Monday, September 12, 2011


Today’s run really just threw my whole being into question. I know that sounds a bit heavy for a lunchtime jaunt down Limebank Rd, but lately I’ve felt like I haven’t been able to keep up with things in life, or rather, taken on too many challenges. I love to challenge myself and in running, I’m no different. Today I realized that running is the one thing that I don’t want to ruin by making it another challenge. I want running to be my escape and, while it serves that purpose now, I don’t want my thoughts all day to involve running. I don’t want to feel like I have to finish 5 miles by the end of the night for things to be good. I want running to be the one place in my life where nothing truly matters.

I’m sort of second guessing my thoughts about this new change in my way of thinking. I have to have goals – even on just one run. But I don’t want there to always be a date, a time, a record to strive for. I keep thinking back to my days of aiming for military times. I said “one day, I want to run this time” and I worked towards that in any way I could. I made up fun little interval training exercises and I craved running. It wasn’t something I felt I had to do. I was thinking, “I can’t wait to get back on that treadmill and run tonight!”… I think it’s about time that I chill out a bit and mix it up. I’m definitely making sure that x-training happens this week and I am for sure sticking with my run-xtrain-run-xtrain-rest goal for the week. I still plan to run a 5K or 10K here and there, and if one day I feel like running the half, I will. I just feel that for now, training is leading to injuries, which is leading me to not run, which is leading me to misery!

I haven’t really come up with a goal for training yet. How do you have a goal for goal-less training? It’s so foreign to me to go into something without a plan. I guess my goal right now is to make every treadmill or outdoor session its own. I just want to run a few times a week for not more than an hour and just run how I feel like running that day. If I’m bounding with energy, it’ll be a sprint session. If I’m craving something chill, maybe a long slow one. Exhausted? Recovery run. All I plan to do is record my times for every run and my distance. Hopefully over time I see a trend of getting faster/having more endurance.

And maybe I’ll check out those Marines times.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Every Day I'm Taperin'

Well it's that time already: taper week for my 5K in Plainfield.

To be honest, it feels like I've been tapering for a few weeks. Between the injuries and consistently tweaking my base mileage, things haven't gone exactly as planned. I'm up 3 lbs from my low weight a little over a week ago and while I want to place the blame on some PMS bloating, I just don't feel like the hardcore hot running chick I set out to be. I'm going to do my best to maximize the good eating this week as I am still going to a wedding and no one likes the little pregnant belly bulge from being bloated.

I did have a really great run on Thursday night though. It was a beautiful night and I considered doing a trail run, but it was getting dark so I did an out and back from my home to the Sportsplex at Hunt Club and Woodroffe, and back home again for a total of 5 miles. I got my dad to join me on the run (which was a good move as the trail goes through trees for a bit and gets very dark). He used to run a lot when he was younger but his joints are getting the better of him, so he became my bicycle waterboy. I maintained a great 6.0 mph pace the whole way through and was shocked that I was able to converse freely for the entire run. I was happy that, while I haven't noticed a lot of physical gains (other than a little less leg cellulite, which is a good thing), I have definitely gained in terms of endurance and speed. I recognize now that my downfall is my eating habits, so I plan to work on that. Step 1: Activia desserts. Holy crap. Amazeballs.

The plan for the taper week is to get my last run in by Wednesday. I'm hoping to hit the elliptical tonight for an easy session, though not sure if it'll happen thanks to an upset stomach. Monday will be a lunch run day (4 miles), Tuesday is x-training, Wednesday will be another lunch run or a sprint session, Thursday is x-training, Friday is rest, and Saturday is the big race!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New PR

Tonight was going to be one of those write-off nights. The ones where you plan on having a killer workout and then it slowly evolves into a 20 min walk on the treadmill, if that. I was determined to not let the cardio slide, even though the plan for weights did.

I chose to do 0.25 mile repeats: 1/4 mile easy (5.7-6.0 mph) and 1/4 mile goal pace (7 mph), until I reached 3 miles. It's not an all-out kill-me-now sprint, but it's a pace I want to maintain one of these days and I want to build up to it the way I always do... starting out 50/50 with goal/easy, then eventually making that 75/25, 80/20, 90/10... you see the picture. By the end of the first mile, I still had a full tank of gas and felt like I had been only running for a few minutes. That's because I HAD only been running for a few minutes. I was averaging a 9:40 pace out of the gate. With a goal of mine being negative splits, I figured there was no time like the present to start it. I upped my easy pace from 5.7 mph to 6.0 mph for mile 2. At the end of the mile, I had this surge of excitement; I knew that I was on track to a new training PR. I held the 6.0 mph easy pace, and added another 0.2 mph to my original 7.0 mph tempo. I also cut my easy period to 0.20 miles instead of 0.25 for an extra kick. I sprinted my legs off and at 2.8, slowed down to my easy speed for the last 0.2 miles. Knowing how close I was to the end, at 2.9 I upped the speed to a very fast (for me) 8.0 mph and went all out for that last 0.10 miles. If I had done this only a few seconds earlier, I would've ran 3 miles in 28:00, but I am still EXTREMELY pleased with my new time of 28:10. This is an incredible pace for me... I didn't know I was capable of running ONE mile at that pace, forget 3. I am so proud of myself and I know that if I only had one mile to run, I could EASILY get it into the 8:00s. Progress!!

Also, I hate IT band rollers. They are so awkward and boy do they freaking HURT on a tight IT band. They are a necessarily evil, but I still wish I remained that naive runner I was a few years ago when I'd peruse forums and see all these poor people complaining about IT band injuries. It seemed so common, yet I had no idea where it was. Let me just say, I know now.

Tomorrow is an easy x-training day. Planning for a 30 min row at the gym at work tomorrow, though I have a bocce game so it may have to wait until the evening. We'll see if I can drag my butt into work 15-30 min earlier tomorrow to give myself that extra time.

