndsey in her purple skirt. :) She's well ahead of me and I'm glad that there will be somebody else at the finish line to cheer me in! I am not feeling the greatest; I am better than I have been in my last two dismal workouts, but I'm just not feeling it. I'm tell myself to give it until the 3 km mark before determining if this is going to be a good race or not.

3 km = 6:31

Okay, I am now getting into my groove. 6:30/km is beginning to feel comfortable so I focus of holding it right here. I am running with a large group of runners, but most of them turn left onto the 5 km route whereas I cross the road to follow the signs and volunteers for the 10 km route. Although I see runners ahead of me, the group is a lot sparser, and similar to last year again, we are heading toward the Cami car plant to run around it. I am running behind someone for a while, but she starts walking periodically so after pacing behind her for a while, I eventually pass her when she's walking again.

4 km = 6:29

Around the 4 km mark, where the second water station is set up, I see a runner waving toward incoming runners. I think to myself, "How sweet! It's nice of that runner to wave to her friend behind me." It's only when the runner starts running again that I clue in that it's Lyndsey waving and that she was waving to ME! CRAP! Now I feel bad for clueing into this after the fact, and I will have to apologize for not being the brightest person to pick up on this. :( I'm not accustomed to knowing people at these races who will wave to me - ha!

5 km = 6:39 (hill)

There's a long, steady incline hill in this section and it slows me a little. Soon after I reach the crest, the runner I passed earlier catches up to me. I start chatting with her when she runs alongside of me. :) I don't want to play this silent, competitive, yo-yoing with someone when it's just us in this section of the race. It's her first time running this race, and we chat about what the rest of the course will be like (the railroad tracks which had a TRAIN on it that stopped me during last year's race is around the next corner). Within a few minutes, she stops to walk; I do not see her again ... until I see the photos of me near the finish line later at home. :)

I'm making a point of this because I am the type of runner who never turns around to see who is behind me. It's just not something that I do. In fact, I personally find it odd when I see people ahead of me who consistently look over their shoulders to see who is behind them. I am only realizing now, after the fact when I see the photos, that she wasn't too far behind me for the rest of the race. This means I was the "Red Shirt Chick" to her throughout the race. :)

6 km = 6:31

Recently, one of my DM friends started a thread on running mantras with her friends, which I found very interesting. Most of the ones that were shared were very inspirational. However, lately, I find that the one I use the most is, "I am a machine" - LOL! Not very Oprah-esque, is it? :) I just find that when I am on my long runs, trying to stay at a steady, even pace, I start telling myself that I am a machine, not to deviate from my steady pace, to keep going unaffected by anything else. For some reason, it's working for me. At this point, I am feeling very, very good. I am strong and not at all tired; I am not even breathing heavily. My adherence to being a "6:30/km machine" is working after 6 km and I am proving to myself that I am in total control.

7 km = 6:46 (head wind)

Well, so much for all that "control" I thought I had!?!?! After turning the corner to head east toward the railway tracks, I run head first into wind. I didn't notice if before because the car factory did a good job of blocking it, but now it is blowing directly at me. It's been awhile since I have run in wind; I recall all the wind we had back in the spring, which proved a little challenging on my daily runs. For all my complaints about the intense summer heat and humidity, I had forgotten about the lack of spring and fall wind. :( Clearly, I am a machine that doesn't work as well in a head wind. :(

8 km = 6:53 (head wind)

This is such a sobering reminder ... all the months that I have spent running and 'enduring' in an effort to run a goal PR at my Niagara Falls HM this fall, but I have to keep in mind that the weather conditions may play a bigger impact on my goal more so than my preparation. This wind is making it tough for me to keep steady pace. I am aware that running along the Niagara River is susceptible to windy weather so if I encounter a head wind on October 23rd, I will have it for the duration of the race, making my race tougher. I need to mentally prepare myself for this possibility. I have been joking about rain all summer on that day, but I need to factor in wind as a possibility, too.

9 km = 6:30

It turns out that this route is exactly the same as last year's after all. There's the section on grass and on a short trail through a field to connect us to a subdivision street, which makes this 'unique.' :) I have crept up on Lindsay and we laugh and call out to each other; I continue to try to master control over myself by keeping at my intended pace.

We are on the last stretch when there is a steep up and down hill ahead; it's great to go down, but I recall the tough getting up part. :) In a move that makes my heart smile, Jacquie is there at the top of the hill, waiting for me, ready to pace me into the finish; she knew the hill is where every runner needs it the most. Awesome timing because we catch Lindsay in the valley and encourage her to keep pace with us up the hill. It is so much easier to run up a hill with someone pacing beside you than it is alone! I am pleased to see that at this point, I am laughing and chatting with Jacquie. I'm feeling good and this, for me, is the best of a race - still feeling good by the end of it albeit a little more tired. :)

10 km = 6:23

Jacquie stops pacing me at the parking lot where Kurt is waiting for her. Ben and Mom are off to the side near the finish line to cheer me in. All is good. :) And as I see the clock change to 1:06 as I am running up to it, I am very pleased because I have just PR'd (without music, I must add - go figure!) when it wasn't my main goal, but my average pace display is showing me that I have done a pretty darn good job of sticking to my intended pace throughout.

