Wednesday, February 29, 2012

30 minutes barefoot on the TM
- 25 minutes walking
- 5 minutes running

I was feeling pretty crappy with my sore throat so I bailed on my scheduled 6-7K. :(

However, I didn't want to skip on my effort to walk barefoot every other day on the treadmill so I hopped on. Instead of progressing to longer time as I have been doing, I played with speed instead. I started slow and gradually added speed. It gave me a nice little workout. By the time I reached 25 minutes, I was feeling very good about how my feet felt so I decided to challenge myself to five minutes of running ...

... and it was AWESOME! I absolutely LOVED it. Wow! I could have kept running but I stopped at 30 minutes, with the intention of running longer the next time. Very cool! I noticed right away how much shorter my stride was and how much quicker my turnover was so I decided to test myself. Sure enough, within one minute, my right foot touched the ground 81 times. In shoes, I have counted 70 times for my right foot. Wow! Doesn't that speak volumes?

Words to Live By

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Week #5 - Run #1

8K (7-8K scheduled)

Can I add "Run Tired" to the list? :)

I had very little sleep last night, It was one of those nights. Usually, I bail on a run if I haven't slept when I'm dragging my feet, but I took advantage of an energetic surge to go for a run.

What I liked about this run was that I took a route, which would shorten my run if I needed to, but extend it to 8K if I felt up to it. I'm happy to report that by the time I reached my 5-6K turnoff, I was really into my run so I kept going.

The only challenge I had with this run was that I was feeling phlegm-ish in my throat. All my throat clearing couldn't get rid of it and I drank a significant amount of water in an attempt to get rid of the sensation. Not a good sign - it looks as if I am coming down with my 4th cold/flu of the winter season. :(

But in the meantime, I feel good about getting this done and the stretches in which it felt really, really good, in spite of feeling tired. :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week #5 - Schedule

Mon - Rest
Tues - 7-8K
Wed - 6-7K
Thurs - 10-12K
Fri - Rest
Sat - 5-6K
Sun - 12-14K


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


PART III: How Should I Eat? (Not too much.)

Rule #48 - Consult your gut.

Most of us allow external, and usually visual, cues to determine how much we eat. The larger the portion, for example, the more we eat; the bigger the container, the more we pour. As in so many areas of modern life, the culture of food has become a culture of the eye. But when it comes to food, it pays to cultivate the other senses, which often provide more useful and accurate information. It can take twenty minutes before your brain gets the word that your belly is full: that means that if you take less than twenty minutes to finish a meal, the sensation of satiety will arrive too late to be of any use. So slow down and pay attention to what your body - and not just your sense of sight - is telling you. This is what your grandparents were getting at with the adage "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach."

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week #4 HM Training - Mileage Total

Mon = Rest
Tues = 6.3K
Wed = 8K
Thurs = OFF
Fri = 2K (Rest scheduled)
Sat = 4K
Sun = Really Chilly Road Races 10K

TOTAL = 31.4K

Better than last week. :) It's so nice to have one of the running series start again, too, and to spend a Sunday morning doing this again. :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Race Prediction - Really Chilly Road Race 10K

Tomorrow I am running in the Really Chilly Road Race 10K, the first of six races in the London Honda Series for 2012. I ran in the 5K event last year. I am very pleased about being able to run in this year's 10K. :) It is a new milestone - running my first 10K race in February. :) Last year, my first 10K was in May.

Truth be told, I am not sure what to predict for tomorrow. It's for fun, not a PR. If anything, I am curious as to how it unfolds because it is my first race running with a revised form/foot strike. :) I fell that tomorrow will set the bar for me to progress from for the rest of 2012.

I'll say this for 'post'erity sake ... any pace in the 6-min/km zone would please me. I am expecting a 6:50-ish, but would be even happier with a 6:45-ish.

Week #4 - Run #4

4K (4-5K scheduled)

A short post to make note of this run.

I feel very pleased with this run, albeit short and sweet. It was solid and easy. A perfect pre-race warmup! :)

This was another evening run. It was a very busy day for us so part of my success was just getting it done. :) The dogs and I made it to the park just before dusk and it was dark by the time we finished the loop and reached the parking lot. We timed it just right. :) It was nice to have this section of the park all to ourselves.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Week #4 - Run #3

2K (Rest day scheduled)

I slipped in a short run solo as an "alternative means of transportation." :)

I had to return the finished bibs for the race to the store. I didn't have our vehicle so I dressed in my running gear, took the bibs by taxi to the store, picked up my own race bib/swag running vest, and then ran home. :)


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

PART III: How Should I Eat? (Not too much).

Rule #47 - Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.

