Sunday, February 26, 2012

You think YOUR commute sucks?

Well, this weekend was pretty much a disaster. Let's start with running news.


That's my news. This bronchitis is really taking its toll on me. I ran for about 4 minutes on Friday but I could feel wheezing in my chest and I knew I wasn't there yet. This isn't an average flu, and it's hard to keep that in mind when I'm in the midst of half marathon training. I've learned my lesson too many times about pushing myself when I'm not well or injured, so I immediately got off the treadmill. I went to do some weights but I think the run had me freaked out a bit and I just left. I've lost almost 7 lbs since Scotland and, while I admit my eating has been admirable in that I haven't overdone it or got into the "I'm on a break, might as well take a break from healthy eating" mindset, I know a big portion of it is muscle loss. I look killer in my jeans and tops right now, but when I sit down, I feel my butt is just a little more cushy than I remember. I'm planning on doing some light lifting and hoping it doesn't aggravate the situation. I feel stupid in running so much in Scotland when I clearly wasn't well. I think it made the bronchitis worse and is therefore making the healing worse. The fate of me and my half are up in the air at the moment. May have to shoot for a fall run, which is fine by me... I prefer summer training anyway!

Okay, so NRR:

I f***ing hate my boyfriend's job some days. Honestly. Do you know the swiss cheese theory? It's a little theory that's used in Safety & Quality and is used a lot in accident investigations. Basically, imagine you have about, oh, 10 slices of swiss cheese layered on top of each other. If you look at it from the side, you probably won't see through the holes because the chances of them lining up are extremely slim. But do this a few thousand times, and probably one of those times, all those holes will line up. This is what happened this weekend. The boyfriend has cut most ties with Dallas, but he did have to get his FAA medical there this week. Of course he left it to the last minute so it HAD to be this week. He changed his schedule so we'd have the weekend at home together (Fri-Sun) as opposed to his original (Thurs-Sat). What he didn't realize was that a snowstorm was tearing through Chicago on Thursday, and hitting Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal on Friday. Flights became a disaster. It was a crapshoot on where to go. Pretty much every city from Chicago east was affected by this system, whether it be snow, winds, rain, or all three. Cancellations galore. He decided to take the DFW-ORD-YYZ-YOW route. Long, but YYZ is a good bet to get to Ottawa. For starters, there's 15 flights a day (vs 3 from IAD and 4 from ORD), they're bigger planes, and Air Canada will fly in just about anything. Even with a few cancellations, he was likely to get on. Except for this week. Noooo, this week was one of those *dreaded* weeks for travel in Canada... it was university reading week. Of course, I should've known since it's MY Reading Week... but being a part-time student now, it's not really as significant as I still had to go to work for 9 hours/day every day during RW. The flights were a mess. On top of that, Air Canada's booking system crashed, so when he did get to YYZ, he couldn't get on the planes because he couldn't list. Gate agents were useless. Hotels were full. I squeezed him into a room for him to try on Saturday. He gets up, and every Ottawa flight for the day is full. So I suggest Montreal... and then I look outside and it's snowing/blizzarding like nothing on Earth. Crap. I can't drive to Montreal. Trains were at bad times (he'd get home at 5 pm). Okay so.... go to Newark and visit his mom instead of coming home. Newark had high winds and got a 2 hour delay. Okay so... go to Dulles and figure it out from there. He goes. As he's flying, I decide that I would take the plunge and fly to Dulles and meet him. It's a hotel and it's not home and he's frustrated and tired and I'm frustrated and tired but dammit, I am NOT going 4 weeks without my boyfriend. I booked him at a hotel and I grabbed the 7:30 pm to Dulles. Which was, of course, delayed. I didn't get in until 10:30 pm. We got dinner/drinks and relaxed. And then we realized that every flight to Montreal and Ottawa for today (Sunday) was full. Crap. So much for us sleeping in. I had to get up at 6:30 am to make an Ottawa flight and hope for a seat. Of course, delayed. I eventually hopped on a Montreal flight, took the plane to Montreal, took a bus to downtown Montreal, and took a train to Ottawa. Soooo we probably spent a combined 60 hours trying to see each other for 8 hours.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is true love right here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Would you like tea or coughy?