The best part of the race was meeting Lyndsey - officially! - after the race. It meant a lot to me to both meet her in person and the added bonus of running to the finish line with her! You are clearly a wonderful person and here's to future races together, my friend! :) :) We made the introductions to one another's mothers - woo hoo to cheering, picture-taking Moms! - and we checked to see if there are door prizes waiting (the hat you passed onto me to give to Ben went to the Goodwill yesterday, Lyndsey!).

Unfortunately, I didn't get to meet Lauren, but with her blistering speed that made her the 7th female overall to cross the finish line, and a third place finish for her age group, she was no doubt halfway home by the time I arrived at the finish line!! CONGRATULATIONS, LAUREN!! :)

Finally, to top my terrific race day off, when I checked the results for both 5K and 10K races online, I discovered that my friend, Jacquie, had WON for our age group in the 5K !!! And this meant a FIRST PLACE MEDAL. I called her to squeal with excitement over the phone and Miss Disbelieving laughed with shock that she had done so well! I emailed her the race director's email address and the next day, I received this photo from Kurt (he bought our Champion some flowers) with Jacquie's first ever running medal. :) It gave her the incentive to state that she would like to train between now and the end of October for the 10K race in ... NIAGARA FALLS (!!!) ... which makes that medal priceless. :) :)

An awesome race ... and a very different post from my post about last year's event - LOL! :)

I am off tomorrow and then I have an 11.5K on Tuesday. Week #11 begins ... my final week of the Strength Training phase. :)

Week 10/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest day
T = 8.03 km (hill workout)
W = 6.5 km
Th = 6.8 km (failed tempo workout)
F = rest day
S = 5 km (16 km scheduled)
Sun = RACE - Ingersoll Harvest Run

TOTAL = 36.4 km (22.6 miles)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Race Prediction - Ingersoll Harvest Run 10K

Full disclosure: This post is being edited after I have run my race - LOL! So you can either believe what I have written below, or you can accuse of me of fudging! :0

The reason I am still posting this after the fact is because I had it in my head (I was thinking about it), but I didn't have the time to post it. I also like keeping a log of my race predictions. They provide me with an indication of how I am feeling before a race, what my attitude 'was' before going into it, and it's also a good test to see how in tune I am with my predicted and/or desired performance. For example, in my last race prediction post, I aimed for 54:00 minutes in my South Huron Trail Run 8K. I ran 54:23. Pretty darn good! I consider this a success because it was within the range that I set. I know there are a lot of runners who would agonize over this 23 seconds ... and truthfully, maybe I would, too, if it were my Niagara Falls Half Marathon goal time that I missed by a hair ... but when it's a small community run with 'loosey goosey' starts (as in, it isn't chip-timed or there isn't a chip-timer mat at the starting line), one just has to go with the flow and still enjoy it for what it is.

And before I share my race prediction for this race, I am going to quote from a post I read on the DailyMile from one of my DM friends ... when he posted this comment, it was an "aha" moment and it still resonates with me:

"Paradoxically, once I started looking at races as
"just entertainment" (as contrasted to my daily runs,
which I view as my "real" running), I started doing better in them.
Go figure. :)"

So what am I predicting for tomorrow? I have no clue! My last two runs were crappy and I am not caught up on sleep so the odds are that this race probably won't be a stellar one for me. I don't think it is smart of me to aim for a PR so I won't.

My #1 goal is to meet in person two friends (Lyndsey and Lauren) from the DailyMile. If one of them wants to run with me, I would rather do this than anything else. :) However, if I end up running on my own, then my secondary goal will be an attempt to run at a 6:30/km pace - this is my NFIM goal pace and I want to practice running it as much as possible so I have a firm grasp/feel of it for goal race day. I will end up PRing in a 10K race if I am able to do this for the race duration so I am prepared to adjust this to 6:45/km again if this race ends up feeling similar to my two previous crappy runs. :(

Week 10/17 HM Training - Run #4 LSD 16km Bomb

(This post is a late post ... I finally have the time to edit drafts and publish).

Two bomb runs in a row. :( What started out as a great week is now turning into a dismal finish!

The irony about today's run is that I felt "light" and "springy" when I woke up, even though I was still feeling tired and could feel how much I was lacking in good sleep. I honestly thought when I headed out today with Wallace that it was going to be a good run.

My first 2-3 km are never stellar - it takes me this long to warm-up so when this part of my run proved tough, I kept telling myself to wait, that I would start 'kicking it' once I got past this point. Unfortunately, it just got worse and worse. :( I can't recall a time when everything felt 'wrong' about a run like it was today - my shoes were tied too tight, my shins were feeling extra sensitive, my achilles tendons were very tight (they felt like stiff rods), my hip flexors were achy, my shoulder blades were aching. It was as if my body was falling apart. :( It didn't matter that I had actually looked forward to running 16 km today and it didn't matter that in my heart I genuinely wanted to have a good LSD today - my body was having absolutely nothing to do with it. And so, in a deja vu from Thursday, I turned off the path at the same point as my last run, finished a 5 km run, and then walked/periodically jogged the rest of the way home. :(