For many of us, eating has surprisingly little to do with hunger. We eat out of boredom, for entertainment, to comfort or reward ourselves. Try to be aware of why you're eating, and ask yourself if you're really hungry - before you eat and then again along the way. (One old wives' test: If you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, then you're not hungry.) Food is a costly antidepressant.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Week #4 - Run #2

8K (0K scheduled)

A photo from last year's FCRR 5K, crossing the indoor finishing line. :) I now know to wear my orange winter running jacket this Sunday - ha! The first photo of me crossing the finish line shows my heel strike. :( At least the second photo shows improved form ... ha!

Today I scheduled an extra day off for myself in lieu of the race this weekend, but I am not able to run tomorrow so I switched it

The first half of this run was great. In fact, I'm about to describe it with a word I have never used before - effortless. It truly felt great! Everything was in sync. It has been very interesting, but not necessarily all fun, re-teaching myself to run. What I enjoyed about today's run was the recognition that this is starting to pay off for me in the long run. :)

The dogs and I headed in the other direction on the running path today. No ice! This part of the public running path is more heavily used so either the higher traffic melted the snow and ice away, or the city does a much better job of keeping it clearer.

At our turning point in the park, we bumped into my racing buddy and her boyfriend, who were just starting their tempo run/biking workout together. We stopped to chat and the boys enthusiastically embraced her hugs and kisses. We then turned around and headed home.

The second half was not as "effortless" and I found it a little more challenging to get back into sync after our stop. It wasn't terrible, just a little disappointing after having such a great first half. :)

Happy to get this done, considering the week I'm having and the schedule adjustments I have to make (a challenge negatively affecting my attendance for pilates and yoga classes).

Words to Live By

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Week #4 - Run #1

6.3K (5-6K scheduled)

This is what 341 bibs with disposable chip foam strips on the back looks like. :) My volunteer work for the FCRR this weekend half completed. I'm just waiting for the name/race labels on Thursday afternoon to affix before they'll be registration-ready.

Today's run was very good. Angus ran like an old man; he had so much exercise with Ben over the weekend that he was still feeling tired when he went out with me.

The running path from the Children's Museum toward Gibbons Park/UWO was still icey and dicey, but made a little worse with a fresh layer of light snow on it. The wet snow was flying and it was windy so the conditions were not ideal.

But I still got it done. :) And the loveliness of the hot water afterwards made it worthwhile!

Monday, February 20, 2012

25 minutes barefoot on the TM

Feeling good. :)

Week #4 - Schedule

Race Week Taper

Mon - Rest
Tues - 5-6K
Wed - OFF
Thurs - 6-8K
Fri - Rest
Sat - 4-5K
Sun - Really Chilly Road Race - 10K


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


PART III: How Should I Eat? (Not too much.)

Rule #46 - Stop eating before you're full.

Nowadays we think it is normal and right to eat until you are full, but many cultures specifically advise stopping well before that point is reached. The Japanese have a saying - hara hachi bu - counseling people to stop eating when they are 80 percent full. The Ayurvedic tradition in India advises eating until you are 70 percent, and the prophet Muhammad described a full belly as one that contained 1/3 food and 1/3 liquid - and 1/3 air, i.e., nothing. (Note the relatively narrow range specified in all this advice: somewhere between 67 and 80 percent of capacity. Take your pick.) There's also a German expression that says: "You need to tie off the sack before it gets completely full." And how many of us have grandparents who talk of "leaving the table a little bit hungry"? Here again the French may have something to teach us. To say "I'm hungry" in French you say "J'ai faim" - I have hunger" - and when you are finished, you do not say that you are full, but "Je n'ai plus faim" - "I have no more hunger." That is a completely different way of thinking about satiety. So: Ask yourself not, Am I full? but, Is my hunger gone? That moment will arrive several bites sooner.

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Week #3 HM Training - Mileage Total

Mon = Rest
Tues = 1K (attempt on TM)
Wed = 0K (cancelled)
Thu = 7.5K
Fri = Rest
Sat = 0K (cancelled)
Sun = 11K

TOTAL = 19.5K

Better than last week when I had that dreadful head cold, but sadly, a reflection on my lack of running mojo this past week. We'll see what the next week brings. :)

Week #3 - Run #5

11K (12-14K scheduled)

This run almost didn't happen. I was feeling uninspired, and dragging my feet about going out for a run. My only excuse was a lack of motivation.

Then my neighbour dropped by to say hi. She was just starting her run with her dog when she decided to drop in for a few minutes because we haven't seen each other for awhile.

This is how I found my running mojo. If my neighbour could go for a run, then I could, too. :) Soon after she left, I changed into my running gear. I told Ben that I was aiming for 10K, but that I could be home sooner if I decided to shorten it to 5K. Even though I was still moving half-heartedly, I headed out with Wallace.

