Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wk5/D3 - 8K Update

8K @57:12
Pace 7:10/km

1 km - 6:49 /km
2 km - 6:55 /km
5 km - 6:49 /km
6 km - 6:59 /km

But also,
3 km - 7:30/km
8 km - 7:43/km

In all honesty, I probably would have skipped my runs for the last two days if it hadn't been for Wallace and Angus. They still need to be exercised and my running is the best way for them to get a workout so I willed myself outside to maintain my training program. My last km reflects how burned out I was feeling at that point; it was this run last week that I only ran 4K because I felt tired after the striders the day before so this may have something to do with it. I am also feeling emotionally drained and dehydrated from shedding more than a few tears. I'll be okay after I get past my shock and the numbness. When my Frasier died almost two years ago, I cried every time I went to the dog park because this is what we did together. Now, the few times I have seen someone out running with his/her dog, I start to cry. :(

I also tried Kundalini yoga on a Wednesday night. It turned out to be my least enjoyable class to date, but not because of the instructor or the exercises. I found it hard to relax and "zone in" and focus. It was still better than nothing and a welcome distraction.

Tomorrow is an optional day off or a 5K. As usual, I am opting for a day off. I have a "Chiseled" class in the morning, but this will be the extent of my exercise for the day (until it's time to walk the dogs).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

R.I.P. Kim (January 4, 2006 - March 19, 2011)

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.

~ Roger Caras

The one best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.

~ Ben Hur Lampman

Monday, March 28, 2011

Wk5/D1 - 8K Mondays

8K @57:34
Pace 7:12/km

Thanks to someone else's flikr account, here is a picture of Springbank Park down by the river/dam side of the park. I run along this path quite often and these are the two sights I see the most - Canada Geese and walkers! :)

Today's run was tough for me. My running partner, Kim, is sick. When we arrived home from Stratford on Saturday night, there was diarrhea all over the living room (our home is all hardwood, but without fail, whenever a dog is sick, it is always in the one room where we have carpet. :( They must think of the carpet as a substitute for grass?) Kim can get into things out in the bush where we walk him and sometimes the garbage at home so this happens every once in awhile. He wanted to come running, but I took the other two with me today because he has not keeping his food down. He's more energetic this evening and even ate a small amount of food so hopefully the worst is over. :(

This is why I was feeling stressed and why I didn't sleep well last night. I wanted to forgo my run from the time I woke up feeling so tired and out-of-sorts. :( However, I am really committed to my training program, and I don't want to miss runs unless I absolutely have to. I didn't mind skipping a few runs in the first few weeks of the program because it was a little aggressive, and I needed to watch it so that I didn't increase my mileage too dramatically, but this reasoning no longer applies so I have to watch my "excuse versus wise decision" ability!

I made an error and drank too much water before I started my run so I felt like I was carrying a water tank in front of me - literally! - for the first few km. By the time I reached the top of a hill and checked my Garmin to see that I was at 4K, I wanted to quit. I just didn't feel it and I felt like this run was stressing me more rather than de-stressing me. However, I was literally at the furthest point away from my vehicle so it was either walk/jog back to the vehicle in spurts, or suck it up and keep going! So I kept running ...

And this is when Angus, the Running Trainer, took over my run. He must have sensed that I was struggling because he became much more assertive about us keeping the pace right about this time. I had my final big hill to run, and to my surprise, my pace up it was actually quite good, but it had everything to do with Angus pulling me up the hill - he was not stopping! Usually when he gets a little too fast with the pace, I say his name sternly and he slows a little, but this time I just let him take the lead up the hill because it helped me to run faster. He kept the faster pace so I used him as the "leader" and did my best to stay with him. Wallace was only too happy to join in and jaunt along with us with a gleeful look on his face. :) I was realizing today that I am the slowest of the running partners and now that my 4-legged mates are getting a taste of the faster pace, they want it more! :) :)

Highlight splints:
5K - 6:58
6K - 6:54
I just have to work at making all my splints like this. :)

So, as it turns out, in the grand scheme of things, my run actually did prove to be a de-stressor. I didn't really enjoy it that much, but it contained some highlights and I felt less stressed after the run. I followed it with a yoga class at the fitness club, knowing that an hour of poses and stretches would be great post-run. It was a good idea and as I type this before bed, I am feeling much better. :)

Now I need to focus on waking up tomorrow feeling enthusiastic about striders!! :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Degreaser - Chemical-free and Environmentally-friendly

1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup lemon juice
5-10 drops citrus essential oils (optional if you want a scent)

Combine to make a paste. Apply to greasy area. Use a damp cloth to wipe the area clean.

Source unknown

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Wk4/D5 - A Great Training Week :) :)

10K @ 1:12:27
Pace 7:15/km

Week #4 = 35.1 km (2.5 km more than last week)

First and foremost, I am pretty darned pleased with myself for just getting out for my Saturday 10K! :) We had out-of-town plans, which meant balancing pressure to accomplish everything that needed to get done before we left. Given how sore I've been feeling from all my workouts, I wasn't sure if I would be able to move "well" either. Luckily, everything fell into place, enabling me to head out on my run with Kim and Wallace. :) Ben accompanied me to Greenway Park and spent time training Angus while we ran so there was no "3rd dog out guilt" on me today.

