Thursday, January 26, 2012


Okay, so quite a few updates... here goes!


Wednesday called for 3 miles pace and a hot yoga session with Tony Greco. If you don't know Tony Greco (and you won't unless you live in Ottawa or pay very, very close attention to personal trainers in People magazine... he was the trainer of she-who-shall-not-be-named), he's a personal trainer who started a chain of gyms in Ottawa and is famous for conditioning pro-athletes, mainly members of the Ottawa Senators and a few other Sens traitors who married country singer whores. Sorry, I don't know where that came from. Anyway, he was doing a hot yoga seminar on Wednesday at the newly opened yoga studio in Centretown/Little Italy. It was $20 (most yoga drop-in fees around here are $15-16), which included mat rental, towel rental, a t-shirt, and a Fuze juice at the end. It was actually shockingly worth the price... Greco's is notorious for charging a fortune.

So, I show up and right away I should've put two and two together: the studio was in Centretown and it was Greco's. It's not quite Westboro or New Edinburgh on the hipster scale, but it's up there. There were certainly way more yoga aficionados than I expected. Decked out in their lululemon gear and being all stretchy. Damn them. And of course, the Greco's part... well, Greco's just attracts the elitists. When the class is actually taught by Tony Greco himself? Yeah, it's way elite.

I start noticing some minor Ottawa celebrities trickling in. Someone from a local news channel. Pierre Poilievre also showed up. He was the MPP for Ottawa South (which includes Barrhaven) at one point and is now an MP (Member of Parliament) in the House of Commons. Sort of like a Senator, to those US blog readers. Very odd doing hot yoga with a government official. What's even odder is that he's not French.

So you go in this room and it was like, a billion degrees. I noticed it was hard to breathe from the start. The class was crowded which I think took away some of the positive effects, but it made it harder for Tony to pick me out as being the class moron/inflexible non-hipster scum. He added a bit of cardio to this session, which is just absolutely ridiculous. The room is 100F (literally)... I don't need to go for a run in that with 30 other sweaty people. Pushups galore. Sit-ups. My toes started cramping from this downward dog thing. My hamstrings were tight as anything. I loved the sweat dripping off me though and feeling my muscles really stretch. Somewhere in the midst of all this, I realize that he looks and sounds exactly like Ronnie from Jersey Shore and therefore I just can't take him seriously anymore.


"I want you to just focus... breathe deeply... relax"

The class began to wind down and Tony starts saying that we're going to meditate (aka lay on our backs and fall asleep) for 10 minutes. So I start chilling and he starts saying "Listen to the sound of my voice". I'm about to lose it. He's got this strange Italian mobster/Staten Island/Jersey Shore/guido accent that I just can't pinpoint, but either way, the relaxing pretty much ended at that point.

All in all, I'd do hot yoga again. I'll probably try it in Barrhaven since it's a little closer to home, but it was worth the experience.

Oh, and I did the 3 mile pace run too.


Today I'd volunteered to sub on my supervisor's ball hockey team in the Ottawa Sport & Social Club (OSSC). I've been meaning to join it - particularly the dodgeball league - but keep missing the deadlines. It was another 3 mile run today, but I figured I would just do the ball hockey and take it easy. We played for an hour and it was relatively intense, despite the small gym. The problem with playing ball hockey in a rec league in Canada is that the rec players really aren't rec players. I'm really, really awful at ball hockey. Especially non-contact ball hockey. Hip checking is all I have! There are people in that league who grew up playing hockey... probably 90% of the people playing either currently play hockey, or once did. It's just a Canadian thing. I unfortunately suck. Oh well, it was a workout.

On the way back from the school that we played at, I decided to stop in at Snap and crank out my 3 miles while watching the NHL All Star Fantasy Draft. Midway through the miles, I then decided that it would be a good night for a leg workout. Why I thought that was a good idea, I have no clue. Either way, I did squats, lunges, hip ab/adductor stuff, calf raises, and some other crap until my legs screamed at me to quit the torture. I obliged. My whole body is a wreck now after working out 6 days straight. A good wreck. But a wreck.