And as it turns out, it was a fairly decent run after all. :) It was cold so it was a few km before I warmed up sufficiently. I was a little caught off guard by the iciness of the running path. I had expected it to be much clearer. My run was punctuated by smooth running stretches when the pavement was clear, and running slowly/walking over the stretches of ice.

I continue to feel very pleased with my improved posture, stride and change foot strike/placement. The barefoot walking on the TM, for me, is already proving beneficial, re-teaching me how my feet should feel. I carried that over into my running in shoes, and this has made a significance change/improvement. I now plan to look into a different running shoe next month, a pair will less cushy heels (minimalist).

Saturday, February 18, 2012

22 minutes Barefoot

I am really enjoying this. :) The time flew by. I played with the speed a bit, just to have a little fun with it and test how it felt on my feet to walk faster.

I'm so impressed with my feet - LOL! They know just how to step properly on the TM. It's intuitive and natural. I'm wondering how on earth the heel striking could feel 'natural' to me while running when it there's no way my feet will do this while BF on the TM. I tried heel striking a few times on the TM, and actually had to concentrate on doing it. When I did, it sounded and felt thunderous! I couldn't do for more than few steps. Eye-opening!

Looking forward to my next session BF on the TM Sunday. :)

Week #3 - Run #4 (cancelled)

6-7K scheduled

Sadly, another ZERO run day. :(

It was still a good day. I spent the morning at the farmers' market with my friend, and had a lovely time shopping for bags filled with yummy vegetables. However, by the time I was finished washing, chopping and roasting the leftover vegetables from last week at home, the weather took a turn for the worse, and it turned into poor running weather. :( Ben spent the morning and early afternoon outdoors with Angus, and upon arriving home, advised me not to head out for a run.

Could I have gone to the gym to use the treadmill? Yes. Could I have run on the treadmill at home? Yes. Did I? No. :( My running mojo just isn't there this week.

Friday, February 17, 2012


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


PART III: How Should I Eat? (Not too much.)

RULE #45 - ... Eat less.

This is probably the most unwelcome advice of all, but in fact the scientific case for eating a lot less than we currently do - regardless of whether you are overweight - is compelling. "Calories restriction" has repeatedly been shown to slow aging in animals, and many researchers believe it offers the single strongest link between diet and cancer prevention. We eat much more than our bodies need to be healthy, and the excess wreaks havoc - and not just on our weight. But we are not the first people in history to grapple with the special challenges posed by food abundance, and previous cultures have devised various ways to promote the idea of moderation. The rules that follow offer a few proven strategies.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Week #3 - Run #3

7.5K (7-8K scheduled)

Another weird day. Life got in the way and I ended up having to choose between a run and hot pilates. I was already dressed in my running gear before being interrupted, and after missing runs for the last few days, felt a little pressured about getting something done. :)

I do not often run in the evening. After tonight's run, I am going to try to do it a little more often. :) It was a terrific temperature for a run and it was just what I needed after today. I took a 'brand new' route; I can't run on the Thames Valley path system at night (it's pitch black without any light) so the dogs and I ran a 'city block', using all the main streets in my vicinity (Wharncliffe, Springbank, Wonderland, Riverside), which are well-lit with traffic and street lights. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. :)

For the last month, I've been concentrating on improving my posture, running with my 'core,' and most of all, "curing" myself of the heel strike. This run had some terrific stretches when I could feel all these changes in sync, and that I am running better than in the past - more effortlessly. I am convinced that what I am doing will benefit me in the future; however, it is taking some time to change, and will continue to take more time so patience is proving to be a virtue at this point.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

18 minutes walking barefoot on the treadmill, 3 minutes longer than my first time.

I stopped because I thought this was enough of an increase for now. The balls of my feet were fine, just a little tingly with sensitivity, which is why I did not want to push it.

Once again, it was interesting to see how how my bare feet automatically adjusted to the hard surface by striding shorter and using a gentle, proper foot strike.

I have to say that I am enjoying it barefoot on the treadmill much more than with shoes! Huh!

Week #3 - Run #2 (cancelled)

9-10K scheduled

And 0K achieved. :( It was a very disjointed day for me and I did not manage to squeeze a run in for me today.

At least I made it to Kundalini yoga, albeit a tad bit late (unusual for me). :( A very good class as always and a little sad for me since this will be my last Wednesday yoga class until May 16th. :( My schedule has changed and I can't attend this class for the next three months. :( :( :(

Words to Live By

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Week #3 - Run #1

1K (7-8K scheduled)

Happy Valentine's Day! :) Look what my sweetheart gave to me. :) It's a red velvet chocolate cake with cream cheese icing and filling (the pink and green icing is just tasteless decorative icing). This was completely unexpected, but nevertheless appreciated. :) And very, very yummy!