As it turns out, I felt cranky all day and my eyelids were heavy for most of the day (a true indication that I am overly tired). And I decided that I was not going to beat myself up about this failed run at all. Last summer, I would cancel a run because I didn't 'feel' like it; this summer, I have not done that at all. I have cancelled runs only when they conflict with my schedule for a specific reason or because I was genuinely exhausted. Even in hindsight, I know that it would have been foolish for me to force myself into this run. :(

At least I have a positive to balance this negative. :) My 70 year old mother attended her first yoga class last night. :) We even went shopping at Reitman's to buy her a new pair of yoga slacks for the class - LOL! My instructor, Judy, was given the head's up last Wednesday that she might be coming with me so she was prepared for Mom's novice status. She spoke with Mom before class, telling her that most new people feel awkward and stupid in the beginning, but to be rest assured - no one in the class was watching her or cared because they were focused on themselves, and that Judy would help her throughout the class. :) I situated Mom up front in front of Judy and beside Jean, a regular who has Parkinson's disease and who usually receives alternative instructions from Judy (sure enough, both Mom and Jean were given alternative poses from Judy and this worked out well). I also decided that I would not interfere - I would remain a student and leave it up to Judy to keep an eye on Mom (I did peek over occasionally to see how she was doing). I was very proud of my Mom for trying her best. She did say later on that some of the first stretches she did were uncomfortable, but as she warmed up, she really got into it.

After the class was over, I started to pack up mats, etc. while Jean and Mom chatted with one another. I realized when I walked over that they were talking about Anita, my aunt, and Jean was speaking enthusiastically. Jean asked Mom right after class if she was related to Anita; she recognized the resemblance between the two sisters. It turns out that she is very good friends with Anita and Mom recalled meeting Jean once, as well as hearing about her often from her sister, Anita. Small world. :)

It was sweet to hear Mom exclaim during a dog walked later in the evening how really GREAT she felt. :)

Friday, August 26, 2011


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


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

RULE #20 - It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car.

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

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Week 10/17 HM Training - Run#3 Tempo Bomb

6.8 km / 16 minutes tempo run

Eek! Face plant!

No worries ... I didn't literally face plant today, just figuratively. :( And it makes me laugh to find a few pics from Google images for today's post.

Ironically, I was feeling good when I left this morning for my run. I was sure that it was going to be a good one. For all the times that I have felt like a run was not going to be good and then it ends up being great, it is counter-balanced with a run like today's.

I initially started out well, finding my ideal tempo pace of 6:30 or faster. I did this for awhile but I found myself not being able to keep it there. Whenever I thought I was holding my pace well, I would check my watch and see that I was actually much slower. I kept going, hoping that I might need more time to build up to a faster pace, but it soon became evident it just wasn't in the cards today. It's hard to describe because it wasn't that I couldn't do it; more like my head and body weren't in sync.

This is when I started thinking that I had made a judgment error when changing my runs around. I exchanged my Tuesday 11.5K with my 10K race on Sunday when I should have exchanged my 8K + 8 striders with my 10K race. I was running up to an exit point to home along the path while I was thinking this so I made my decision to stop the tempo, and run the rest of the way home as a cool-down. I will take tomorrow off as a rest day, run my 16K LSD on Saturday, and then consider my race on Sunday my tempo run for the week instead. :)

I am definitely okay with this. I have had some excellent runs lately, which is great, and I was expecting a dip sometime this week. I can't stop yawning so I'm sure my lack of sleep is now catching up with me.

I enjoyed my Kundalini yoga class as always - have I ever written that it was not good on this site? :) I woke up with a sore left shoulder on Tuesday morning, which has been bugging me since. I was pleased to see how much time we spent working on our shoulders, shoulder blades, arms and spine last night because it was exactly what I needed. There is a small residual tenderness in my shoulder today, but nothing like the last two days.

I have three yoga DVDs signed out from the library: two on Ashtanga yoga and one on Vinyasa yoga. I also have a DVD on hold that is billed as "yoga for runners." My ideal is to try to add two more yoga sessions to my week. I have successfully incorporated Kundalini yoga into my schedule and remain committed to it. Now I would like to see if I can find something similar to do on my own at home on Monday nights and Saturday nights before my runs the next day. The class at my gym on Mondays is very popular and I like the instructor; however, it just doesn't have the same appeal to me as my Wed/Fri classes (different vibe, crowded, feels like the gym rather than a yoga studio). There are also no classes on Saturday evenings. :) Therefore, I'm going to try this to see if something like this works for me.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WEEK 10/17 HM Training - Run#2 Recovery 6.5K

Another great running experience today - I'm enjoying this recent roll. :)

Early this morning, it was grey, windy, and little bit rainy. Perfect for a run. I almost always exercise my option to take rest days, but given the super running weather, I could not resist. :)

My run was terrific, but not because of the run itself. I was 3.5K into my run when I bumped into Sara, my running mentor. I have referred to her several times on this blog, and my chat with her and her running partner, Joyce, made my day. :)

Usually when I see Sara out on the TVP running this summer, we wave to each other and call out enthusiastic hello!'s, but we keep running because she is in the middle of a group run. Today, when I greeted her and Joyce, they came to a full stop so I took it as a sign that they had time for a quick visit. The first thing I asked her was if she was running the Springbank Half Marathon again this year (she is). And I laughed when she declared right away, "You must be, too! Because I see you running all the time - it's obvious you are training for something!"