Second, I have officially made it as far as I did the last time I was following a training program. Anyone who has been reading this blog since November 2010 will note that I made it to the end of my Week #4 Road Work for the "10K in 60 minutes" program before it ended. This is my post from my first time running striders and this is my post about my 13K long run without needing to walk. Unfortunately, it was when I ran the Santa Shuffle 5K Fun Run at the end of this training week that I knew that the achilles tendon on my left foot was in serious need of rest ... and then Snowmageddon hit us very hard in the London, Ontario area. :( Both events led to my training program coming to a full, abrupt stop. :( Therefore, for me, it feels very, very good to pass this "hump" and now to be looking forward to actually completing Weeks #5 - 17, the training weeks I had to forgo the last time.

Finally, I am very pleased with this completed week of running. I completed every scheduled run, ran under 7 min/km for one of them, and also ran some of my fastest training runs. I am clearly becoming faster, and this is already happening prior to employing the intervals/hills/track work involved in my training program so I feel like I am on a good course for improvement. This is why I feel like I can give this past week an A+. :) :)

So a little more about my 10K before I demonstrate some discipline by getting some housework done :( ... It was very busy on the paths around Springbank Park, a sea of very colourful and neon-coloured running jackets as a significant number of Londoners took advantage of the sunshine-y day by heading outside. There were a significant number of group runners. One group of young women were running short bursts of splints in Greenway Park; I suspect they were from Western as they looked like they were university-age. Several more groups were out and about in Springbank Park - I am sure they were a mix of Saturday run clubs and running clinics. I really enjoyed the people watching, and quite a few runners smiled when they noticed my unique running "group." :) :) There was only one rude runner I encountered ... a young woman running three abreast and barrelling at me on my side of the path without hesitation. Kim, the German Shepherd, was on my left so she was in effect running head on to the two of us. :( I kept an eye on her, willing her to move back into her appropriate lane, but she did not want to stop talking and apparently wanted to stay right beside her friends that badly. Unfortunately for her, I am not shy and I stayed right where I was, but I did pay full attention to Kim in case she spooked him. She swerved around him at the last minute. Not only was she rude, ignoring running path etiquette, but she was an outright idiot running at a German Shepherd like that. My bad for giving her more attention than she deserves in my blog today. Instead, I should be highlighting all the wonderful runners I saw in action today. Forgive me for being a little saucy, but I have to thank some of the learn-to-run runners who were out there walk/running. It's not often that I can pass runners when on my training runs. Usually I only pass other runners when in a race situation so it was a little ego-boosting for me to be able to pass other runners today! :)

And as always, it makes my heart pitter patter faster whenever my Benny is there at the end of my run, smiling and cheering me on to the finish. :) :) It was a great family morning for us at the park, and we were able to head to Stratford afterward for a day/evening of good food, good wine, and good friends while our athletes slept peacefully at home. :) :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wk4/D3 - How Do You Like Them Apples ?!?!?! :) :)

6.5 K + 4 striders @ 44:50
Pace 6:54 / km

And to think that I giving serious consideration to skipping today's run !!!!!!!

But first, a little jump for joy for my first non-race run under 7 min/km .... :) :)

I double-checked my records and sure enough, I am correct - I have yet to complete a training run / casual run under 7 min/km. I have only been able to do this in race situations. So woo hoo! May this run be the beginning of many runs in the 6 minute zone. :)

And please allow me to show some admiration for those splits which led me to this milestone ... especially my 6th km ... :)

1K - 7:02
2K - 7:20 (going uphill)
3K - 6:56, strider #1
4K - 6:43, strider #2 & 3
5K - 6:43, strider #4
6K - 6:36, LOOK! No striders! And it was my fastest!
.5K - 3:26

So, where to start ... yesterday, my "rest" day from running. I decided that it was a good opportunity to try a "Chiseled" class at the fitness club, described in the class brochure as a great hour for your arms. I thought this was a great way for me to exercise while giving my legs a rest. Can you see where I am going with this already? It turned out to be an hour of torture with a drill sergeant who had me limping out of the room because my legs did so much work!! Good arm workout, but an even greater leg workout. I just knew right then and there that I would probably regret doing this in the morning. By the end of the evening, I was already stiffening up, and although I slept well last night, I did wake up a few times to flip myself to my other side slowly and with care because my leg muscles were aching. :(

This morning, walking from the bedroom to the top of stairs took a little effort. Walking down the stairs woke me up ... ooooh, ooooh, OOOhhh!, oooooh ... and right away I thought, how can I run with striders today? I can barely move!!!

But this made me feel quite bummed because I had arranged my schedule soI could specifically go to a "Beginner Body Core" class early this morning after missing previous attempts to attend for the last three weeks. If I was feeling like I could not run, did this mean that I would have to miss this class again? I really had to think about this. After contemplating my schedule and weighing my options, I finally decided that maybe this beginner class would be ideal for warming my leg muscles up, thus enabling me to then go for my run ... so I went for it.

The class was excellent and although it was for beginners, it was still a very good workout. There were definitely moments when I could feel my taxed leg muscles, but as I exercised, becoming warmer and sweatier, the less I noticed the soreness in my leg muscles. I knew for sure that I had it in me to run.

Accompanied by Kim and Angus, we drove to the park because the sidewalks between my place and the running paths were still dicey after our recent snowfall and cold spell. Just before we started our run, I bumped into an old friend from the dogpark, a fellow 3-dog owner, and because we had not seen each other in so long, we paused for a good chat. This was lovely, but keep in mind I was dressed for running (i.e. not warmly enough for standing and chatting!) and as a result, my once-warmed leg muscles soon cooled. :( There was not much I could do about it so I enjoyed my impromptu visit, and after bidding adieu, my cold and very stiff body started a walking warm-up before initiating the run.