I attempted to run on my new-2-me treadmill twice, but my head cold ended up being victorious. :( I need to give my sinuses another day to clear up. Fortunately, this is not the flu - I have not suffered from a sore throat, coughing, or lungs filled with phlegm. It is truly a 'head' cold, but it's still keeping me busy blowing my nose. :(

No pilates this evening, either. :( I bailed so I could go out for dinner with Ben. Truth be told, I probably would have skipped class tonight anyway because this cold has really sapped my energy. :( Hoping for a good night's sleep and clearer sinuses tomorrow. :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

15 minutes walking barefoot on the treadmill @2mph

The book I am reading on barefoot running (or how to run like a barefoot runner)* suggests the following to start:

Walk on a treadmill for two weeks before attempting any running. The first week - walk on treadmill without any incline. The second week - change the treadmill to a 2-3% incline.

It also suggests starting with five minutes than increasing each workout by 1 minute.

After 5 minutes, I was fine. I decided to add another 5 minutes. After 10 minutes, I was still fine so I added a final five. During this time, I noticed the balls of my feet becoming more sensitive to the surface. This is when I stopped. The day after tomorrow, I will play it by ear and see how many more minutes I can increase this by.

It was a very positive experience. :) I liked paying attention to what I was doing, and noticing how my feet automatically adjusted to its bare state by walking properly. I also concentrated on keeping my core engaged.

Cool! :)

*Barefoot Running: How to Run Light and Free By getting in Touch with the Earth, by Michael Sandler with Jessica Lee

Week #3 - Schedule

Mon - Rest
Tues - 7-8K
Wed - 9-10K
Thu - 7-8K
Fri - Rest
Sat - 6-7K
Sun - 12-14K


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


Part III: How Should I Eat? (Not too much.)

The rules in the previous two sections deal primarily with questions about what to eat; the ones in this section deal with something a bit more elusive but no less important: the set of manners, eating habits, taboos, and unspoken guidelines that together govern a person's (and a culture's) relationship to food and eating. How you eat may have as much bearing on your health (and your weight) as what you eat.

This may well be the deeper lesson of the so-called French paradox: the mystery (at least to nutritionists) of a population that eats all sorts of supposedly lethal fatty foods, and washes them down with red wine, but which is nevertheless healthier, slimmer, and slightly longer lived than we are. What nutritionists fail to see in the French is a people with a completely different relationship to food than we have. They seldom snack, eat small portions from small plates, don't go back for second helpings, and eat most of their food at long, leisurely meals shared with other people. The rules governing these behaviours may matter more than any magic nutrient in their diet.

The rules in this section are designed to foster a healthier relationship to food, whatever it is you're eating.

Rule #44 - Pay more, eat less.

With food, as with so many things, you get what you pay for. There is also a trade-off between quality and quantity, and a person's "food experience" - a meal's duration or quotient of pleasure - does not necessarily correlate with the number of calories consumed. The American food system has for many years devoted its energies to increasing quantity and reducing price rather than improving quality. There's no escaping the fact that better food - measured by taste and nutritional quality (which often correspond) - costs more, because it has been grown or raised less intensively and with more care. Not everyone can afford to eat well in America, which is a literal shame, but most of us can: Americans spend less than 10 percent of their income on food, less than than the citizens of any other nation. As the cost of food in America has declined, in terms of both price and the effort required to put it on the table, we have been eating much more (and spending more on health care). If you spend more for better food, you'll probably eat less of it, and treat it with more care. And if that higher-quality food tastes better, you will need less of it to feel satisfied. Choose quality over quantity, food experience over mere calories. Or as grandmothers used to say, "Better to pay the grocer than the doctor."

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

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week #2 HM Training - Mileage Total

Mon = Rest
Tues = 0K (cancelled)
Wed = 8K
Thu = 4.5K
Fri = Rest
Sat = 0K (cancelled)
Sun = 0K (cancelled)

TOTAL = 12.5K

Hahahahahah! Not a great week for running at all! But if I had to catch a bad head cold and injure the back of my feet (new shoes), at least I did it all in the same week. :) The weather was extra cold and snowy after weeks of spring-like weather, too ... at least I'm not missing great running weather like I did last fall when I was injured.

Here's to improved health, improved running conditions, and healed blisters next week. :)

Week #2 - Run #5 (cancelled)

0K (10-12K scheduled)

A bit of a bummer. :( I was looking forward to running a 10-12K as an LSD this weekend. But in a "ditto" to Saturday's post, I still have a lousy head cold and the weather is still a little too challenging for me when I am feeling this way to venture out for a run.