Lastly, I've held you all to the end of this to explain the title of the post. In a previous entry, I'd written that I thought I was eating well, until I realized how many desserts I actually eat in a day. Not a lot of desserts, or pick portions, but a Timbit here, half a cookie there, a bit of muffin, a sliver of cake. I love my sweets. Well, I realized that those little bits here and there are adding unneeded calories and sugar to an otherwise healthy diet. Until at least my cousin's wedding (and except for perhaps a small slice of birthday cake), I've given up desserts. The only thing I've eaten resembling a dessert is a frozen yogurt pop that's 90 calories and 7g of sugar. Given that a Nature Valley bar has more calories and sugar than that, I'm letting it pass the test.

But that's it! No more work muffins or splitting desserts with family/friends. It's over!!! I WILL TRIUMPH!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Flopping Like a Fish

Let me give you a back story to Anne and Swimming. I used to be a competitive swimmer and water polo player... and I hated running. I would do sports like soccer and basketball, but really despised any drill that involved loads of running. With waterpolo, I cranked out laps like there was no tomorrow. We basically did just a ton of freestyle (head up and normal) so I got fast enough to be competitive in that stroke and I got picked up by a local competitive swim team (in addition to the water polo team I played for). I dreamed of being an Olympic swimmer until I was stopped dead in my tracks... at age 14, I was required to swim a minimum of 6 times a week. Given that the practices were in the morning or evening (you could pick them), I figured this wasn't so bad. By the time I was 16 though, I was required to do a minimum of 10-12 practices a week. 2 hours of swimming per practice, morning and night. Forget it. I quit competitive swimming and my water polo days also drew to a close when I started getting bruised bones and emerged from the water bleeding from various places after a shift. No fun. I basically gave up swimming altogether after the competitiveness ruined the sport for me... the nail was in the coffin when I tore my peroneal in 2007 and the motion of flutterkick was agony.

Fast forward to 2012 and I'm back in the pool. I can't remember the last time I went to Walter Baker for the purpose of actually doing a lane swim, but it must've been a while ago because they've managed to renovate the renovations. Unfortunately the one massive downside to being the only sports complex in Barrhaven (Sportsplex doesn't really count since it's outside of Barrhaven's borders) for the better part of 40 years is that over those 40 years, Barrhaven has gotten HUGE. The pool was jam packed. I remember adult swims being a lot quieter. To be fair, there was an Aquafit class on until 8:30 pm and the deep pool was being taken up by synchronized swimmers. Even the shallow pool was closed because they were short on lifeguards. So maybe it was a bit of a skewed evening, but it was busy nonetheless. I took a glance up to the exercise room that overlooks the pool area. I ran my first real mile up there. It was a bit of a touching moment, really.

I started in the "fast" lane. I figured I probably still had it in me. At the risk of sounding racist, there were a lot of slow-moving Asians there, so the slow/medium lanes were out anyway. I figured a 2000m swim would be doable in 45 minutes. I did about 2 laps before huffing and puffing and feeling a huge burn in my arms. Am I really this out of shape? But I run 26:00 5Ks! This can't be! I was like a 200 lb whale when I swam before. I guess whales are good swimmers, after all...

I swam for about 30 minutes, alternating different strokes. The 400m IM plan went out the window. I just did whatever I could struggle through. It was humiliating. I got lapped by a bald fat guy. I gave in at about 8:40 pm. I'd had it. I started making my way to the changeroom and then took a glance at the now-free portion of the pool that the Aquafit people had been using. Maybe I could go for a run...

I sometimes do shallow water running when I'm at WBSC, but since the shallow pool was closed, it hadn't crossed my mind to try it elsewhere. It went well, for about the first 10 metres. The 25m pool at WBSC starts shallow for the first 10 metres (about 3-4 ft), and then steadily drops to about 7ft midway through the pool, then in the last 4-5 metres, it rises back to a depth of around 4 ft. In my 10 metres of 7 ft water, I basically looked like a dying fish. I didn't know what the hell I was doing. I don't do deep water running and it sure as hell sounded a lot easier than it was! I could only do what felt something like a cross between kicking and running. I wasn't quite sure what the point of it was, but dammit, it was better than nothing. I completed about 6 laps of this, which was a really big feat because it took a solid 2 minutes to get across the pool. I could see the lifeguard eyeing me, unsure if I was a distressed non-swimmer, or just a moron. I assured him it was the latter.