I swear anyone who might have seen me in the first km would have noticed how "odd" my cadence was! :) :) I could feel that I looked like a little old granny trying to run!! :) :) It was enough to make me chuckle at the thought and to coach myself to wait until the 2 km mark before assessing what kind of run this was going to be. I swear I was running a walking pace up the hill when I reached it (my 2 km split reflects this), but fortunately, the downgrade of the hill helped me to quicken the pace and this is when I felt like I was finally on my way ...

I made sure to run my striders on the flattest parts of the park so that I could concentrate solely on my speed. I was very surprised to see how often I averaged up to and maintained 5:30 / km - I was not planning or expecting to run that fast. Also, I recalled how much slower I would run initially in the recovery period following my strides on Tuesday so today I did my best to keep up my "normal" pace after each one.

This is when I noticed how much happier Angus; he loved being able to run faster. I am the one holding my running partners back ... sad but true. :) Angus looked looked like he was running when I ran my strides; however, Kim is so long-bodied and long-legged, it did not look like the faster pace phased him at all!! What I also noted was how Angus kept the pace up after the striders - he liked them so much, he wanted to stay at that speed. I think I owe a huge thank you to my two big dogs today ... they challenged my pace and helped me to keep it higher. They were literally my trainers. :) :)

I am happiest of all noting my 6 km split because that's all me, baby! There's not one strider increasing the speed on that one ... it's just my running pace from beginning to end. :) But I will say this, I had nothing left by the last few hundred metres of my run. Usually I have something to finish my runs with a bit of speed, but today, nadda.

To top this day of, I still went to Kundalini yoga in the evening as I have for the last few weeks. Tonight, we worked on internal balance. It was quite the workout for my shoulders and gluteus muscles! But it was the *perfect* workout, a much needed stretching and balancing hour after my day, and my new favourite activity on Friday at dinner time. :)

Last but not least, I went for a stroll with Wallace after arriving home so that he had his time out and about. He was enthusiastic about his one-on-one time with me after being left alone at home when I ran with the others. He sniffed and checked his pee-mail throughout the neighbourhood; I had one last opportunity to stretch the legs before parking myself in front of the computer.

I have a 10K planned for tomorrow and will need to run early to fit it in on a planned out, busy day away from home. it.LOL!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wk4/D3 - Too Pooped to Run 8K :(

4K @ 29:00
Pace 7:13/km

So I think those striders took a lot out of me yesterday! :( Or was it the lack of coffee? Or perhaps the pilates?

Today I am a little out of sync. I decided to attend an early morning pilates class, knowing that if I were going to get my scheduled 8K in, I would have to run at the club following this class. As a result of trying to get out the door so early, I bypassed on my morning cup of joe ...

Pilates was very good. It was a class specifically for beginners so I could do most of the moves, but adjust when there were poses/positions I could not do. I am simultaneously pleased with the flexibility I currently have and frustrated with the flexibility I lack because I used to have it! :( I am challenged in a positive way ... I want to keep going to these classes until I can do some of the moves again and can then say, "There! I did it! I can do that again!" (I used to be athletic when I was younger and on the gymnastics team so not being able to do certain things really bugs me. I am only older physically; in my mind, I am still that kid !!)

I jumped on a treadmill after class with the hope that I could run 8K. It was pretty clear to me early on that I could probably only eke out a 5K. As you can see above, 4K was about it! I just didn't have it in me. Was it due to the coffee I skipped? Possibly. However, I literally dragged myself out of bed after a very deep sleep all night, but clearly not getting enough hours. I think this is the main reason; I have been feeling dragged out for most of the day, even after a couple of cups of coffee after the treadmill run. And I think I compounded it by planning to do my run after the pilates class rather than before it ... but perhaps the class would not have gone well if I had? In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. Suffice it to say, I did half of what I intended, and as far as I am concerned, this is good enough for today! :)

I will always remember this run because it is when I learned that Elizabeth Taylor passed away CNN in the cardio room). I personally think that physically, she was truly the most beautiful woman ever. She was absolutely breathtaking at her prime.

And on a side note, I walked the dogs twice this evening; once with Kim and Angus and then a second time with Wallace solo. Does this make up for it? :) :) Ben had a union meeting this evening so we had to cancel our Wednesday gym workout (I missed Kundalini yoga :( ... ) but I made up for it somewhat by walking twice. I am pooped as I write so it's bed early tonight. :)

Rest day tomorrow - woo hoo! I have an optional 5K scheduled so I am "opting" to rest instead of run! Because I did not complete my Wed. arms workout, I will attend a "Chiseled Arms" clas instead at the club. :)

Until Friday ... 6.5K planned + 4 striders ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wk4/D2 - 6.5K + 4 Striders

6.51K @ 46:23
Pace 7:08/km

Phew! What a tiring run today ... but first, let me celebrate three separate kilometres ...

1 km - 6:56 (not bad for someone whose first 2K are usually sluggish!)
3 km - 6:47 fresh"er" in that my first strider was at the 2.5K mark so you can tell I gunned it and then kept up a pretty good pace after the strider
4 km - 6:59 squeaked into the 6 minute zone ...

But alas, there was a downside ...

5 km - 7:20
6 km - 7:25
.5 km - 3:40

Clearly, I was pooped after running four striders!