We took the dogs out to the farm like we usually do, choosing a path that protected us somewhat from the wind for our walk. The dogs were happy and running the whole time; they clearly needed the energy burner. I opted to go with Ben and the dogs just so I could get some fresh air into my chest and stretch the legs.

I also skipped pilates with Dr. Tim for the second Sunday in a row. I don't want to pass this cold on to others if possible. :(

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week #2 - Run #4 (cancelled)

0K (6-7K scheduled)

I started feeling my cold Thursday night. I just thought my poor run and crappy pilates class were the result of an 'off' day but as I headed to bed, I realized that I had indeed caught Ben's lousy cold. :( I was worse when I woke up this morning. :( Unlike other runners, I do not run when I am sick. This is not the kind of cold that improves with fresh air and some exercise. The weather has changed as well; it's very cold with the wind chill factor and fresh snow. Kudos to all who run in this, but I recognize my limitations today, and will stay in to nurse my cold.

Friday, February 10, 2012


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


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

RULE #43 - Have a glass of wine with dinner.

Wine may not be the magic bullet in the French of Mediterranean diet, but it does seem to be an integral part of these dietary patterns. There is now considerable scientific evidence for the health benefits of alcohol to go with a few centuries of traditional belief and anecdotal evidence. Mindful of the social and health effects of alcoholism, public health authorities are loath to recommend drinking, but the fact is that people who drink moderately and regularly live longer and suffer considerably less heart disease than teetotalers. Alcohol of any kind appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, but the polyphenols in red wine (resveratrol in particular) may have unique protective qualities. Most experts recommend no more than two drinks a day for men, one for women. Also, the health benefits of alcohol may depend as much on the pattern of drinking as on the amount: Drinking a little every day is better than drinking a lot on the weekends, and drinking with food is better than drinking without it. Someday science may figure out the complex synergies at work in the traditional diet that includes wine, but until then we can marvel at its accumulated wisdom - and raise a glass to paradox.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week #2 - Run #3

4.5K (scheduled 6-7K)

Oy! Week #1 went very well; Week #2 - not so much. :(

From beginning to end, I just wasn't feeling this run. I felt like I was forcing it to happen rather than needing a few minutes/kms to warm-up. I knew by the time I reached 4K that it was time to call it a bust.

I recognize that there are days when it's a matter of motivation when it's hard to put on my running shoes. Getting out there and starting to run usually makes the feeling subside. However, today was not one of those days. :( Ha! Oh well! A bit of bummer after my great run yesterday, but not all runs have to be, or are going to be, good. :)

Hot Pilates

I wasn't going to go to class after this shortened, blah run, but it will be the second last time I can attend it for the next three months (changes to my schedule) so I used this sad fact to motivate me out the door. And as it turns out, I really should have stayed home! I knew something was up when I arrived - only half the usual amount of students were there and our instructor was missing. This is when I remembered that Jan had the night off and a substitute was coming in for her. This is when I should have left, but since I was already there ...

Wisely, I didn't set my mat up at the front by the instructor like I usually do. I headed straight to the back corner! And for the next hour, I was grateful that I did. Rather than getting into all the details, suffice it to say that it was not an enjoyable class because it was unlike any pilates I have done in class or seen on the DVDs from the library. This instructor taught in a more frenzied, fast pace way. No one knew what we were doing because we would be told to do one pose or exercise while she was calling out another ... and another. I realized then what I liked so much about the yoga and pilates classes I attend faithfully. Both the instructors take the time to show us how to do it properly. We pause and watch while they show us what to do and then we proceed together. We still get a workout with all the pauses - in fact, we get a better workout because we know what to do, and how to do it. This instructor just kept changing what she wanted us to without rhyme or reason. It just ended up being a frustrating experience, and several of the regular students who did show up looked at each other, and said WTF?!?!? Rather than letting it bother me, I just shook my head and laughed to myself about it. Batting 1000! Par for the course! First a lousy run; then a lousy class. It just wasn't my day and it doesn't happen often so no worries. :)

And I can add this now, since my post is going up late ... but once I arrived home and relaxed for awhile after pilates, I realized that I wasn't feeling well. :( And guess who has a nasty head cold at the moment? :( :(

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Week #2 - Run #2

8K (8-9K scheduled)

This is Angus. He likes to kick back and watch a little bit of TV after he goes for a run. :)

It was a gorgeous, crisp day for a run. And I have to admit, I really did not want to go for one. It took a lot of self-talk to motivate me, and then it turned out to be a great run after all. Isn't it funny how often that happens?