I tip-toed (NB: bring flip flops) back to the changerooms after my little session. I'm still questioning whether or not I got a true cross-training night in. I did do about 40 minutes of activity, and I've always found it hard to gauge whether or not I'm having a tough workout in a pool because you can't really tell if you're sweating, so I'll call it a mediocre win. I have higher hopes of tomorrow hot power/hot yoga/hot pilates/hot martial arts session with one of the Senators trainers in Little Italy. I may give the swimming thing a go again, but will perhaps try the Sportsplex (though, Walter Baker has always been "my place"). I figure there are so many cross training activities for me to try that I might have to keep swimming a non-regular thing. I just wasn't "feeling it" the way I used to. I'm a bit disappointed that the fire wasn't re-ignited.

Up on the docket tomorrow is a 3 mile pace run, as per Week 2-2, plus the aforementioned 1.5 hours of death. I don't even know how to dress for yoga. This is going to be a spectacle and a half...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Aw, Shoe-t

I suppose this will be a positive and negative blog post. I’ll start with the good…

I completed Week 3 (aka Week 2-1) of half marathon training this week, and I’m steadily on schedule to complete Week 4 (2-2). The current schedule is working out just fine so far. I did an extra x-train day yesterday (Sunday), which was a scheduled rest day, but it was just an upper body workout with no cardio, so it shouldn’t have a negative impact on running. In fact, the only thing that seems to be negatively impacting my running is my diet. I’ve had far too many “cheat days”. I was hardcore frustrated a few nights ago that I really just felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere in this “shaping up” process. I’ve lost about 5 lbs over the course of a year (and really, that was only triggered by getting an organ removed). I thought I was doing everything possible to lose weight – after all, I eat healthy ALL the time… right? I noticed last week that in one day, I had 4 desserts. If you know me, you know I enjoy a good smorgasbord vs. one big piece of something, so it was half a cookie from a guy in the office, half a muffin, a small slice of (rich) cake, and a few pieces of chocolate. I’ve also had an insatiable onion ring craving, so even 10 of those is a massive setback. My mileage has barely increased right now… I’m probably burning an extra 500 calories/week at most and just can’t afford to have 4 desserts in one day… even if they’re little ones! I’m hoping to become a bit more aware of my eating, especially with my cousin’s wedding 2 weeks away. One massive advantage of going to Scotland for a wedding is hill running! I think that might offset some of the wedding cake.

On to the negatives… the shoes. As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought a new pair of Saucony Progrid Echelons last week. They’re the exact same as the ones I currently own, so I figured they wouldn’t have any issues. I took them for a spin on my long run on Saturday and was shocked to feel that my left foot felt like it was halfway over the sole of the shoes, spilling out into the narrow arch area. Basically, the inner wall of the shoe was supporting my arch (rather than the shoe). I hadn’t realized that over a year, I’d broken in my shoes to the point that I was running on the inside of it, and not the actual shoe. I also became hyper-aware of the outer part of my right foot (where the pinky toe is) was pressing against the side of the shoe. I realized that this just wasn’t going to fly and I either needed a wide, or a different shoe. Unfortunately the Running Room doesn’t carry wides in 10.5 mens in the Echelon. The guy at the store suggested I bring them back and try out a New Balance one (which I think I tried and didn’t like last year) and an Asics one. If there’s still no luck in there, then they’ll order me a wide.

Here’s my major dilemma:
I had orthotics prescribed to me a few months ago. I tried them out and the left one is definitely just way too strong. I gave up and just continued running in my neutral shoes with only inserts akin to Smart Feet in my shoes. My peroneal injury has gotten WAY better since I stopped running with orthotics (I had older orthotics that I ran in up until 2010). I get “creaky” here and there (sometimes tight calves or glutes), but I haven’t had a nagging injury that’s put me out of commission in almost 2 years.