Nevertheless, I am pleased to try something different and I know from my reading and from other runners that striders are the best way to improve one's speed. I will need to play with my Garmin to see if there is a strider measurement feature on it that I can use the next time. This time I figured out that running for ~30 seconds was the equivalent of running 80-100 metres at a pace greater than 6 min/km.

Kim and Wallace ran with me today and they both did great. They are excellent at keeping pace with me so it was a very good run with the two of them. I am sure they appreciated the faster pace! :)

The weather was a little on the cooler side, but a t-shirt under my windbreaker was perfect. Tonight snow is apparently going to fly again so I bet I will be doing my run tomorrow on a treadmill. :( But at least I have access to a treadmill now, right? :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Wk4/D1 - 8K Mondays are Setting a New PR :)

8K @ 57:19
Pace 7:09/km

This is exactly the same time from last week! And guess what I realized today? It's a new PR because it's faster than my best 8K race (prior to starting this blog so there is no post) time from last year!!!!!

Methinks I am finally getting a little faster. :)

There were a few factors working "against" me running a faster time ... first, I ran into the wind for the first 3-4km ... thank goodness for all the trees provided some relief from it non-stop and for it not being a wind chill. Second, I went in the opposite direction than I usually take around the park, which means I ran more up hills than down them (I figured it was time to stop taking the easier route because I will be starting hill training soon :( - LOL!). And finally, I kept my music on Adele's "21" album in order to keep my run "easy" ... mellow music = mellow running! :)

Kim and Angus escorted me on my run today and they were *perfect* pacing partners. I like that they have learned to keep pace with me, and for their sake, I want to run at faster pace because these dogs have it in them to run run run! :)

Other than this, the run was uneventful. The "hairy" icy patch on the hill behind Storybook Gardens has turned into mud so my shoes are just not as white as they were ... there was one runner who passed me three times because he seemed to want to stay in the same section within the park for running, and there were a lot of dog walkers (one man in particular was walking 5 little terriers which was quite cute!). The weather was perfect for running - a warmer 5 degrees Celsius with a warmish breeze and cloud cover.

I wasn't able to make it on time to a Beginner Core class so I strength trained my arms, chest, shoulders and back with a bit of abs and some legs, but kept the focus mainly on my upper body. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Almond Meringue Cookies

These melt in your mouth. A perfect accompaniment to a fruit sorbet. And while you are enjoying them, keep in mind that almonds - including their skins - are loaded with a variety of antioxidants, some of which may improve immune system function.

4 egg whites
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
Salt, pinch
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup almonds, finely chopped
1 tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in vinegar and salt. Slowly add sugar, 2 Tbsp. at a time, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in almonds and almond extract.

Drop batter by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 1 minute before removing from pan. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

Makes 6 - 7 dozen cookies

PER COOKIE NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: Calories, 10, Protein: less than 1g, Fat: less than 1g, Saturated Fat: 0g, Carbohydrate: 2g, Dietary Fibre: 0g

from The Enlightened Eater's Whole Foods Guide by Rosie Schwartz, p. 202

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wk3/D4 - My Fastest Non-Race 10K to Date !!!!!! Woo Hoo!!

10K @ 1:11:54
Pace 7:11/km

What a great running day!! :) :) Today I ran my first 10K run of the year and it was my fastest 10K training run to-date (I'm excluding my last two 10K races from 2010 which were slightly faster). I did not expect this at all, and to say that I am thrilled is putting it mildly. :) :) :)

Funny, too, because it didn't start out feeling like it was going to be a good run ... Kim and Wallace ran with me and both needed to stop at separate times within the first 2K for a doggie poo time (my warm-up walk of 10 minutes usually takes care of this, but they clearly needed to get moving in order to get "things" moving today ... :) - funny fellows!). I don't like start/stopping like this, especially when I am feeling slow and sluggish during the first 2K, which I usually do except in a race situation. It made me start thinking that maybe I didn't have it in me to run the full 10K ... my thoughts actually started focusing on what kind of walk/run method I might need to employ in case I couldn't run the whole 10K ... and I rarely think like that! However, I had the treadmill stop me at 8K last week, which resulted in missing my intended 10K, so in my heart-of-hearts, I really really wanted to run a 10K today regardless of sluggishness! I wanted to get it done and over with. So I thought I would just run slower :) ... and the following splits reflect this:

1K - 7:31/km
2K - 7:26/km
3K - 7:31/km

There isn't much to say about the run itself because it was unremarkable. I ran all the way to the stone mill/south corner of Storybook Gardens, my regular 10K route turning point, and started heading toward Greenway Park. I wasn't paying any attention to my pace ... instead, I was listening to Adele's new "21" album that I downloaded last week. Great, great album, but not exactly upbeat running music! :) But apparently, this is when my pace picked up:

4K - 7:01/km
5K - 7:06/km
6K - 7:08/km
7K - 7:05/km

I never zoned out, as in losing myself in my thoughts and forgetting about my run. I wasn't feeling strong so I was concentrating on landmarks as markers - run to the bench, run to the very large tree on the left, run to the curve in the path ahead .... it was only then, when I was checking my mileage, that I started noticing how my pace was consistently under 7:00/km. And this is when I started to think, am I running this 10K at my race pace from last year?!?!?! I really started focusing on my run at this point and then started feeling excited and a little more motivated to run a little faster!