The back of my feet/achilles was still a little raw from wearing my new shoes, but with hospital-grade bandages, I was okay with my running shoes on. I was feeling a little residual frustration from my run on Sunday, too. It is taking a lot of concentration and work mixed in with frustration to change from heel striking.

Fortunately, this run came together much better today than in previous runs. There were several stretches that were so smoooooth and effortless - wow! My reading on heel striking describes it as trying to drive while accelerating and hitting the brake simultaneously. I understand this analogy much better after today's run. Running up small inclines and declines was much easier. I am considering adding "100ups" to my pre-run regime because I see its connection to proper form.

I also focused more on 'engaging my core.' Chi Running's approach is about using your core to run, not your legs. Today, I finally concentrated on this more and wow! I really felt the difference! My challenge right now is following the advice the book provides: read it from cover to cover first, and then return to the beginning to work on one thing at a time, in sequence, taking the time to learn each step properly, before progressing to the next. I have been a little too much all over the map, experimenting with what I am reading during the first read-through. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing because when I suddenly did get all these things into sync - woosh! Fast and effortless. It proved that I am doing the right thing for me at this time. Patience!

There was some frustration on my run today, but it didn't have anything to do with the running. The dogs were not as good as they usually are as running partners. Angus was pushing the pace a little too much; I had to keep telling him to slow down. I wanted to concentrate on my form, not my speed. For some reason, he really wanted to run! :( Wallace kept pulling to the side in sniffing mode. It must have been especially smelly out there because his nose was sniffing as fast as his legs were running. Normally, he is focused and thrilled to be running so it was odd to feel the constant pulling at my waist from Wallace's leash. They are usually so great so in hindsight, it's a reminder of how lucky I am to have two great running partners.

Kundalini Yoga

Because today's run was so good, I still had my 'runner's high' heading into class, and this high carried over into my yoga poses. :) I could feel improvement, which really pleased me! It also made me feel a little sad because, after next week, I won't be able to attend this class for awhile. :( (schedule change for the next three months).

The best part of class was the lovely compliment I received from my yoga/running classmate. She started to tell me that she thought she saw me out running. I responded by asking if this runner had two dogs attached to the waist? :) Yes! She then told me that it was her marathon-running husband who saw me dogs along Wonderland Road, and how impressed he was by me. When she looked to see who he was pointing out, she realized that it was me. She then told me that her husband thought I was running at quite a clip. :) It was so nice to hear such positive feedback. :) :)

Words to Live By

One of my DailyMile friends is very faithful at posting inspirational words. Sometimes they are funny; sometimes they really me think. They are so good, I want to share them here (a regular Wednesday post for the next few months). It's a great way for me to keep a record of them, too. :)

Thank you, @Corinna M. of Brampton, Ontario!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Week #2 - Run #1 (Cancelled)

0K (7-8K scheduled)

My poor little feet were too sore today to go for a run. :(

Before I explain why my feet are so sore, I just want to laughingly apologize to anyone who has signed up for email forwards. I was a busy bee and spent time catching up on all my posts and as a a result, your inbox would have received one very long email with seven posts! Sorry!

I purchased new shoes Monday night - the first pair in a long time that weren't running shoes! - and I decided to break them in by walking the dogs. They were soooo comfortable and I was really liking them ... until suddenly they were no longer 'so' comfortable. I realized that the skin on the back of my feet was being rubbed too much. :( Unfortunately, returning home from this point of realization turned my feet into a minor bloody mess. :( Now, any pair of shoes, including my running shoes, are not feeling great on! Compounded by having a terrible night of sleep last night, I knew I simply didn't have it in me today (Ben has a terrible cold and was up all night, affecting my sleep). And hey, after 5 runs last week, the first time since early September, taking an additional rest day this week is not such a bad idea. :)


I still went to pilates class this evening - woo hoo! It's the first time in awhile that I considered bailing (so tired!), but I am glad I forced myself out the door. It was a good class; we used two pilates balls throughout this session. Although some moves didn't seem to do anything for me (doing it wrong?), the arm strengthening with the balls was excellent. We also did several glutes exercises that every runner should learn! Wow! I can see why pilates and running go together like jam and peanut butter. :) :)

And on a side note, this class was more humourous than usual because there were quite a few farters! I am accustomed to hearing the occasional fart in pilates and yoga; it's the nature of the class. My yoga instructor has told us on numerous occasions not to feel embarrassed if it happens - it shows that you are working the right area of your body. :) However, in this class - toot! toot! toot! toot! toot! all over the room. It was as if one person being "loud and proud" encouraged everyone else to just let it out. A show of solidarity?

