Saturday, December 31, 2011

I Will Be With You Again (on New Years Day)

Random arbitrary lyrics from a U2 song, but I guess it's kind of fitting.. More on that in the NRR section:

RR Section

I was staying at the Hyatt Dulles for the weekend, so I mappedometer-ed another route for me to take. I was feeling gung-ho about a good run, so I mapped a 5.63 mile route that took me in essentially a big loop around the area. My only issue was.. I didn't satellite image the entire route. In fact, the parts of the route I thought would be okay were not, and the parts of the route I was concerned wouldn't have a sidewalk or shoulder were completely well-equipped for runners. I started out just fine. The weather was amazing.. 14C and I was running with a tshirt and my lululemon yoga pants. I hadn't packed my running tights or outdoor stuff as the weather in Ottawa had been really craptastic and I didn't think it'd be warm and sunny in Virginia. I had to tie a hair elastic around the waist of my pants about a quarter mile into the run... guess they didn't hold up as well with the impact of the running.

I made it to the corner of Sunrise Valley and Frying Pan... started running and BAM! Where the hell did the sidewalk go?! There was no shoulder, and no sidewalk. I was running on the white line with a large embankment to my left side (so I couldn't hop on the grass for an oncoming car). I nearly poked my eye out with branches and twigs and there was some weird grass-like substance clinging to my legs. I kept pushing as I knew a sidewalk would be coming soon, but at that point, I was freaked out. Definitely going to re-route that in future! I was scared to take a wrong turn as well, knowing how that turned out for me last time I was in Virginia. I eventually finished my run, but not without getting on a sidewalk that led to nowhere first (actually, it led to the bottom of a ravine, then abruptly ended... right by a homeless guy's "house"). My time wasn't great... I think it was close to an hour. I did stop to fix my shoes, pants, stoplights, etc. I also was running against a very strong 25-30 mph wind on the way back. Either way, I finished the run so I guess it wasn't a waste.

Now onto the NRR SECTION...

I've bitched about pilot wives in the past and how they go on and on about their husbands, but I think I might slightly join the masses tonight (or at least run the outskirts of them).

I fought freezing rain/hail/sleet/snow yesterday to get on a 2:30 pm flight to Washington. My excellent gatekeeper/keymaster (gate agent) smuggled me down to the gate on a seat on a Chicago flight so that I could at least pray that the hordes were caught up in customs and a seat would open up. After being a part of those hordes for almost 3 years, I caved this summer and got a NEXUS card, and it definitely has helped. I beat everyone through customs by about 45 minutes. There were 4 open seats on the plane and they were going to give me a ticket when they realized that a family of 4 had checked 16 FREAKING BAGS on the plane. Weighing the options, they decided to wait the extra 15 minutes for these people and therefore delay the entire flight and cause on-time people to have tight connections. I, of course, didn't get on the plane... I had to go back out through customs and have my parents pick me up in my car. We went to the slots and I actually won $140 (woo, hotels covered) so it worked out, but it was a huge freaking hassle. I got on the 7:15 pm flight thanks to my wonderful gate agent saving a seat for me. Turns out he didn't need to. This time, there were about 20 people stuck in customs and the crew was NOT willing to wait. Either way, I made it to DC.

I went down to DC to see my BF who is on reserve and wanted out of the crashpad for 2 nights. We haven't spent a New Years together in the 3 years we've been together, so I made a special trip down so that we could spend it together. We had a lovely evening at the Cheesecake Factory and the next morning, I got up for my run.. When I returned from the run at around 1:45 pm, we took a shower, and when we got out, there was a missed call on the BF's phone. Scheduling had called and assigned him a Syracuse overnight for tonight. I'm pissed. Here's why:

1. He didn't fly ALL month. He had to fly tonight.
2. This is the third year we don't get a New Years Eve together
3. We had great plans for the evening including a trip into DC and dinner/drinks out.
4. We had paid for our hotel for tonight (that now neither of us will be sleeping in)
5. I had to hurry up and get ready so we could quickly get food before I had to get a 5:40 pm flight BACK to Ottawa.
6. The boyfriend's plane gets into Syracuse 15 min before midnight so he's spending midnight either at an airport or on a crew shuttle.
7. I got in too late to Ottawa to drive the 3 hours to Syracuse.
8. The weather has also been shitty.
9. The SYR flight was full so I couldn't even go with him.
10. @#@@!%@$