Do I get my orthotics fixed and THEN buy a new pair of shoes? Or, do I just give up on getting orthotics that work (it’s taken 5+ years to find anything and nothing’s been successful), and maybe look at more supportive shoes?

I’m going to give the orthotics one last try since they felt “almost” right. If there’s no dice, it’s time to retry stabilizing shoes!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Bringing It

Tomorrow's long run will be the conclusion of Week 2-1. I can't believe how quickly training is progressing. With all this treadmill running, I'm actually really looking forward to March (or April... hopefully March) and getting back out on the roads. I'm hoping by then I will also be the proud owner of a Garmin Forerunner 305, but it's getting tougher to find a decently priced one. The cheapest I'm seeing north of the border is $250, and south of the border it's $199. Rumour has it that Costco is selling them for $150, but I don't have a membership so I'll have to see if someone is willing to go for me before it's too late.

Made a few purchases recently in terms of workout gear. The biggest was a new pair of Saucony ProGrid Echelon 2s. These are the same ones I've been running in for a good 1.5-2 years and, while they're not quite perfect in terms of foot shape, they've kept my injury rate going on a steady decline. I didn't realize just how badly I needed a new pair until I took a look at the treads on my shoes and compared them to the new pair at the store. Eesh.

My second "major" purchase was two more pairs of the Saucony Ignite split shorts. Split shorts are hit-and-miss with runners, particularly females. They're very short and they expose right up to your liner line mid-stride. I love them because they give me a lot of freedom of motion and don't bunch up in the front like other styles do, but they're not great if you're self-conscious about showing a little too much leg. I really only consider these a major purchase because I had to ship them to Ogdensburg, NY. I literally could not find one Canadian retailer who carried them through the winter (Running Room had them, but only in the summer), and every US store I tried refused to ship to Canada. So, it's a great deal, but I do need to drive 45 minutes to get there. Still, they were nearly $40 when I bought my pair in-store, and they were $19.99 each this time around, so even with a bit of gas money and the bridge toll, I'm still getting my savings in!

Ta-ta for now!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The good thing about going to work for 5:00 am is that by 6:00 am, you only have 6 hours to go (I'm working through "lunch" to get the heck out of here before this snowstorm gets any worse). I'm conflicted about these days where I have to drop the SO off at the airport to catch his 6:00 am flight. On one hand, it gets me done early, there's no traffic, and my siesta time starts when people are taking their lunch breaks... on the other hand, I'm freezing, my eyes are droopy, and my muscles feel like they've been working on overdrive and it's a hassle to even walk across the room... It's not even the 4:00 am wakeup that bothers me... it's the fact that we're 2-for-2 on attending Ottawa Senators games the night before one of these 4:00 am days... Last night we both resolved to spending one entire day at the house with zero plans. Well, zero plans except for my long run.

I shockingly nearly stayed on schedule this weekend. I kicked my long run over to Sunday instead of Saturday, which left me in fear that the rest of the week wouldn't work but it seems to be unfolding nicely. I likely won't be able to do the Sat/Sun flip for long runs as time progresses (without really messing up stuff), as I had to run 4 miles Sun ("long" run), 3 miles yesterday, x-train today, 3 miles tempo tomorrow, 3 miles on Thursday. Luckily today is my x-training day, so it will be elliptical at, like, 1 mph. After a very, very long nap.

Already onto Week 2-1... yikes. Last week's mileage total was a fairly decent 13 miles (if you include Sunday as "last week"). This week will be 14 miles, plus a tempo run.. but I always end up running at near-tempo pace when I'm doing 3 milers. They're too short for me to get into that zoned out frame of mind, so I just want them over ASAP, which always makes me run them too fast. Yesterday I ran about a 29:00 3 miles and that was my slowest all week, and that was 90% due to the fact I had just run a long run the day before, and my work gym has no fans or air circulation, and had 8-9 people in it (it's not very large in the first place). It was a good 25-30C with a humidex factor in there I'm sure.

Anne x

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Truffle Shuffle

So, I'm on Week 1-2 of Hal Higdon's Novice II plan. Thanks to my inability to go to bed on time, I had to slightly shuffle my schedule this week so as not to run on 5 hours of sleep.