I was so pleased to see her because it gave me an opportunity again to thank her profusely for the positive impact she has continued to have on me and my running. Sara was the one who ran with me every Saturday when I joined the 10K running club. I was significantly slower than the rest, but she ran with me so I would not be alone. We talked about it again today; I was able to sing her praises to her friend about how much it meant to me that Sara did this for me. Sara said how important it was to her because when she started running, she had no one to run with (she is the one who started running all the races just to meet others and enjoy the feeling of running with others, like me). She is a wonderful, positive person. Her running goal is to be running still in her 80's. :) Sara is also the one who told me once about crossing the finish line at a marathon while the organizers were taking everything down! She was dead last, but her attitude was, well, someone has to be last so why not me? I was able to tell her today about the positive impact this has had on me ever since, about the times whenever I am near last place in one of the Runpiker Series races, that I think of her attitude and this invaluable lesson she passed on to me. :) Sara also ran in the infamous 2007 Chicago Marathon and has stories about citizens running their hoses out to the road to help marathoners and how she ran off the route to go to a store to buy water so she could keep heading to the finish line. :( Crazy!

I know from personal experience how much it means to me to have a student or client come back to me at a later date to thank me for my mentorship and relay how much it has meant to them; I could see how much it meant to her for me to acknowledge her again two years later. This is why it was so important to me today, when we were able to take the time to stop and catch up, to ensure she realized what she has done for me. :)

What makes this encounter doubly meaningful is that I "ran" into Gerda, my other running mentor, yesterday when running to my hill. :) I meant to write about it in yesterday's post, but clearly I am meant to write about it today rather than yesterday. :) What are the odds of me bumping into the two people who positively supported me years ago when I was transitioning from running a couple of 5K races to running my very first 10K race in 2009? Gerda was my dog park buddy and when we chatted about my beginner level running, she loved to ask me about it and always wanted to discuss where I was at with it. It was a year later when I came across a photo of her online running in the Boston Marathon (!?!?) (2X) that I learned what a seriously great runner she was! This is the kind of person she is. :) She has always been so supportive and enthusiastic to me. :) What are the odds of me encountering both of them when I was out on my morning runs this week? And on back-to-back days? It was sweet to be able to tell both of them about running a half marathons at Springbank and at Niagara Falls, and to see how they were just as excited about me doing this. :) Very, very, very cool. :)

Kundalini Yoga tonight and a 40 minute tempo run in the morning. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 10/17 HM Training - Run#1 Hill Workout

There is a lot of good news in today's post! :)

First, it gives me pleasure to type "Week 10" in my title. I am closer to Week "17" (NFIM race week) than I am to Week "1", and it's nice to see a double digit. :) For 10 weeks, I have been following this training schedule. And for 10 weeks, I have been posting my workouts and going through all the highs and lows associated with them. It's only within the last few weeks that I finally feel that I am beginning to get somewhere with it. :)

Second, I officially crossed over into the 4-digit zone today. :) :) With this morning's run, I have officially run 1,001.2 km in 2011. :) I didn't realize that this was considered a milestone until I saw it as a "Challenge" under the "Community" tab on DailyMile. Because I have been haphazard with my mileage updates on the DM, it shows my total mileage for the year at 930 km, but I have been anal throughout 2011 about uploading all my runs and runs only to my log on Running so this is my true record. :) I strongly suspect that I was within range of this milestone in 2010, but it's of no interest to me to spend time amalgamating my logs from last year - ha! Suffice it to say, I'm making note of it today in my blog for future reference in 2012. :)

My third and final good news of the day ... I had a great hill workout.! This in no way implies that I actually like hill repeats now ... just that the one I had today was surprisingly very good.

I ran up the hill the first time and it went very well ... by the time I reached the bottom, I decided not to jog lightly for one minute, but just to turn around and do it right away again while I had fresh energy ... and after the second repeat, I decided to try this again ... and again ... and again ... and the next thing I knew, I had run all ten repeats in succession without the suggested minute jog to catch my breath at the bottom. I was so shocked by this, I actually double-checked my hill repeats when I downloaded my workout to make sure I really counted all ten repeats correctly! I'm speculating that one of my dogs must have slipped some steroids in my morning coffee because I have idea where that came from?!?!

I have a 6.5K or a rest day scheduled for tomorrow. I am playing it by ear.

And I only have one more hill workout to go (next week) - woo hoo! :)

P.S. I think I am all caught up on responding to comments so if you have posted comments to me lately, I do eventually reply. :)

Monday, August 22, 2011


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


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

RULE #19 - If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.

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

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 9/17 HM Training - Run #4 LSD 20 km

Today was my LSD - 12 miles (~19.5 km). I decided to run an even 20 km, and to split my run into 4 X 5 km runs.