And just so you know ... I had nothing to offer. :) :)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Week #2 - Schedule

Monday - OFF
Tuesday - 7-8K
Wednesday - 8-9K
Thursday - 6-7K
Friday - OFF
Saturday - 6-7K
Sunday - 10-12K


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


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

RULE #42 - Regard non-traditional foods with skepticism.

Innovation is always interesting, but when it comes to food, it pays to approach new creations with caution. If diets are the products of an evolutionary process in which groups of people adapt to the plants, animals and fungi a particular place has to offer, then a novel food or culinary innovation resembles a mutation: It might represent an evolutionary improvement, but chances are it doesn't. Soy products offer a good case in point. People have been eating soy in the form of tofu, soy sauce and tempeh for many generations, but today we're eating novelties like "soy protein isolate," "soy isolflavones," and "textured vegetable protein" from soy and partially hydrogenated soy oils, and there are questions about the heathfulness of these new food products. As a senior FDA scientist has written, "Confidence that soy products are safe is clearly based on belief than hard data." Until we have that data, you're probably better off eating soy prepared in the traditional Asian manner than according to the novel recipes dreamed up by food scientists.

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

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Week #1 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest
T = 7K
W = 6K
Th = 7.5K
F = rest
S = 6.5K
Sun = 10.1K

TOTAL = 37.1 K

Week #1 - Run #5

10K (8-10K scheduled)

Week #1 is officially accomplished. :) It's also my first week of five runs in one week since August 29 - September 4 (the week before my taper week before my half marathon race when I first injured my left calf muscle).

It was another gorgeous day outside for a run. Unfortunately, in spite of the great weather, I was very sloooow to leave the house for this LSD. I was feeling a little sore from yesterday's run, and just feeling unmotivated (note there is no pilates class described today - I forgot). This is when I like having a set training program to follow. I felt compelled to get out there so I could stick to the plan, but if it hadn't been scheduled, I probably would have bailed.

The run itself was okay. In hindsight, I think I should have shortened my run simply because it's tough to change my running form and to make these changes incrementally while running longer distances. I compare it to barefoot running - if we shod runners were to whip off our shoes, we could not run the same distances barefoot that we can in shoes without hurting ourselves. We would need to give our feet time to 'rubberize' and to grow accustomed to being bare before adding mileage. Although my run was 'good', in the sense that I could feel the positive changes, it was also tiring and somewhat frustrating. Because it was tiring me, I started defaulting back to my old way of running; however, this way is no longer feeling as 'right' to me so I switch back to my new way, creating a vicious circle. :( Multiply this by the number of kms I ran, and this is why I was getting frustrated. It helped to stop periodically, walk a little, reposition my core (posture), lean forward, and start again.

Tomorrow is a rest day - woo hoo! - and then back at it on Tuesday.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Week #1 - Run #4

6.5K (6-7K scheduled)

This is what I am diligently trying to correct right now with my running. :)

BUT! Before I write about my run ... I want to share the positive influence of Food Rules on me as well as my own determination to make lifestyle changes in 2012 ....

Last Saturday morning and then again this morning, I tagged along with friends to the local Farmers' Market at the Western Fair grounds. I love the Farmers' Market, but it is a little too far from home without a vehicle and I am usually vehicle-less Saturday mornings. :(

This is what I purchased:

- cauliflower (it's been a long time since this made it into the grocery bag)
- beets (my FIRST time!)
- kale
- peppers
- carrots
- Granny Smith apples (chemical-free)
- leeks (something I have purchased maybe twice before?)
- shallots
- green onions
- broccoli
- Brussel sprouts
- lemons
- limes

Pretty good, don't you think? Ha! I also purchased a bottle of organic cumin seeds from a local retailer in my first step to start replacing all the spices that I use more frequently because they are definitely more than two years old.

I also picked up a loaf of artisan bread free of preservatives from a bakery from Stratford for lunches, and treated myself to a sweet bun with Belgian chocolate from a Goderich bakery selling their delicious goods from a mobile unit in the parking lot.

Once I was home, I spent the next little while washing all my vegetables and fruit in the sink in a natural white vinegar/baking soda solution. Now my dining room table is covered with wicker baskets and bowls filled with my new goodies. :) I have my own farmers' market at home. :) While I was washing vegetables, I roasted a leftover acorn squash and kale from my previous week's purchases to eat this weekend, and to make room for the fresher vegetables.