Tuesday was a 3 miler at lunch. Laboured, kinda shitty. Resolved to attempting to wear orthotics on the next run.

Tonight (Thursday) was another 3 miler (I have one more 3, then 4 on Sat or Sun). It went far better than Tuesday's run. I ran about two thirds of a mile in my orthotics before having to switch to my regular insoles. Some muscles/tendons/whatever were tight in my left ankle, but tight as in "never been used". I'm wondering if it's an issue with the orthotics, or just my feet finally getting the support they need and my stride changing. Either way, I plan to try out the orthotics again, but probably just use them for a warm-up/cool-down session before weights, or at the end of a run. The fatigue in those rarely used muscles nagged me for the rest of the 3 miles. I finished strong though, with my remaining 2.3 miles (after I stopped to switch insoles) clocking in at 20:41.

It looks like I'll be hitting up Staples for some more calendars. I was a bit presumptuous and, in my excitement of registered for the Ottawa HM, wrote out my ENTIRE running plan on a calendar. Little did I know that only a week into training, I wanted to change my program.

Right now, it looks like this:
Sunday: Cross Train
Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 3 miles (all weeks)
Wednesday: 3-5 miles tempo
Thursday: 3-4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: LSR (4-12 miles)

I'm not the biggest fan of running 3 days in a row when I'm only running 4 days a week. I'm injury prone and I think that the 3 days straight, with a tempo run right in the middle, is just asking for fatigue/overtraining. I'm doing a bit of a shuffle, so my weeks will look like this:
Sunday: Rest
Monday: 3 miles
Tuesday: Cross Train
Wednesday: 3-5 miles tempo
Thursday: 3-4 miles
Friday: Rest
Saturday: LSR

Very similar, same mileage, but makes more sense for me. Sundays are generally a hectic travel day for me so they end up being my "rest by default" day. I would like to start doing some swimming for cross-training, but the adult swims I want to go to are on Tuesdays, so it seemed to just match up well. The only thing would be if I was to have to do my LSR on a Sunday, it would screw up the rest of the week, but I think I'd just do a switcheroo, as long as I fit the run in somehow.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taking a Breather...

Hopefully this isn't a sign of things to come, but I'm already slacking on my first week of half marathon training. To be fair, I did complete all of my runs except the long run (probably to Hal Higdon's chagrin). I had a very good plan of attending tonight's Senators game and then hitting the gym afterwards with my cousin. The game ended at 7:45 pm, so going for a 9:00ish workout wasn't completely out of the question. Unfortunately, it seems the Philadelphia Flyers make me sick. Literally. For those of you who don't know my NHL history, the first time I went to a Senators game, it was against the Flyers back in the 90s. We lost 5-0 and I got sick from the Coke/food from the game on the bus ride home. Tonight the score was MUCH more in our favour (6-4 Senators), but I did spent the majority of the bus ride home being nauseous and it took about an hour for the nausea to finally subside once I did get home. Luckily I started my training early and this was Week 1 after all, with the long run being only 4 miles, so it wasn't a major hit. I get to repeat Week 1 again this week and it seems like the schedule works fairly well for it. The in-laws are coming to town, so I feel that 4 mile run will happen (possibly with a one-hour weight session, one-hour yoga, and 2-hour spin to follow... hey, gotta train for my marathon).

Expect more updates from me this week. It's "back to school" (or back to video-on-demand) for me, so of course that means more blog updates and generally web time-wasting going on.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

It's On

I’m doing it! The Ottawa Half Marathon.

While at work yesterday, I was checking out some Hal Higdon plans and realized, hey he has a Novice II plan! I was a bit nervous about jumping into the half marathon because the Intermediate program was a bit too much for me (and my ankle), but the novice was just toooo novice. This one is perfect… the mileage for most of the week ranges between 3 and 5 miles per run, excluding the long run (which starts at 4 miles in the first week and goes up to 12 miles in the last week). It’s a 12-week program, but because the race is in May and I have a busted ankle, I’ve decided to turn it into a 22-week program. I’m repeating each week (Week 1-1, 1-2, 2-1, 2-2), so I can build up my mileage relatively slowly. I think the training only peaks at 25 mpw anyway so it’s not an intense program, but this scheduling seems to work perfectly. The scheduled “5K race day” actually falls on March 17 this year… St Patrick’s Day! There will definitely be a race that day! I’m excited.