So, I was really really excited to run in Scotland. Really excited. It was forecasted to be about 10C for the week, my Forerunner 210 was charged up, the hills beckoned... it was going to be a good trip.

Going to be.

My first day there, I was a bit tired from the flight, so I took a nap. It was my birthday, so we ordered in some takeaway (Indian) and I had Costa Coffee with my cousin at Tesco. A very British start to my vacation. Figured I would get up and run on Friday.

I did, and it was 2 miles of me going "shit I'm out of shape". Loads of hills, loads of heaving. In my previous post, I said I felt better later on that week. Well I did... I had ONE good day (evidently that day). I figured I'd beat whatever that sore throat thingy was, so I aimed for another run. I actually ended up running right to the gym in Rutherglen and did a bit of weights and stuff. I had run a little over 2 miles that day as well, plus weights. Remember, it's all hills so I'm reckoning it was like 3 miles.

The day after my good day, I woke up and that's when shit hit the fan. My health rapidly decreased. I went for a run that morning, and desperately made it through yet another 2 miles before I had to go for an appointment for a facial. As I was speaking to my cousin in the car, I noticed that I felt like coughing a lot. Like I had a weird tickle in my throat. Not sore, just... maybe super dry? I got some water at the spa but this weird coughing feeling didn't go away all day. Then my nose started to run. By the end of the day, I felt like total crap. Of course, that's when my cousin suggested we hit the gym.

I decided to go along... I figured maybe the outdoor running was a bit too much, so I'd run inside. The gym was mobbed and getting a treadmill was a challenge, so I figured I'd show off just how strong I was by doing some weights and calisthenics. Nothing against Scottish people, but me being a 6'0" tall girl doing 25 lb bicep curls made me the strongest/biggest person in the gym. I'm guessing the fish & chips diet isn't the best. You can tell everyone there looked really malnourished. Not fat, not thin, just... they needed a good salad and some fruit and veg. None of them looked like they chugged protein shakes after a workout. I felt pretty hardcore when I saw these guys staring at me... turns out that my Brooks split shorts were a little too "split" for them. Even though I have a liner in them (and was wearing underwear), they were actually complaining that they could see up my shorts. Ah! Mortified!! Embarrassed, I slinked away to the first available treadmill. I did a grand total of about 6 minutes when a pain in my side (from dinner perhaps?) stopped me. I stood around the gym, and I realized that I felt like total crap. I told my cousins I was running home, and I ran in the dark back to my aunt's house. When I got in, I showered, collapsed on a chair, and drank tea.

At this point, it was so hard to breathe and I could hear myself struggling to inhale and exhale. My other cold/flu symptoms were full blown at this point. I eventually went to bed and nearly cried myself to sleep... I just wanted to go home and was not looking to the 12 hour ordeal I had to go through the next day.

The flight was probably one of, if not the worst, flight of my life. I had breakfast at the airport (porridge, toast, and tea... naturally) and grabbed a bag of Walker's Sweet Thai Chili Sensations crisps, as well as a stack of trashy mags. I regretted not bringing my Air Transat blow-up pillow and blanket. I was a bit disappointed that my 20 min conversation with the flight crew did not result in me getting another goodie bag. This was the one flight I needed it. A little boy had taken my window seat and I just didn't care. The aisle was a better idea anyway.. more legroom and it turned out that later in the flight I needed it. As soon as we departed, I closed my eyes and fell asleep for an hour. I woke up to food being served and realized that the thought of food made me puke. I passed it up (for like, the first time ever). I tried to get through some of my trashy mags, then tried a lecture... I couldn't focus and my whole body felt in agony. 2 hours to go in the flight, and I started to go to the lav. Numerous times. So sick. :( Good thing I got that aisle seat.