Night! x

Running in Reston

This weekend was sort of interesting workout-wise.

I was supposed to meet my boyfriend after his flights on Sunday in Dulles, VA at around 9:30 pm, but elected to take an early flight as I just don't trust his airline in Ottawa when there's rain or storms in the forecast (this was a good decision -- another runway excursion happened with my would-be flight that evening). I was thrilled that the Hyatt Dulles had a nice pool and gym and planned to take a much-needed nap and then go for a run/lifting session, but as I was flying in, I thought, "This would be a cool area to explore on foot". I texted one of my boyfriend's coworkers who is a serious runner and asked about decent running routes in the area. He told me about a paved trail that goes down an old railway line. When I asked how to get to it from the Hyatt, he said that he and a buddy were going to bike it today (it goes all the way into DC and out to Leesburg) and said I was welcome to join in. I jumped at the chance of training with people who were fitter than me as I knew it was their "easy" day (which is my hard day) and it was only a 20 mile out-and-back. It also gave me the chance to do some cross-training, which I've been yearning for. The other guy was training for a triathlon, so we planned a 4 mile run after the bike.

Biking actually felt awesome and I'm sad I haven't done more of it this summer. I was able to keep up the entire time (save for the last stretch which was all uphill in high humidity... my Canadian lungs gave up) and knew I'd had a kickass workout. After rehydrating and refueling with 2 bottles of water and some GU gel, we hit the same trail for the run. The run was shortened to two miles as it was just way too hot to go any further and I think we all had pushed it a little too much. My first mile was at a 9:30 pace, which shocked me after doing 20 miles on a bike and running in very high heat and humidity. The last mile was easy walk/jogged back.

All in all, it was a solid workout and gave me the confidence that I can go for multidisciplinary sessions at the gym. Tonight I'm aiming for a 20 min elliptical and 30 min sprint/speed session, with an upper body weights session in. Food today has been sluggish. I lacked protein all morning and kept eating high carb foods (bagel, muffin - though homemade and low fat, baked potato). I'm currently munching on some low fat flaxseed chicken which is my first decent protein fill of the day, and I plan to get some rotisserie chicken and salad tonight for dinner.

Was supposed to go to EFL tonight and play hockey afterwards, but training was cancelled and so was hockey, so... I'm on my own! No worries. This weekend really helped me prove to myself that I can keep up with the best of them and I'm not as out of shape as I feel I am. I don't feel like I have to bullshit when I talk about my paces or what I can do. I'm proud of myself.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hope Now

(That song has been stuck in my head since I played it during my strengthening session tonight, and felt the title was somewhat appropriate)

So here I am with various points in my legs tingling from the application of some sort ayurvedic balm (basically, tiger balm). I'm starting to lose hope on my tendons at this point and, since I didn't feel like taking an ice bath at 2 am, I've decided to try any and all cures. I went to a reflexology appointment a few days ago courtesy of a cheap LivingSocial deal and this was recommended to me and I was given a free sample. We'll see what happens.

Tonight I ran 2.1 miles. Actually, let me rephrase that. Tonight I ran, jogged, walked, stumbled, struggled, and agonized through 2.1 miles. Obviously something in my body was shocked awake when I started doing the half training and it has brought back every tendon injury I've ever had in the past decade, and then some. Achilles, peroneal, IT band... they're all furious. Reviewing my log from the past month, I can perhaps see why. I took a couple of weeks off from exercise in general after being prescribed medication that made me a nervous wreck. I actually developed a fear of losing weight and going to the gym. So you can see how that would be an issue. When the drugs finally started getting out of my system and I got back on the treadmill, I got addicted to that runners high and ditched the cross-training that I had been accustomed to for the past couple of years and stuck mainly with running. Problem right there. All those extra muscles that had been strengthened were now getting weaker and weaker. A one mile/week increase is not that bad, but I don't think my body was as ready as my mind was for training.

All that being said, I've come to the conclusion that once I get back in the game injury-wise, I'm planning on focusing more on fast hill or interval workouts and less on the LSR stuff. I've found that while my endurance has been great, my strength has gone way down and I believe that's why the injuries are coming back. Before, I was running a 9:00 mile pace and now, my times are 10:00 at best, just longer. I hope to aim for about 3 days/week of running (one or two interval/hill sessions, one long run not to exceed 45 min), with 2 days/week of cross training. There will obviously be tweaking in there... Running is the most accessible sport, so if I'm doing at the boyfriend's place, I don't mind swapping a x-training night for a run around the apartment blocks. The fact of the matter is that my strength needs to improve.

I'm trying to think of tangible goals to reach. I do want to go back to 1 mile increases, though I may increase every 2 weeks. I do, however, want to focus on times as well. 30:00 at 10 min miles is a 3 mile run, but 30:00 at 8 min miles is almost 4 miles. My distances will naturally increase the faster I get. Plus, I do want to run this half in a respectable time and not just "complete" it. My old goals from back when I was 14 are possibilities... setting a goal to run as fast as male Marines is pretty good and would force me to do speed work, which I'm not a big fan of.

I'm thinking that for running days, I'm going to warm up for the run on an elliptical/bike/rowing machine for about 10 min, run, then cool down for 10 min on something else. That way, I can continue building the x-training into the workouts. In the end, I need to see increases in both endurance and strength, but I'd prefer a gradual one for both, than a huge one for only one of them and a decline in the other.

Either way, there is definitely going to be some major restructuring when it comes to my workouts and running. The mileage increase is being scrapped for the moment, partly because of surgery and partly because I want to feel 100% going into training. I may consider looking at a 10K plan and running that for the time being just to have some structure to my workouts.

We will see where this leads. I'm cautiously optimistic.