William Wallace and I headed out together, and it was a terrific morning for a long run. There wasn't a hot sun - it was cloudy - and the temperature was in the 20 degrees C range (70-ish degrees F). We had a heavy downpour yesterday and in the night so I put my older shoes on in expectation of getting my feet wet in puddles (didn't happen). I was very grateful for the lack of heat and humidity for this run. :)

I am very, very happy with this run, and my reasons for being happy with it have nothing to do with PBs (in fact, I was 2 minutes slower than in past runs):

Happy Reason #1:
I looked forward to this run. :) I really like not feeling overwhelmed by the distance I see on my training schedule. I didn't feel any pressure about this one at all. I headed out as if it was a regular run (even though it is clearly not a regular run for me). :) This is a very sweet feeling. I'm in awe of runners who run this distance regularly so, for me, it's very cool. :)

Happy Reason #2
This is connected to the reason I've stated above, but I am feeling very jazzed about running this distance a minimum of three times by now (I'm including the 22.5 km from last weekend in this equation). I walked/ran a 20 km distance once last year before my half marathon.* This year, I am three weeks away from my first half marathon of the year, and I am feeling the difference. I enjoy seeing this much improvement in both my ability to run this distance without needing walk breaks, and my ability to do this by July/August of this year. :)

*For clarification, I am not saying this as if this was a 'bad' thing ... I was following a first time/half marathon plan that was focused 'solely' on starting/finishing a half marathon (it was a PR just to finish). I'm still very proud/pleased that I did this. :)

Happy Reason #3
I didn't have my Garmin set to anything but 'Distance." I ran according to how I felt and checked my Garmin occasionally to see where I was at with my 'mental' breakdown of the LSD into four, equal parts. My desire was to run consistent splits and to be able to feel this consistency. I followed my training book's advice - go out slower, take longer to warm up, keep in mind that this is no longer "the" run of the week, but one of three specific runs of the week. It was good advice. :)

Happy Reason #4
While running, I "felt" that my third 5 km section was faster than the previous two. I was excited by the prospect of checking my splits and seeing a faster pace during this third section of my run.

Happy Reason #5
I knew I would start feeling more sluggish at the end of my run; this was expected since my body is still learning to adjust to this distance. However, I was hoping for a sense that this 'sluggishness' would still feel stronger than in my previous LSDs at this distance. I'm pleased with how I pushed myself through it at the end.

First 5 km:
7:45, 7:44, 7:37, 7:34, 7:29

Second 5 km:
7:32, 7:33, 7:31, 7:40, 7:42

Third 5 km:
7:37, 7:24, 7:22, 7:28, 7:40

Final 5 km:
7:23, 7:38, 7:29, 7:43, 7:42

Early to bed tonight because I am pooped after this. No run tomorrow because it's rest day, and then more-than-likely my hill workout on Tuesday.

Cheers! :)

Week 9/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest day
T = 12 km
W = 7.7 km (hill)
Th = rest day
F = 10 km (tempo)
S = rest day
Sun = 20 km (LSD)

TOTAL = 49.7 km

This weekly mileage is still "up there" for me, even with an additional rest day. :) All workouts achieved as scheduled and two optional '5km or rest days' were both taken as rest days.

Half Marathon Training Continues! Phase II: Strength Work (Long Runs)

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Front of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, pg. 16-17.

Long Runs:
The Saturday long run carries over from the Road Work phase. If you are involved in 5K, 10K, or half-marathon training, the long run will stay constant or will vary slightly from week to week. For instance, one Saturday you might run 12 miles and the next Saturday you would run 10 miles, and then next you will run 10 miles again (for half marathon training). If you are involved in marathon training, the long run will still be building during the Strength Work phase. For instance, a Saturday long run will go from 14 miles to 18 miles in a one-week period of the Strength Work phase (marathon-training plan). Carry over all the long run lessons learned during the Road Work phase. And make sure not to skip it. The long run at this point is what gives you the endurance to handle your hill runs and your tempos runs. Without a long run for a period of weeks, you will simply "run out of gas" one day on the hills or during a tempo run. And then you will have to go back to the drawing board - back to the Road Work phase to build up your endurance again.

Note: The long run in this phase is not treated exactly the same as during the Road Work phase. You don't have two days to recover and prepare for it after the midweek run. And you don't have three days to recover from it before the midweek run. Instead, only one day separates your Thursday tempo run from your long run at the end of the week, and only two days separate your long run from your hill run on Tuesday. This means that the recovery days serve a slightly different function during the Strength Work phase (see earlier post re: recovery days), but also the long run itself has changed. No longer is it the ultimate workout for the week - the reason for your week's running - but instead, a piece of the training week that also includes two other efforts that need to be focused on: your hill and tempos runs.

What this means is that the long run might have to be handled a bit gingerly in the first week or two of this phase: Start slower. Spend more time in the warm-up phase of the long run, the first couple of miles when you are getting your legs, and also resist the temptation to push it the last couple of miles.

What it also means psychologically could be just the opposite. That is, that the long run, since it is not the sole focus of the week anymore, could also become easier as the Strength Work phase goes on. There is less pressure on you to complete the long run. Instead, it is simply another workout that needs to be done during the week. Another factor making the long run easier at this point could be the fact that you are getting "more fit."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Guess What I Am Officially Registered For? :)

Half Marathon
Sunday, October 23rd, 2011
10:00 a.m.