I’m all paid up and Week 1-1 was officially this week! It’s going to be amazing. Very excited and plan to keep everyone posted on each day of training! Given the fact that my half race time in 2007 (on a very fresh tendon injury) was 3:30something, the fact that I plan to beat my old time by over an hour is awesome. I look forward to taking my training to the next level and look even more forward to documenting the results!

They’ve changed the course since the last time I ran it, so I’m interested to see how this goes. I’m slightly disappointed as the canal route was great. For those who don’t know Ottawa, the canal is absolutely gorgeous, and even more beautiful in May during the Tulip Festival. The new route takes us through hipster town (Westboro) and over to the dingy Quebec side. Running across the bridges might be kind of interesting, though. Not sure why they had to change the route… I do recall though that the last half course involved going up a set of stairs (from the road that runs along the canal up onto a bridge) and doing a loop through an NCC parking lot. Here’s the course map:


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Wall

Yesterday was going to be a 4 mile song interval session at the gym with 6.0-6.5-7.0 intervals. Unfortunately, by the 2nd mile, my legs were just dragging. I pumped out 3 miles (which was all I could do time-wise as I had a dinner date with my cousin and had to get home and shower before the restaurant actually closed). The whole session was a bit discouraging as I had attempted a run on Sunday as well, and my legs were just not working then either (though, that was after Saturday’s long run). Some changes are required…

  • In terms of running, I’ve resolved to vary each run and put it under a specific category. LSR (long, slow run), easy, normal intervals, hard intervals/sprints, tempo. I may not get to run 5 times/week and use up all the categories, but I’ve figured that in order to improve and also not tire myself out, there needs to be some framework around which I build my workouts.
  • Cross training. I honestly have a very difficult time trying to force myself to cross train, but at least once a week, I do want to step on the elliptical. Even if I warm up or cool down on the treadmill (or do a 30 min/30 min split between the machines), I need to train muscles that aren’t being used while I run. I’m on the hunt for a spin class.

I’m looking into Greco Lean & Fit for strength training. I’m worried that the whole program will be a massive money suck, but I did notice that kettlebell programs are offered, which would be pretty cool. For those non-Ottawans, Greco’s started out in Barrhaven (and I have a few friends who started with the original karate class – at the time, the owner, Tony Greco, mainly did martial arts). Greco’s has expanded to a few locations in Ottawa, but Tony is most known for training the Ottawa Senators for their off-ice workouts, and most notably, my ex-future husband, Mike Fisher. I’m super jealous of the friends that got to hang out with him at the gym. Either way, the location is right by our house and offers 6:00-6:45 am classes that I could take en route to work in the morning (also has 3:00 pm classes that I can’t imagine will be full).

Just hoping the classes aren’t TOO full with all those New Years Resolutioners…

And in race news…

  1. Perth Kilt Run. I’m almost 100% certain that the BF and I will be running the Perth Kilt Run this year ( It’s 5 miles, which is a good distance to train for (shorter than a 10K, but a bit longer than a 5K), and it supports an MS charity, which is near and dear to the BF’s family.

  1. Ottawa Race Weekend. The ½ Marathon and 10K are open right now (both sell out fairly quickly every year). I’m certain I will be running one of them, but hesitant to pick one and then regret it later. I would really like to run the half and I know I’ll kill my old time by at least an hour (3:30 half marathon… yay for 200 lb, out-of-shape Anne who decided to run a half marathon after not running for 1-2 years and doing a 2 mile “training run” the day before the race and thinking it was a “good idea”). At the same time, I am a bit very injury prone, and while I feel comfortable running a beginner-to-intermediate running plan and preparing for the race, I’m worried that the increase in mileage may result in some ankle failure. Also, I prefer evening races and the 10K takes place Saturday night vs. Sunday morning for the half. Guess we will have to see!

Planning on a legs and core session at lunch today, then an “easy” 4 miler after work. Tomorrow will be a cross-training day.