Just really pissed off. Usually, I'm patient with my boyfriend's lifestyle. I'm semi-used to it because I've been involved with aviation my entire life and have the same attitude towards planes that he does. I *get* him and the draw of the industry (and the downsides) and I know better than to sit and whine about his work because I would NOT be pleased if he sat and whined about how I had to do air traffic control on a midnight shift. I'm peeved that his airline is crappy and that he has access to some fantastic airlines in Canada, but can't make use of his qualifications due to legal issues (aka not legally able to work here yet). I'm also not pleased that he commutes. This may have been easier to deal with if I hadn't flown all the way down to DC, paid for hotels, etc. I'm angry because it's 10:16 pm on New Years Eve and I'm writing an angry blog post about this. Usually I can deal but tonight, I really can't.

Let's hope for the best for 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Crimbo Limbo

This is the time of year that I like to call “Crimbo Limbo”. For those of you not hailing from the British Isles, “Crimbo” is slang for Christmas. This is that awkward time of year between Christmas hols and New Years, compounded even more this year by the fact that Christmas fell on a Sunday and Boxing Day fell on a Monday, so I didn’t actually get back to work until today (Wednesday). I’m leaving early-ish on Friday (hopefully) to visit the boyfriend in DC for our very first New Years Eve spent together in 3 years.

Running was a bit dodgy this week. I drove down to New Jersey on Friday night and got to the hotel I’d booked WAY earlier than planned (5 pm). With the weather good and me in fine spirits, I planned to just continue on, but decided to stop at the hotel anyway since I had paid for a room and figured I’d take a quick nap and go for a run. The a/c was making strange clicking noises for the whole 2 hour nap so it didn’t go as planned, but I did get on the treadmill. I was honestly not feeling the run, and cranked out 2 miles before heading back on the road.

Knowing that Christmas was imminent, I went for a run on Christmas Eve. 5 whole miles. It honestly felt great… knees were good, everything was good. I was just not really in that running frame of mind and the treadmill had a mounted TV with dodgy audio, so it made the run feel longer having to watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians in one ear. I did a very quick upper body session on Christmas Day that was supposed to go longer but I was tuckered out from the travelling and the long run the day before, so I packed it in after 30 minutes.

I left late on Monday and arrived at 6 am yesterday morning, so yesterday was a write-off. Today I do plan to go for at least 4ish miles with my cousin. I’ve been eating junk food all week including MIL’s cookies and Buffalo Wild Wings (death), so it’ll be nice to get back on track. My cousin in Scotland will be getting married in February and I have a skintight red dress to fit into by then, so I NEED to get my shiz together.

I’ve noticed that I normally just post about my workouts and I feel that I should offer more to my loyal blog followers, so I’m going to offer up examples of my favourite workouts for other people to try.

Today is the Song Interval Session

I was talking to my boyfriend today about running music and how he makes fun of me that I have about 20 different running-related iPod playlists. One playlist is called “Song Intervals”. I basically create interval sessions based off of songs that I’m running too (fast songs, slow songs, etc). It goes a little like this:

I usually determine how long I want to run for first. Let’s say I want to do a 40 minute run. Each song on my playlist probably averages about 4 min/song, so running for 40 minutes, I’d go through about 10 songs, give or take.

Next, I determine my running speeds and how I plan to divvy up my song intervals. Do I want to increase speed during a fast chorus, or do I want to maintain one speed throughout an entire song? Depending on how ADD I feel that day, I usually go with one speed per song. I pick my speed intervals based on songs.

In a sample workout, I’ll maybe pick 6.0 mph for slower songs, 6.5 mph for mid-tempo songs, and 7.0 mph for fast songs. I have to bear in mind that two or three fast songs could come up in a row (when I set the iPod to shuffle), so I could conceivably have to maintain 7 mph for 10-15 minutes. This is why it’s best to be conservative when picking speeds.