Rematch :)
Goal 2:20

Woo hoo! :)

REVIEW - HM Training Phase I: Road Work

# of Runs Scheduled: 40 (8 weeks x 5 runs/week)

Scheduled Mileage (Achieved Mileage):
Week #1 = 47.5 km (50 km)
Week #2 = 50.5 km (45 km)
Week #3 = 55.5 km (50 km)
Week #4 = 58.5 km (47 km)
Week #5 = 58.5 km (46.5 km)
Week #6 = 62 km (62 km)
Week #7 = 65 km (36 km)
Week #8 = 68.5 km (65 km)

TOTAL = 466 km (401.5 km) / 289.6 miles (250 miles)

I ran 33 of those runs and changed 2 of them to races =

  • 17 runs completed exactly as scheduled
  • 11 runs with increased the mileage (!!!), but not enough to make up for my 65 km shortfall :(
  • 5 runs with decreased mileage
5 outright cancelled runs:

1. 1 recovery run (Week #2 - very tired)
2. 1 recovery run (Week #3 because of a wedding)
3. 1 midweek medium run (Week #5 due to a wicked migraine)
4. 1 LSD (Week #7 - self-imposed recovery week and race)
5. 1 recovery run (Week #7 - self-imposed recovery week)

2 runs changed to races: (Week #4 and Week #7)

# striders scheduled/completed = 10/6


1. I increased the mileage on runs twice as much than I decreased. This surprised me! Cool! :)

2. I did more striders than I expected - I thought I skipped more. :( 60% is not great. Isn't that a "C" if I were grading?

3. I was surprised that most of my decreased mileage runs were in one week (crazy heat week). This was a surprise to me because I thought there was more. :)

4. I had valid and good reasons for canceling the five runs.

5. My Thursday midweek medium runs (13K) were almost all negatively affected. :( Not good. :(

6. It was with interest that I see how challenging my Week #4 was (when ideally I should have had a recovery week). Most of my decreased mileage runs occurred during this week. I attribute this to the onslaught of heat and humidity (a.k.a the heat bubble), but I think it still underscores my need to add supplemental recovery weeks to this training program.

7. The point of Phase I: Road Work is just to run slow, easy mileage for eight weeks. In keeping with this philosophy, I stopped uploading my Garmin results to the DailyMile and just manually added the mileage. I also stopped posting my time and mileage in my posts (not sure if this was even noticed or not).

However ... I still kept a record of my pace on the right-hand side of my blog to log any milestones, and I still downloaded my results every day to check.

When my BIL and sister visited the last time, my BIL told me laughingly how my sister had weeks worth of runs on her Garmin that had not been downloaded. She just didn't care. She would use her Garmin for distance, but not pay any attention to any other information upon arriving home. It made a big impression on me. Even though I wasn't posting my pace for all to see, it didn't mean that I was ignoring it. I was still checking it daily, and it was negatively affecting me because I was seeing a decrease in my pace average.

Yet, my sister, who is aiming for a sub-1:45 in the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon next month, didn't pay one iota of attention to it. She took the training advice to heart ... it's just about the mileage and endurance build-up so it's not necessary to obsess over pace ... yet ...

I am blogging this now because I think this is is one of the best learnings, and I'm challenging myself to follow my sister's lead the next time I use this program for training for a half marathon. Lesson learned. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Week 9/17 HM Training - Run #3 Tempo (Session #1)

Tempo Run for 40 minutes

w/u 2 km @7:15/km
Tempo 6.03 km @6:38/km (10:41/mile)
c/d 2 km @7:27/km

Not a bad workout! :)

It's a busy posting day on my blog. First, it's Food Rules Friday so if you are looking for it, sku down a few posts or click on the link. Second, I posted the blurb from my training book on Tempo Runs so again, sku down a post to read this or click on the link. :) The beauty of having pre-written posts scheduled for certain days. :)

Even though I wasn't feeling like being a speed demon when I headed out this morning with the dogs in tow, I was determined to get this tempo run done today. I decided ahead of time to set my 'quick interval' Garmin option for 6:45/km pace for 40 minutes. It's been awhile since I've run at this pace for a training run (my South Huron 8K race excluded) - I'm a little rusty with the speed after so much longer, slower mileage. Rather than going out there "full hog" to try to run a 6:30/km pace, I thought I would ease into it so I aimed for 6:45/km instead.

I had this in mind, too:

Springbank Half Marathon (before track training on Sept. 11)
Course with a few hills and varying inclines
Ideal Goal 2:25 = avg. pace 6:52/km (11:04/mile)

Niagara Falls Half Marathon (after track training on Oct. 23)
Course is very flat with a few inclines near the end
Ideal Goal 2:20 = avg. pace 6:38/km (10:41/mile)

My splits from today's tempo:
1 km - 6:30
2 km - 6:44
3 km - 6:39
4 km - 6:38
5 km - 6:44
6 km - 6:40
0.03 km - 5:23/km (LOL!)