8K - 6:54/km
9K - 7:01/km
10K - 7:10/km

I did not know what I had run until I arrived home and downloaded my Garmin. Shamefully, my first reaction when I saw my time was, "Darn! I didn't beat 1:09!", but after showering and sitting down at my desk with my post-run protein shake, I analyzed my results and my running record. I realized how great this run really was! :) :) And I am jazzed!!

And I am no longer caring about that 6.5K missed training run earlier this week!

Mileage for the week: 32.6K - 4.5K more than last week

A great way to end Week#3 of Road Work. :) :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wk3/D3 - An Enjoyable 8K :)

8:04K @ 58:11
Pace 7:15 / km

Well, aren't I the consistent pace Queen! :) This is the exact same pace that I ran my 6.5K yesterday - LOL!

HAPPY to get outside today because it was *perfect* running weather ... the sun was out but slightly overcast so it wasn't too bright on the eyes and the breeze was warm on a 12 degrees Celsius day - amazing! Another t-shirt running day ... and I should have worn shorts, too!

Armed on both sides with Wallace and Angus, we ran from home all the way to the walking bridge near the former Guy Lombardo museum before backtracking and running through Greenway Park home via Wharncliffe Road. At 7K, I ran under 7 min/km so this makes me very happy. :)

I felt sluggish at the 3K mark, but then noticed how Wallace and Angus were running the exact same pace with their heads slightly ahead of me ... I got caught up in keeping pace with them and this re-energized my run. Good little doggies for helping me out when I needed it! :)

It was great to see two runners I have grown accustomed to seeing on the paths. One fellow has a distinctive bobbing head as he runs so I can't miss him when he runs by me ... I saw him at the Springbank half marathon last fall and given the number of times he passes me on a Saturday morning run, I know that he can run significant mileage. I liked seeing him again today as "he" is a sign of spring running. :) The other is a female runner who is a phenomenal half marathoner as well. She smiled and waved in recognition which I appreciated because yes, they see me out there as often as I see them! :)

Anyway, feeling better about the training program I am using as a result of getting in today's 8K. Break tomorrow and then ... ta da! My first 10K on Saturday of 2011. :) :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wk3/D2 - Missed My Run Yesterday :(

6.58K @ 47:54
Pace 7:17/km

Life is a little too busy this week! :( I have company (it's March Break for most school districts in Ontario) which is GREAT, but it is keeping me busy. My guests are getting their runs in - LOL! - because two of them are training for the Good Life Half Marathon in Toronto this spring, but for me, as much as I planned to get outside to run in the warmer weather, I was expecting additional family for dinner and in order to be a good hostess, I had to make some sacrifices. :(

As a result, my planned 6.5K didn't happen. :(

Today (Wednesday), I had an 8K run planned. However, I was feeling very tired and I ran much later than usual so I knew by the 2K mark that I didn't have it in me for a longer run. :( The pace, as you can see above, is good for me, but the run itself felt sluggish and was a little tough to make it through. I decided that I would get my missed 6.5K from yesterday done and aim for an 8K tomorrow (a scheduled day off).

I ran solo with Kim, my German, and he loved it so there was a clear benefit from this run. :) I encountered some ice, but other than that, the paths were once again great. And sweetness of all sweetnesses, I ran wearing a t-shirt. It's March and I'm wearing a t-shirt for a run. Awesome!! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wk3/D1 - 8K Mondays with the Doggies at the Park

8:01K @ 57:19
7:10 / km pace

Glorious sunshine!!!! :) :)

What a great day to get outside for a run! The sun was shining and warm, and it felt great to be out in it!

Today, Angus and Wallace joined me for a run in the park. Today my training program ramped up Monday runs to 8K, and I will be running 8K every Monday for the duration. It was wonderful to be off the treadmill and in the park. The hill behind Storybook Gardens was a little hairy with slick ice ... it is so shaded in that part of the park that it did not benefit from the sun's rays. My split for that time reflects how much slower I was running so that I wouldn't slip and fall. I will probably avoid that hill for tomorrow's scheduled 5K ...

Other than that section, most of the park's roads and running paths were in terrific shape. There were a significant number of dog walkers out with their companions so my dogs had a lot of head-turning action, but they were well behaved and kept pace even when tempted by the possibility of new friends ...

I found the run a little long but I think this has more to do with being more accustomed to shorter runs in the park of late than anything else. I have a little bone on my left foot that felt a little tender today while I ran periodically, but I made sure to stretch properly at the end to see if this helps. Something to note and keep an eye on. I am very tired this evening so I am sure this run will help me sleep better tonight. :)

While walking back to my vehicle during my cool down, a walked on the path stopped me to ask my distance. He was impressed to learn that I had run 8K and shook my hand in congratulations - LOL! We then had a nice chat for 20 minutes or so about running. It turns out that he is a runner but is taking time off from it to recover from an injury. He was very nice and genuine. It was one of those nice random encounters stemming from a mutual enjoyment of running. :)

I have family in town this week so we will not be working out at the gym tonight. I walked Kim this evening for a healthy stretch of time so I added some additional cardio to my day.

5K tomorrow! Day 2. :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cleaner for the Tub - Chemical-free and Environmentally-friendly

Tub Scrub

1 cup baking soda

1⁄4 cup salt

10 drops citrus essential oil (optional)

5 drops tea tree essential oil (optional)

Combine all the ingredients and store in an airtight tub.