Here’s a sample workout:

For example (just off my playlist now):

1. Drowning by Avicii ft Laura V (slowish – maintain 6.0 mph)

2. Long Way Down by Goo Goo Dolls (fast 7.0 mph)

3. Untouched by The Veronicas (fast 7.0 mph)

4. Drive My Soul by Lights (6.0 mph)

5. Chelsea Dagger by the Fratellis (I call it mid-tempo, 6.5 mph)

6. C’Mon by Tiesto ft Busta Rhymes (fast 7.0 mph)

7. About You Now by Sugababes (mid 6.5 mph)

8. Without You by David Guetta ft Usher (6.0 mph)

9. Bury Your Head by Saosin (fast 7.0 mph)

10. Up by James Morrison ft Jessie J (slow 6.0 mph)

Let’s say each song was exactly 4 min, the workout would be 40 min with an average pace of 6.5 mph, therefore resulting in a 4.3 mile run with 518 calories burned (for me, a 160 lb woman).

Numbers will of course vary depending on the songs and the actual amount of time you spend running, but it generally ends up averaging out.

And all I had to do was just listen to 10 songs :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Many the Miles

Sorry for the lack of updates! It’s been a stressful few days between finishing up housework, finding out that my boyfriend will be here 2 WEEKS earlier than I expected (awesome for us, bad for Anne’s cleaning plans!), more health-related issues and adapting to some changes I will have to make, exams, and finally, an exam and interview for a much-coveted job. I was very grateful to my manager (who was one of the two interviewers) who was very proactive in the interview and made me feel at ease, as the night before and been a mess of emotions and I had that all-too-familiar sore/tired eyes, pounding headache feeling. Not the best situation for an interview, but I made good on my promise to answer all 17 questions (oof) and I think they were all well-done. Fingers crossed for this one… the Tommy & Lefebvre ski sale ends on December 26 and I really want to buy myself a pair with my new massive raise.

Running-wise, well… I was SUPPOSED to go to the Buffet des Continents with my cousin and family on Monday as I will be ditching them at Christmas to be in New Jersey. My dad is very reluctant to accept change, so we ended up at Swiss Chalet (all you can eat buffet vs. 500 calorie rotisserie chicken meal). In preparation for this massive meal, I decided to just “go for it” and run 5 miles. At the end of the day, I’d run 5.3 miles and had done an arm workout. It felt amazing and I was just cranking out the miles nae problem. The only issue was my left knee into my fifth mile. Something to watch out for, but I think some leg strengthening will help with that.

I didn’t run yesterday as I’d only gotten 5.5 hours of sleep the night before and was just in a bad emotional state. Usually I run in those situations, but I was SO exhausted. I was sitting on the couch at 8 pm and was violently shaking from being so cold/tired. My muscles couldn’t even function properly. It was quite distressing, actually. I went straight to bed and woke up today at the usual time (6:15 am). I feel much better today. Unfortunately, I have a work lunch so can’t run then and a spray tan after work. Yes, yes, a dumb reason to not run, but I really can’t sweat/shower for a few hours after a tan! Perhaps I will let it sink in and go for my run around 9 pm tonight. We’ll see!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stressed Strides

I hit the treadmill again yesterday after taking a few days off from running due to the ankle nonsense. Pushed out a little over 3 miles in under 30:00 (don't know the time for sure as the minutes display on my treadmill was broken). Definitely felt good and gave me some energy to get through the day.

Due to only getting 6 hours of sleep on Sunday night and 5.5 hours of sleep last night, I've decided to skip today's workout and reserve that energy for my brain. Law exam tomorrow and geography exam on Friday. Feeling confident about the former, but the latter is a bit daunting. Luckily for me, I have a very good idea of what to expect on the final in terms of lecture content, so I'm hoping to narrow the scope of my lectures down to what's required. My goal for that course is just to pass it. So far, I have about a B in the class, so it's not like I'm teetering on the brink of pass/fail, but exams still stress me out nonetheless.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Game Over

So, in a disappointing turn, my ankle was in horrendous pain for 24 hours straight. It was so bad that even my massage therapist said that my tendon and surrounding areas were "as hard as a rock". To put it in perspective, for the past year, the pain that I obviously felt on a fairly regular basis was not easy to detect in a physical form on my tendon. There'd be some "knot" areas on the tendon, but it'd usually be okay after a session. This time, it was brutal and I could REALLY feel the pain. Something was definitely going on. Serves me right for not using my brace, I suppose, but it officially meant the end of my AMRWR :(

I took two days off from any exercise and hit the gym yesterday while at the Hyatt Regency in Reston, VA. It's hard to not want to work out there as their gym is kind of amazing. The boyfriend was willing to join me this time, so that was a major bonus! I brought some of my geography notes down to the gym with me and tried to make it through a really awful lecture on global economics. I spent 30 min doing that and burning around 300 calories on the elliptical, and then we quickly did some medicine ball ab work. I'm so proud of my boyfriend for really taking steps forward in his workouts. He was super gung ho for our quick weights session (I had bet him that I'd be ready by 8 pm for dinner, so I was definitely NOT risking that by doing an extra set of bicep curls!). He even was keeping up a 6.5 mph pace for a bit on the elliptical. Obviously different than the treadmill, but I was hovering around 5.5-6.0 the whole 30 min so he was sort of beating me. And so it beginnnnns... must not show him the ways of the runners! I will be de-throned as the "good runner" fairly easily.