When we landed in Toronto, I headed for customs and nearly died walking there. At this point, my voice was completely gone, I could barely breathe, my nose was red raw from the 50 Air Transat napkins I used as tissues, and I felt like death warmed up. I choked down a small caesar salad while waiting for my Ottawa flight. I was hungry but food itself just turned me off. I was lucky enough to have a row to myself on the WestJet flight and I sat there in agony praying the plane would land sooner. I grabbed a Booster Juice and headed straight to the doctor's.

After all that, it turns out I had rather severe bronchitis and have been relegated to using an inhaler and am on antibiotics. At this point in time (nearly a week later), I'm still sniffly, and I went into a coughing fit last night. I reckon it'll be another 2-3 days before I can hit the treadmill. Weight was 160 on the dot when I landed, and it's creeped up to 162 now. I doubt the week will have a major effect on me, but I emotionally need the gym. As much as I dread runs some days, my life feels so empty without them.

Will have to reassess the running plan when I get better. I'm aiming for 3-5 mile runs during the week, and a specified long run on the weekends.

Oh, and I'm NEVER going to Scotland in the winter again. Scotland's weather and viruses have defeated me 7 of the last 8 visits. We're through.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sickly Scottish Strides

How's all that for alliteration, eh?

I travelled to Scotland for my cousin's wedding on Thursday (wedding was Saturday). I had intended on loads of hill running as I was really looking forward to using my new GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner 210XT), but my Scottish tradition set in... I woke up on Friday morning with yet ANOTHER sore throat. Thankfully, it didn't progress into much else (usually the sore throat is a precursor to a full blown flu). I snuck in a run on Friday... a very slow 2.5 miles. I was feeling rundown and it didn't get much better on Saturday. My plans for a pre-wedding run were scrapped.

Today I woke up 10 times better... it was likely because the sun was out for the first time since I landed. I am almost 100% convinced the flu symptoms are due to the weather. I'm literally allergic to Scottish weather. I started a long run but I ended up running by the local gym, so I went in to inquire about coming in for the next few days. They said it'd be 5.10 (pounds, can't find the symbol) so I ran the half mile back to the house to get money, then back to the gym. I was so excited to do a weights session... full body, too! It was quick, but I got it done. I did about 2.5 miles of running again, plus the weights. It's been an easy week to say the least. Luckily things still fit and I'm doing my best to eat healthy.

Going back home on Thursday!!

xx Anne

Monday, February 6, 2012

Easy Run

I am happy to say that this post will be a very positive post!

First things first... Last week, as I was griping about, my tendon pretty much decided to rebel and emancipate itself from my ankle. It took a bit of rest and I had to convince it that it was better off helping me out instead of going rogue, and it seemed to listen. On Friday, I went for a nice 3 mile run at lunch, keeping a beautiful chilled pace (6.0-6.5 throughout). It actually did feel "easy".

After Friday's run, I decided to go to Ogdensburg to pick up stuff that I had shipped to the UPS Store. I was super stoked to pick things up... I had ordered two pairs of Saucony split shorts, my Garmin Forerunner 210, and my boyfriend's GoPro camera (early V-Day gift). After cursing the skating rink of a parking lot, I hobbled into the store and picked up the items for the low price of $15 (considering the $200 I saved shipping to the store). After slipping and sliding my way back to the car, I realized that there was a shady little sports store beside the UPS Store called Olympia Sports. On the hunt for a good pair of running pants to bring to Scotland, I figured it was worth a gander. The lake effect snow had already been coming down a bit in Ogdensburg and I was not a fan of the idea of trekking down a one-lane hilly state route to I81 and through the treacherous snow, just to get a Dick's Sporting Goods. I went inside and took a look at their shoe collection. While not as extensive as other stores (and with an obvious focus on "flashy" Nikes that the homies would love), I did notice about 4 pairs of Saucony shoes. I know I sound like I'm a brand loyalist by always making a bee-line for their products, but for some reason, they just seem to fit me the best, whether it be shoes or shorts. For the record, I have owned New Balances and Asics as well.