Source unknown

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wk2/D4 - Treadmill 8K

8.2 K @ 1:00:00
7:19 /km

We received another huge dumping of snow yesterday, effectively shutting down schools, buses, etc. Although the outdoors is very pretty with the new layer of fresh white snow, it is a little depressing because it has been such a hard winter, particularly here in London, and we are in need of a nice spring without so much shovelling! Kudos to the people who still run in these conditions ... I am not one of you! :)

I had a 10K scheduled but learned today that the treadmill in the Cardio Room automatically ends the workout and transitions you into a 2 minute cool down after an hour of running. As a result, I ran an 8K instead today. However, I am thinking this is just as well. Last week, I increased my mileage by more than 10%. I don't usually do this, but I wanted to start my "5K in 30 minutes" training program, and I watched it to make sure that I felt good running this mileage without overdoing it. This week, with the adjustments (missed 5K, shortened run today) is now slightly under a 10% increase over last week so this is very conservative and healthy. Two 8K runs in one week pleases me so I will tackle my official first 10K of 2011 next week.

Today I saw the first half hour of Transformers (the movie) and an episode of Degrassi High - LOL! I think I am getting the hang of running while watching TV. At least it was better for passing the time than in previous treadmill sessions. :)

Happy weekend! Until Monday ....

I attended Kundalini yoga again last night and enjoyed it even more than last week. :) I would like to do this faithfully on Friday nights for the next three months before the class schedule changes. Great breathing exercises, stretching and meditation. I'm hooked! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wk2/D3 - A Lemon Turned Into Lemonade ...

6.44K (4 miles) @ 43:45
Pace 6:48 / km

Happy blogger! :) :)

Yesterday, I was scheduled to run 6.5K. It was a rainy day ... it was not letting up to allow me to go for a run when I had a window of opportunity. Unfortunately, I had a deadline and this had me feeling under pressure all day until submission. Ben is still feeling his workout from the gym the other night (he knows he overdid it) and asked to be excused. I willed myself to go on my own to run, but I honestly did not feel it. I am really trying to stick to my running training schedule, but I just knew that I didn't have it in me so I gave myself permission to take the day off and unfortunately, also missed Kundalini Yoga. :( It was a lemon day ...

Today, I did head to the gym to get my 6.5K done. We had another day of non-stop rain so again, when I had a window of opportunity to run, I opted for the gym so I could stay dry. The Cardio Room at the gym was surprisingly full on the treadmills so I tried the Women's Only cardio room for a change. As expected, the treadmills are older versions of the ones in the Cardio Room, but still good machines. Today I decided to try plugging my buds into the machine so I could watch a TV show while I ran. This helped me to concentrate better and to feel less overwhelmed by the screens (not as many in this space). I kept the machine on "flat" for the entire run and just ramped my speed up gradually. I really enjoyed the consistency of pace on the treadmill today. I am assuming this what treadmill users like so much about the machine ... it is easier to keep a consistent pace without hills, puddles, ice, etc. to impact it. :) I am sure as I use it more over time, I will learn more things to like about it. :)

Anyway, I plugged my 43:45/4 miles into my log at and was *shocked* to see 6:48 as my average pace! I knew it felt good and strong, but at no time did I expect my pace to be less than 7 min / km. It was a wonderful surprise and turned yesterday's disappointment into today sweeeeeet lemonade. :)

So! I have a 10K scheduled for Saturday and since I haven't run a 10K since December, I am regarding it as my long run. I am taking tomorrow off from running to rest. I will still be 5K short of schedule by the end of the week, but I am okay with this. I am just getting back to running regularly, on top of cutting back calories daily and adding gym workouts so understandably, I am feeling more tired. One step at a time ...

I attempted to make it to the gym in time for an Abs Express 1/2 hour class, but the traffic was brutal and prevented me from being on time so I opted to get some strength training done. It felt good and after just a few sessions, I am lifting heavier weight. :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wk2/D2 - A Quiet 5K in the Park ... Tuneless Tuesdays?

5:04K @ 38:16
7:36 / km

First and foremost, what a gorgeous sunny day! It was not difficult to get outside to run because the miraculous bright sunshine is wonderful to see! The temperature outside may not yet match the "sunny-ness," but nevertheless, it is spirit-lifting to see. :)

I am thrilled with today's time because my run felt very slow and sluggish; I am quite surprised to see that my pace is faster than expected. I strength-trained last night at the gym so I was feeling a little stiffer and slower than usual for the first few km, and I am still ice-ducking in shady areas of the park so this slowed me down.

I also forgot my music! I grabbed my headphones/earbuds without remembering that my Shuffle was still plugged into the computer so I ended up running "quietly" today. It was a little strange, but it got me thinking about my experimentation last season with running without music. This might be a good time to start weaning myself from running with music for every run so, in the spirit of "Meatless Mondays," I am initiating "Tuneless Tuesdays" and seeing if I can't build on it from there. I actually like the idea of running 5K races in under 30 minutes without music so this may be a new goal that I add to the list. :)

Wallace the mixed beagle joined me today for a run, and except for a lunge/growl back at a dog that made the first aggressive move, he was happy and enjoyed his sauntering pace next to me. He loved all the Canada Geese and made for a terrific running partner as always. :)

Monday, March 7, 2011

WeeK TWO of 5K @ 30 minutes Training - Road Work (Day#1)