Quick workout in the living room with ma doggie motivating me before dinner with the South African cousin visiting!

Cheerio! xx

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 8 Wall

So after yesterday's amazing run, I was gutted to feel the twinge in my ankle creep back in during today's easy workout. Shame on me for not using my brace again, but I figured that it's time to wean myself off it (if possible) and build up my ankle muscles again. I don't know if it even would've made a difference, though. I squeezed out 1.1 miles (with the last 0.3 miles being super sore) and then went back to work. On the way home from work, I detoured to my regular gym to do a weights session which felt alright, though the calf raises were brutal. I've "iced" (used a frozen bag of fries) my tendon and added heat to the muscle bellies of my calves, hoping that'll loosen things up. Definitely trying to book in half an hour tomorrow with my massage therapist to see if this thing can be worked out. I'm almost a third finished! THIS WILL NOT BE MY DEMISE.

That said, I ran almost 15 miles this week, so I'm happy with that (considering there were at least two days where I barely made it past a mile).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

0 to 5 in 26:03

Yesterday was Day 6 of my AMRWRS and I decided to do a "tougher" workout at lunch at work. Given that my evenings are going to be sucked up by studies from now until Dec 16, I really don't have much time to do a long cardio or weights session, so I figured I'd try to burn as many calories as possible in a short amount of time. Bolstered by the fact that Sunday's 2.3 miles felt amazing even up to 7 mph and back down again, I decided to do something wacky and go for 6.0-7.5 and back down (giving me a grand total of 3 miles). I realized around the 18:00 mark that I was WELL on my way to setting a new treadmill PR. I was well into my third and final mile at that point and just decided to give it my all, so I cranked it up from 6.5 to 7.0, then 7.5, then eventually 9.0 for that last stretch. I did my best to break 26:00 but fell short by 3 whole seconds :( Next time!

The run felt absolutely amazing and I was just stunned at how far along my cardio has come since surgery. I'm better than I was BEFORE surgery. That being said, I did feel a bit of pain in my internal surgery spot that I'm keeping an eye on... but I felt good. Legs felt good, tendons felt good... this challenge has just been amazing for me. Two more 3 mile runs and I've hit 20 miles per week without even trying (which is big for me!). I thought 20 mpw was a far-away goal, but I've definitely realized it's closer than I thought!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 4 - Making Strides

Yesterday I knew I had loads to do. I got home from Washington and was met by two rooms full of boxes that required unpacking. My boyfriend convinced me to set up the modem right away so we could talk since he's stranded in the crashpad. I had a few modem issues that eventually led to a tech support call which resolved the issue.

This challenge has been a blessing in disguise, really. Yesterday and Saturday were two days that I definitely never would've stepped foot on the treadmill if I hadn't had to do this. Yesterday I was just completely exhausted and overwhelmed, but I knew I had to go work out, so I squeezed in some time before groceries. I ended up doing 2.3 miles, starting at 6.0 and increasing to 7.0 and back down again. I had energy throughout the whole thing and by the time I finished my second mile, I was ready for a repeat! I normally would but I figured I needed to preserve my energy for this week and I really did need groceries.

Speaking of groceries... they're expensive. Especially that "first buy" for the new place. Like holy crap.

Anyway, off to sort and then out to the gym for another workout! Happy rainy Monday, folks!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Days 2 & 3

Soooo Day 2 and 3 of my AMRWRS (yes, I truly feel that this acronym will stick).

Day 2

I don't know what in the hell was up with me yesterday. I find that when I'm under a lot of pressure, I tend to just shut down and not want to do a single thing when about a billion things need to be done. Of course my mind is still thinking about it, so I'm stressed, but I'm not actually doing anything.