Truth be told, I actually could have run this faster. Unfortunately, I had a little bit of a dead weight with me. :( Angus was not at his fastest today. I didn't think the temperature or the distance would be difficult for him, but just during the warm-up run, he was beginning to slow behind me so I knew then that the tempo might be a challenge for him. He was fine for the first half, but during the second half of the tempo, I could feel 'one' leash at my waist tugging from behind. :( He didn't drag me down completely, but the small, consistent pull from him made it more challenging for me to maintain pace. :( I need to make a judgment call about taking him with me next Friday, when I have my next tempo run scheduled, basing my decision on the weather, temperature, and his fitness that day. I am a little bothered by it; for a young, extremely fit dog, I find it hard to believe that my slow running pace is "too" fast for him for 10km. :(

I have Kundalini yoga tonight. :) I am playing it by ear as to whether or not I head out for a recovery 5K tomorrow. I may I opt out for another rest day because I have a 19.5 km run (12 miles) scheduled for Sunday (I am at 973 km for the year with today's run). :)

I may also shift all my runs by one day next week because I have the Ingersoll Harvest Run on the following Sunday:
  • Mon - rest day (as scheduled)
  • Tues - 11.5 km (cancel and complete hill workout instead)
  • Wed - hill workout (change to Tues and take off instead)
  • Thu - 5 km or rest (change to Wed and complete tempo run instead)
  • Fri - tempo run (change to Thu and take off instead)
  • Sat - 5 km or rest (change to Fri and run 16 km instead)
  • Sun - 16 km (change to Sat and run Harvest Festival Run 10K, making up for cancelled 11.5 km on Tues)

Half Marathon Training Continues! Phase II: Strength Work (Tempo Runs)

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Front of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, pg. 15-16.

Tempo Runs:
The other cornerstone workout of the Strength Work phase, tempo runs, take a little time getting used to, but once you do, they will be an effective tool that carries over to the Track Work phase. Tempo runs are done on Thursdays Following your hill work (Note: Fridays in my case because of my shifted schedule). On a flat, soft surface run 20 to 40 minutes at a pace that is just below the point where you would be uncomfortable trying to hold that pace for a good length of time. This will be tricky at first, and you may go out too fast only to slow down severely after a couple of minutes of running, blowing your first attempt at a tempo run. Instead, start slowly, gradually work up to a pace that is uncomfortable, then back off slightly to find tempo pace. A flat surface is key because you are getting your body to push your anaerobic threshold up by holding a pace that is just below it for a consistent amount of time - and this would be hard to do on an up-and-down course. Warm up for a mile or two before beginning a tempo run, and cool down afterward with the same distance.


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


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

RULE #18 - Don't ingest foods made in places where everyone is required to wear a surgical cap.

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

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Half Marathon Training Continues! Phase II: Strength Work (Recovery Runs & Days Off)

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Front of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, pg. 17.

The Recovery Runs:
Runners think about their upcoming runs all the time - at home, at work, during school. Whether they realize it or not, this thinking helps them get ready for the next run at hand. Yet, as any runner will tell you, there is one time when we do our best thinking about an upcoming run - and that is during a run itself, most often a run that is done the day before. Therefore, some recovery runs during the Strength Work phase take on an additional task, one that is preparatory in nature, helping you get ready for your hill workout or tempo run.

You'll do this two-for-one run by simply dividing a run in half. Spend the first 2 miles of a 4 mile run in the recovery mode - start very easy and slow down if you have to. Then shift gears and spend the next 2 miles in the preparatory mode. Freshen up the pace a little. Evaluate how you are feeling. See yourself conquering those hills or maintaining tempo pace tomorrow. You will notice the difference.

Days Off:
Sunday remains a day off during the Strength Work phase (Note: Mondays on my shifted schedule), but you should consider taking some of the other recovery days off, especially in the first week or two after the shift from Road Work. For example, if the first hill workout has really taken it out of you, opt for a complete recovery day (day off) the next day rather than getting back out there and running. You will need to monitor your fatigue level at this time because any new stress that is thrown into the training program (like stress from a hill workout) can cause injury or illness if it is not accompanied by adequate recovery. When in doubt, take the day off.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Week 9/17 HM Training - Run #2 Hill Work (Session #1)

Remember this hill? Ugh! It's my hill repeats hill. Ugh!

I was so NOT feeling it today. :( I almost postponed my hill workout until tomorrow. In hindsight, perhaps I should have done this; however, after thinking about this workout for the last few days, I just wanted to get it over with.

In the past, when I did hill repeats, I left the dogs at home. Today, because I wasn't feeling like I could run up a hill 8X, I decided to bring them - they could help me with my repeats by pulling on their leashes so why not cheat today by using the dogs?

My warm-up run to the hill felt sluggish and slow, more so than usual. This is when I made a promise to myself to complete all 8 repeats regardless, even if I had to walk up the last few, because it was about strength building, and nothing else. Even a walk up the hill was better than nothing. :)

I was thinking about this when a cyclist rode up beside me to tell me how great my dogs looked pacing beside me. I smiled, thanked him for his compliment and told him it had taken a lot of practice (for the record, being complimented about my dogs is probably nicer than receiving compliments about myself so a brief exchange likes this makes me very happy!) :)

Thankfully, the hill was quiet this morning so I had very few cars to worry about when counting my repeats (if interested in my training program's instructions on hill repeats, see this post). The first few went well. Unfortunately, what I predicted would end up being the case - 8 repeats 'running' up the hill was not going to happen today. :( I made it to five before I was crying uncle. :( I walked up the 5th time up, was pleased to see that I could run up on the 6th repeat, walked again for the 7th, and then finished with a run up on the 8th - woo hoo! 6 out of 8 is not bad when not feeling it!