8.37 K (5 miles) @ 1:00:00 hr
7:11 / km

Quick update as I have little time to write. I ran 6.5K on Saturday instead of 8K - I arrived at the gym too close to closing so I had to cut my intended run short. :( There was very little to report on this blog; it was a straight forward boring 6.5K on a treadmill! Not much I add to that! The good news is that I got my runs in last week, although two of the runs were tweaked shorter than scheduled. I am concluding that Week#1 Road Work went "well" rather than great. However, my first four weeks of my previous training program were "great" and then Snowmageddon/achilles tendon pain happened so I will be satisfied with "good" if it means getting me through this training program without more snow or an injury! :)

Today I headed to the gym yet again for a run, and this time, "three times the charm." I assume it was because I am more comfortable now at the gym, or maybe it is just starting fresh on a Monday morning, but it was my best run to date on the treadmill. I was actually able to zone out for awhile and get lost in my thoughts at various times, but not for long. I found that the time ticked by very very slowly so I tried concentrating on the lyrics in my song choices to make the time pass. I am pleased that I felt up to doing 8K in spite of this, and so I tagged an extra 1.5K onto my run. I felt very good afterward with both my time and my pace. :)

I am committed to going to the gym with Ben Mon/Wed/Fri so I was back there again this evening to strength train. I have started a 5 week introductory program, working each major muscle once with 3 sets of reps. Once I complete this introductory phase (it's been years since I did this on a regular basis), I will start a 3 month program that works each of the muscles with two different exercises, 3X / week. I let Ben hang out in the manly man section to lift weights while I headed to the women only area where the machines are smaller and better suited for me. :) It was impressive to see how many women were there to work out this evening, and there were so many women with personal trainers! I enjoyed my alone time with my music on and working my way through the machines. Maybe someday I will hire a running-specific personal trainer, but right now, I feel good doing what I am doing on my own.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chopped Vegetable Salad

2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced thick
1 bunch asparagus, ends cleaned
1 large green pepper, top and bottom sliced off
2 ears corn on the cob, shucked
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced thick lengthwise
1/4 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive oil
1 head Romain lettuce, washed and sliced thin

In a large bowl, add garlic and 2 ounces of olive oil. Add vegetables, season with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Grill on medium heat and set aside.

Chop all vegetables into medium size pieces just before serving, add vinaigrette, and place on top of shredded romaine lettuce.

Mix balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard in bowl and slowly add remaining 4 ounces of olive oil while whisking.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: 258 Calories, 18g Total Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 85 mg Sodium, 22g Carbohydrate, 5g Protein

from Total Health Makeover by Marilu Henner, p. 291

Friday, March 4, 2011

WK1/D3 - 5.5K

5.5K @ 43:05

It was not a wise move on my part to go on this run. I could have gone to the gym, but I thought that the above 0 degrees Celsius weather would make the running paths good for a run, even if it was drizzling outside ...

Bad decision.

The path was covered with hard ice and it was not pleasant running on that surface. A sample time from my Garmin:

Time for 1K
Moving time

This gives a better perspective on what it was like for me - able to run slower in most sections, but coming to a stop or slowing down in certain areas of the path. It was heavenly to find patches of pavement to catch some speed on. :( I am a very lucky camper in that I didn't fall or worse yet, severely re-injure the healed?/healing? achilles tendon on my left foot, or re-injure the right ankle that twisted under me last Sunday.

Hindsight is 20/20, but I should have gone to the gym. Proud of myself for getting out there and sticking to the run schedule, but it was a little too risky. :(

I attended a Kundalini yoga class in the evening and not only did I appreciate the deep breathing and meditative aspects of it, but the strength training of the poses was excellent. I hope to do this on a regular basis Wednesday and Friday evenings.

An Interesting Find ...

This week, I took my purple workout binder off the bookshelf. It is a former record of my efforts from over eight years ago, and contains a lot of information I collected back then on weight training. In my notes, I found a section that I completed. I am re-typing it here:

By the end of the program, I hope to:
(the following was hand-written)
  • have lost body fat %age
  • decreased pant/dress size
  • feeling more fit
  • feeling like I am being prepared to train for a marathon
June 21, 2002

It made me smile when I found it because there it was - my desire to run a marathon, evident already this many years ago. Too bad I veered off the path back then ... but not this time!! :) :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WK1/D2 - 5K on a Treadmill

~35 minutes - 12 minutes per mile?

The weather was not running friendly today (for me) so I took advantage of my new gym membership instead. After a kickbutt pilates class (this was for beginners?!?! An excellent class, but my core is really aching!), I jumped on a treadmill and ran for 5K. It was a little confusing because I couldn't find the metric measurement switch and my Garmin was useless so I ended up playing with some of the speeds. It ended up being an impromptu interval workout.

I have only had this one experience so far, but I found the wall of TV screens a little distracting and running flat on the same spot was a little boring. I used my music/ipod rather than watching a TV program - perhaps concentrating on watching one show on one screen may help. I also just turned the machine on and ran; I did not take too much time to figure out the settings and options. A 5K run was one option so I just used it to get myself going (time constraints). I am sure I will have a more favourable review on treadmill running in the future because this is new to me and I need a little more time to get accustomed to it. However, it did make me think about what I am enjoying about running - the scenery, the people-watching, taking one or two of my little 4-legged partners with me, and being outdoors. There's more to running for me than just pace and mileage after all! :)

Anyway, Thursday is a day off so we'll see what Friday brings. The next time I use a treadmill, I will be better prepared.