I essentially licked (yes, licked) an entire bag's worth of potato chips and then went to bed for 2 hours with my doggie. I didn't actually sleep, so I just lay in bed for 2 hours thinking about how I should be running and/or studying and/or packing. Ridiculous, right? In the end, I ended up getting up around 10:00 pm and going for a run. Believe it or not, the seasoning from Sweet Chili and Sour Cream chips, some homemade low fat brownie, and 24 McCain fries act as wonderful fuel. I had a very solid 3.1 mile run. I honestly could've kept going, but knowing that the movers were coming bright and early in the morning and that I had 29 consecutive days of running ahead of me, I decided not to go all out. I picked up some turkey pepperoni pizza on the way home (can't beat it.. Toppers Pizza... 131 cals/slice in a small) and snuggled into bed with my girly wirly.

Day 3

Today I moved into the new home. Knowing that my parents would insist on continuing to clean the place top to bottom and that I was really no use at assembling the transferred furniture, I just decided to skip town and see my boyfriend (true story). I had some McDonald's chicken which was sort of regrettable in the nutrition category, but made up for it with a salad at the airport.

I was planning on doing a tough run today since I knew that the hotel we were staying at in Washington had a killer gym. We took our usual nap, but some post-nap activities ate up most of my gym time. With dinner reservations at 8:30 pm in Fairfax, I literally only had enough time for my required mile. I went down and ran a relatively fast mile (0.15 mi for wu/cd added), and just did a few reps of weights before going to dinner.

Killed my stomach with Texas de Brazil. So much for the healthy eating thing :( Unfortunately, my stomach has warned me that it is just NOT ready for unhealthy food and I had a repeat episode of a terrible stomachache that I'd had last weekend in New Jersey after indulging in the sorta mother in law's cheesecake. I can literally feel the bile shooting into my stomach which is an awful and strange feeling. I guess it's very good incentive to get my shiz together for healthy eating.

Either way, that was my mile down and I've successfully completed my 3 consecutive days!

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's Fry-day, Fry-day, Gotta Get Down on Fry-Day!

I was listening to Real Radio Scotland at work (as usual) and one of the contests being held at the moment is sponsored by a potato company. I've been craving potatoes ever since I heard the commercial, so I made some of my delicious McCain fries. They look and nearly taste the same as McDonald's fries but without the extra grease (which is good... my stomach isn't 100% after surgery still) and waaaay fewer calories. I believe for 54 fries it's around 150-200 calories? It's amazing. When you count how many fries half a plate is, it still doesn't even get close to 54 so I'm well pleased that my fry craving can easily be satisfied! This is also another reason my boyfriend can't wait to move in... I can make fries, burgers, chicken parmesan, buffalo chicken burgers, wings, etc. "healthy" meals all under 500 calories. Really, I give all of my credit to President's Choice and their amazing Blue Menu options. I don't know what I'd do if I had to move to the States and give up PC products :( Instead of me raiding the US border to go shopping, I'd be raiding the Canadian one and coming back with a trunk full of frozen meals.

Anyway, for running-related stuff...

Yesterday was Day 1 of Anne's Modification of the Runner's World Run Streak (or AMRWRS, if you will). I managed to pump out a quick 3.0 mile run before heading off to Boston Pizza to do some studying (run was followed up with a spinach salad w/ grilled chicken and sundried tomato vinaigrette. Mmm). Since I don't have such rigid time constraints tonight as it's a Friday, I'm planning for a 0.5 -1.0 mile warm-up, then an upper body weight session, followed by 30 min on the elliptical and another 1.0 mile cooldown. I'm hoping to print out a slideshow or two from my 3rd year geography class that I've been ignoring since September in favour for a first year law class (seriously... I lose my perspective sometimes) and study on the elliptical like the "good" ol' days of ATC training.

Back to non-running stuff...

Our house is nearly ready! Movers are coming tomorrow to finally move my crap from my parents' house. It's going to be an emotional day. I have lived on my own before, but when I moved to Toronto, I had a furnished apartment as I was literally day-to-day with ATC training and didn't want to buy a bunch of stuff for an apartment that I may potentially be moving out of before the stuff is even delivered! My boyfriend and I's place is going to be 100% our stuff. It's scary, good, scary good, good scary.... and expensive. Hopefully by next week everything has settled and I can start being normal... just in time to study for exams! At least I'm basically half a mile from my gym!