And to top things off, within a short distance of my hill repeats location, there is a small water park for children. I tucked my iShuffle into my water belt pocket (I have ruined two previous ones by running in the rain with them - #3 continues to survive because of my paranoia!), and then enjoyed a brief run over / head dunk / run through spray before continuing on my way. Angus, the waterfowler dog, loved it ... Wallace ... not so much. :)

I am a-ok with my workout today. I did the best that I could when I knew I wasn't physically feeling up to this kind of workout. It is what it is. I hope to have it in me next week when I am scheduled to do 10 repeats. :)

I have either an easy 5K or a rest day tomorrow. I will play it by ear and see how tired I feel first thing in the morning. I recently crossed over into the 960 km zone for total mileage for the year; therefore, I am a little more motivated to run recovery runs now that I am within range of crossing the 1,000 km mark. :)

I know I usually say, "great class!" when I blog about my Kundalini Yoga class, but tonight it was exceptionally good. It has everything to do with the kriya that worked the areas of my body that needed stretching. It was as if the instructor knew ahead of time where my body would be feeling it after a hill repeat workout. :)

I receive an email every week from One of my DailyMile friends uses it regularly and she shares her thoughts on her yoga sessions/practice often on the DM. I have not purchased/downloaded a class from it yet so I can't really speak for it, but I usually check out the free weekly offering. This week, they are featuring a Kundalini class, focusing on 3 of the 7 chakras. If interested in seeing what Kundalini yoga is like, check this class out.

I also picked up a DVD from the library after class on Ashtanga yoga (I placed three on hold). I want to check it out and see if it provides a nice variation at home from what I do twice weekly at the gym. :)

Half Marathon Training Continues! Phase II: Strength Work (Hill Work)

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Front of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, pg. 14 - 15.

Hill Work:
One of the two cornerstone workouts for the Strength Work phase, hills are run on Tuesdays during the week (Note: Wednesdays in my case because I pushed the schedule by one day so that I have two workouts on the weekend, hence why I have Mondays off.) The key, of course, is finding the right hill. Look for one about 100-200 meters long and about the grade of a highway exit ramp, something challenging but not severe. Footing is also important, so some trails may be off limits. Traffic may be another impediment, so some roads may not be ideal. Scout out possible hill work locations while still in your Road Work phase, so as not to be stuck when hill work comes upon you and you are without an adequate hill.

For hill work, after a warm-up jog, you'll run several times up a hill, then follow that up with a cool-down jog. On the hills, you should shorten your stride, leaning into the hill and dropping your arms so that they pump near the waist. Start conservative at the bottom of the hill and try to maintain pace the entire way up (this is Strength Work, not speed). Always "run through the hill." That is, as you approach the crest, don't slow down, but maintain your cadence even as the hill levels out. On the way down, run slowly and carefully, as injury is more likely to occur going down a hill than going up. At the bottom, jog for a minute or two before beginning the next hill climb.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Week 9/17 HM Training - Run #1 11.5K (& Phase II Begins)

Let's hear it for the end of eight weeks of Phase I: Road Work - woooooo hoooooo! It has not been the easiest eight weeks - there were lots of 'hits' and lots of 'misses.' I'll cover all that in a separate, analysis post. For now, I'll just let out out a wooooo and a hoooooooo to celebrate!

And now, cue the trumpets ... TA DA! I am officially entering Phase II: Strength Work. I have to say that I really like how this training program breaks the training up into three different phases. Similar to the way I split up my long run the other day into three, shorter separate runs 'psychologically,' I find it more enjoyable to have my HM training split into separate, focused parts.

For an overview on what is involved, see my separate post on Phase II: Strength Work.

As for my run this morning ... :) It was a gorgeous, sunny morning - warm without being too crazy warm, no humidity and a slight breeze. Sweet! I enjoyed being out there and found myself zoning out into my thoughts. Usually this is a good thing, but today I forgot to turn around in the park earlier (my usual 11.5K route) and instead turned later, which is my 13K route. As a result, while I was running up Riverside Hill today, I reached 11.5K at its midpoint. Rather than stopping on a hill, I kept going and ran a short recovery at the top to make it an even 12K. I am really pleased to see how much easier this is hill is for me to run up these days from beginning to end. :) Angus was dragging near the end of it (starting at around 9K). It was just a touch too warm for him to be running this distance, but he is such a trooper!

Hill work tomorrow. :P

On a sad note, the death of a student at Niagara Falls has been in the news lately. For me, it was such a huge, special thrill to finish my half marathon right at the Horseshoe Falls. I love the photo of me with my medal with the Falls in the background (it's at the foot of my blog and keep in mind that I had just run for hours so it's the background that looks great, not me!). This was such a stupid, preventable death. :(