I have made a concerted effort to find vegetable recipes over the last month. After looking through my own cookbooks as well as too-many-to-count from the library, I have a bevy of new recipes to try. I am having great luck so far roasting my vegetables in the oven at a high temperature with just a little bit of salt and olive oil. Yum! The caramelizing of the vegetables brings out their natural sweetness. I usually eat broccoli raw in a salad, cooked in mixed dish, or steamed, but wow! Roasted broccoli tastes really, really good! This is why I purchased Brussels sprouts and beets because I want to see if vegetables I normally don't enjoy take on a different flavour when roasted. I'm looking forward to all my experimenting. :)

And so, after a Saturday morning immersed in vegetables, it was time for my run. The dogs and I headed out on my most oft-used ~4 miles/6.5K loop, but we don't use it too much over the winter because the sidewalks are usually covered by ice. :( Thanks the spring-like weather we are having, the snow and ice have all melted so woo hoo! We can use it for the time being whenever I have this distance scheduled.

I spent most of my run concentrating on my posture and running form. In addition to vegetable recipes, I have researched injury-free running. There is so much to learn; it can be a little overwhelming! There are three different sources I am using. Although there is some conflicting advice, overall they are remarkably very similar with their coaching (based on the same science). Quite interesting because these three sources have different target market.

I experimented today with several different things, and perhaps I will write more on this in the future as I learn what works best for me, but I will say this - holy cow! I have caught myself running much faster than I realize when it doesn't feel like I am running faster. I can tell when several factors I am working on are suddenly in sync with one another because vrooom! Not only am I running faster without effort, but the sensation of running changes, too. Very, very cool. :)

At the end of my run, I could feel different muscles in my calves were used (the ones I am supposed to be using when running), and my glutes were a little more tender than usual (another good indicator). Tomorrow I have an 8-10K run scheduled - I wonder how I will be feeling then. :)

In closing, I usually do not make note of this, but my 6.5K loop ends at the bottom of a ravine; I walk up 60 steps to the top of the ravine as part of my cool-down walk in order to get home. The above googled pic looks very similar to my neighbourhood steps (except mine are metal, not wood). I used to walk up the first 20 steps to the first landing before stopping to catch my breath a little before continuing. Now I walk up them with no problem, except for feeling a little tired in the legs after a run. Someday I will have to try running up them. :)

Friday, February 3, 2012


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


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

RULE #41 - Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks.

People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed foods. Any traditional diet will do: If it were not a healthy diet, the people who follow it wouldn't still be around. True, food cultures are embedded in societies and economies and ecologies, and some of them travel better than others, Inuit not so well as Italian. In borrowing from a food culture, pay attention to how a culture eats as well as to what it eats. In the case of the French paradox, for example, it may not be the dietary nutrients that keep the French healthy (lots of saturated fat and white flour?!) as much as their food habits: small portions eaten at leisurely communal meals; no second helpings or snacking. Pay attention, too, to the combinations of foods in traditional cultures: In Latin America, corn is traditionally cooked with lime and eaten with beans; what would otherwise be a nutritionally deficient staple becomes the basis of a healthy, balanced diet. (The beans supply amino acids lacking in corn, and the lime makes niacin available). Cultures that took corn from Latin America without the beans or the lime wound up with serious nutritional deficiencies such as pellagra. Traditional diets are more than the sum of their food parts.

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

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Week #1 - Run #3

7.5K (5-6K scheduled)

This runner has very good running posture! :)

I logged in another great run, which is just terrific. The difference between this one and previous runs is that I was strong right from the beginning; it didn't take up to 3K to warm up and get into it; it was 'there' from the moment I started. Again, I worked on my posture, as usual, and my gait. It's becoming easier. :) I am finding that it is now coming more naturally to me now rather than 'needing' to concentrate on it. I am paying greater attention to how my feet are landing, how my body/core is positioned, and how I am breathing. I am just in the beginner stages so I will probably comment more about this here as I progress. Suffice it to say, it has captured my attention and interest.

Just for a change, the dogs and I ran along the path heading toward the university, but I led them off into some side streets and the neighbourhood in the Cherryhill vicinity, where we rarely venture. Funny how these streets are so close to where I live, but I have never seen them. Now, to be honest, I wasn't missing much - LOL! It did make for a nice change in scenery and kept me closer to home so that I could make it home in time to get to hot pilates.

Rest day tomorrow. My original HM running plan schedules a Saturday run and a day off Sunday, but I have added a short run to my Saturday schedule and moved the long run to Sunday. I will play it by ear to see if this works for me or not.

I teased the instructor about my 'tender bottom" at yoga last night. She laughed and told me that she was pleased that her tougher workout woke up those muscles. This evening, in the heated room, she took us through our paces again just using our bodies. I did the best that I could, but could feel the residual tenderness from Tuesday's class. By the time I arrived home, my core was feeling pretty tender ... but in a good way. :) Yoga tomorrow night.