On a side note, I had an initial "Discovery Session" on Monday evening with a fitness coach. We paid an additional $25 each for an additional "$200 value" Fitness Support package, which includes four sessions; Discovery Session, Club Orientation, Personal Training Demo, and Program Review. I have not written about it until now because I was so pissed afterwards. I needed some time to put the experience into better perspective ...

IMO, this session was mainly an aggressive sales pitch to hire a personal trainer. Ben and I had separate one hour sessions, and he went first. Ben has some workplace injuries; there are muscles he needs to concentrate on rebuilding. He discussed these injuries in detail with this coach who, "armed" with this knowledge, still insisted that Ben try different moves in front of him as a "test" to prove how out of shape Ben is, and what he needs to start doing right away to improve his core and posture. Ben was in pain as a result, and a little miffed that the the so-called expert didn't realize that these very moves were not easy for him. Ben has never belonged to a gym before, and felt overwhelmed by all the lingo this coach used with him that he didn't understand. By the end of this session, he was trying to convince Ben that he needed a personal trainer 3X week for the next few months, and 48 sessions in total!

I was unaware of this until my "consult," which went a little differently. I have lost a good chunk of weight (3 sizes) in the last few years, and I am working on changing my eating habits. I shared this with the consultant, and enthusiastically spoke about my passion for running, explaining how I was ready to layer my achievements by committing to the next level of fitness. This info went in one ear and out the other because my past and current efforts were barely acknowledged. The fitness coach focused on where I was failing - my high body fat percentage. He then proceeded to criticize my muscle-burning running, and to advise me to avoid isolated strength training until my core was in better shape by working with a PT. The fitness coach then started explaining to me why Ben needed a PT for 48 sessions whereas I probably did not need a PT for as many ... the session ended with a short joint session with all three of us as the consultant pushed the <$3,000 personal training programs to us, and how he could give us a discount if we booked that night ...

Needless to say, Ben was overwhelmed and upset by the time we left because, after spending money on new club memberships for us, suddenly our new venture was tripling in price before our first workout! I felt overwhelmed by it, too, as it was not what I was expecting at all. So much for "addressing my concerns, answering my questions, and helping me to feel comfortable" as advertised! :( After using the gym for the last few days and seeing a significant number of PT's working out with clients, I am guessing that these aggressive "discovery" sessions work. My experiences so far in the scheduled classes has been great and the facilities themselves are great so this uncomfortable experience is not enough to chase us away ... Ben and I went together for a workout session just to explore what was available. Ben was in much better spirits about joining after this, feeling more optimistic about its possibilities.

This is what our experience was like from our perspective - Mr. "I'm Blunt" Fitness Coach probably has a different point of view (side note: why is it that people who brag about being blunt, like this coach did with me, believe that this alone is a good trait? They excuse their rudeness by claiming it's "just" being "honest." Well, I can be "blunt" and "frank," too, when necessary, but not without its mandatory partners, "compassion" and "tact"). The fact is, Ben should and will look into hiring a personal trainer in the next month to help him with his specific needs; this is a very good idea and something that will likely benefit him. However, pushing 48 sessions all at once on him was the wrong approach. Instead, introducing Ben to the benefits of a PT through an initial 12- session block and then taking it from there is the route we are going to pursue instead.

As for me, it was written right there in my "discovery" session notes that I have successfully worked out before on my own, that my current motivation level is high thanks to running, and that I am open to hiring a PT six months from now after working on my own, with the intention of working toward a higher level of fitness ...

However, there is one thing from this session that I will grasp onto tightly and view as a motivator - the fitness coach's genuine comment (as in, he really did not sound or come across as trying to kiss my butt) that, given my lean body mass and the loss of my current excessive body fat %age, I have the potential of becoming a kickass runner ... Amen, brother, amen!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

WEEK ONE of 5K @ 30 minutes Training - Road Work (Day#1)

5K @ 36:34 = 7:18 min/km

What a glorious day for a run! :)

Day#1 of this training program is always on a Monday, but I usually take a rest day following a race. The Monday inclusive schedule will be back on track next week, and then for the rest of the month ...

Considering the very cold and snowing weather we have had of late, I assumed that I would be heading to the gym with my new membership and using one of the dozens of treadmills to get my 5K completed. However, the sunshine today was just glorious and our quiet street is clear of snow, an indicator that more popular streets and roads are also snow-free, so I took a chance and headed to Springbank Park for a run with one dog - my little Beagle/Basenji-cross mutt, Wallace. :)

I am so so so glad that I did this! Although the stairs from the parking lot to the pathway were icy and treacherous, the path itself was clear, and for the most part, the pavement was dry. There were multiple sections of black ice and melting snow, but only in the shady areas where the sun's rays could not find them. I was very careful running in these sections, slowing to jog or walk over/through them to ensure I remain injury-free. :)

I dressed appropriately for the colder weather, too, wearing for the first time my new orange/black jacket from the Running Room (the swag from the New Year's Eve Fun Run I ended up skipping in December). :( It felt a touch too warm when the sun blazed down on me in certain sections, but all it took was a periodic blast of icy wind to reassure me that the jacket was a wise choice. I am also liking the feel of my new running shoes. I think the error I made the last time was wearing two new pairs at the same time ... they then wore out at the same time, thus making it more challenging for me to judge their retirement date. This time, I am going to work in my current new pair for little while longer before adding a second rotational pair. I have my eye on a local sale right now, waiting for my brand to decrease again in price, before scooping them up.

My after-run high was terrific. :) It is feeling very very very good to be running again! Today was ideal, mood-lifting, and motivating!