Anyway, I took a look at some of the supports of the shoes and noticed most of them were more stability shoes than anything else. Then I saw it. The one neutral shoe. It wasn't the Echelon or any others that I had tried on at the Ottawa Running Room. It looked slightly wider than the Echelon (one major issue I have with my current shoes is that they feel too narrow through certain spots), so I figured it was worth a shot. The shady little sports store even had a 10.5 Men's. I tried them on and felt it was just too good to be true. No way could these fit. I've battled for nearly a year trying to find a good replacement to my current shoes and you're telling me that the sketchy Ogdensburg store has the one pair that fits? I even put my orthotics in just to be sure. I had found my match. Riding on a high from the shoes (and the fact they were $70!!!), I went on a bit of a sports binge. It felt like this little store had EVERYTHING. I bought a pair of Champion running pants, 3 pairs of new socks, a pair of Adidas track pants, and an Adidas sweater. I am so excited to use my new gear in Scotland! I feel completely decked out now... clothes, shoes, and my Garmin (I have yet to test it still).

Saturday night was my early V-Day dinner with the boyfriend. Since I'm leaving for Scotland tomorrow, we unfortunately miss my birthday and Valentine's Day. I had a long day trying to non-rev (fly standby) my way to Harrisburg. The flights were not too bad loads-wise, but I had to go via Chicago, meaning that it was going to take me about 9 hours just to get there (and an addition 1.5 hours before the boyfriend met me in Harrisburg). I could've driven faster! Luckily I had loads of lectures to do for school, so I got something accomplished. For some reason, I don't raelly recognize that even though it's a Friday night, if I have to be up at 7:00 am the following day, I need to go to bed early. I stayed up until 2:00 am because "it was a weekend", meaning I got around 4.5-5 hours of sleep. Boo. I caught a nap on a flight for about 20 minutes, but I was really starting to drag. By the time we arrived at our uber-sketch Holiday Inn at around 7:00 pm, I was ready to crash, not run. Luckily, I had just given my boyfriend his GoPro and he was in no mood to nap after getting his toy, so it meant I basically had to go for a run. The hotel was inundated with Hispanic people there for some sort of conference, so of course all the teenagers were at the gym having a hang out and messing about. I managed to get on a treadmill that faced outside so I could tune them out. The reflection of myself in the window was sort of inspiring (it was at an angle where I could see my full stride, which spurred me to run a bit harder), so I kept up a very nice interval run for a little over 2.5 miles, before time constraints made me quit. I lunged down the hall (literally doing lunges) back to my room to squeeze the last few bits of the workout in. I eventually ruined it all (and then some) by eating at The Melting Pot... but it was soooo worth it.

Plan is to perhaps run tonight (but maybe just make it a weights/x-training day), and do a combined run/x-training day tomorrow before my flight to Toronto. Since I have around 8 hours to kill before my wake-up and my flight departure to Scotland on Wednesday, I'm going to have that be my random long run day.

My biggest debate right now is whether or not I should bring my new shoes and risk having them be a bit sore (they're not broken in), or take my older shoes and risk my ankle getting sore. Leaning towards the older ones, but I guess we shall see.


Friday, February 3, 2012

A Break from Running (11 Randoms)

A break from running and a visit from Mr Blog Chain Letter.

The Rules:
Post these rules
You must post 11 random things about yourself
Answer the questions set for you in their post
Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them
No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

Eleven Random Things about me:

1. I love the view from my office window. I look out over runway 14/32 of the Ottawa Intl Airport. I always watch for the United Express planes that come in and try to guess loads.

2. I have worked 3 different jobs within the same company in the past year. Being a perpetual trainee sucks!

3. I always eat sweets by breaking off pieces (muffins, brownies, cookies), rather than taking a bite.

4. Until I was about 18, I would buy Old Spice deodorant and shower gel. I thought smelling like a guy would make me hit the gym harder.

5. I was never a major coffee drinker until I started air traffic control training. Now, if I have to be at work before 9 am, I crave coffee (but still only have 1-2 cups/day).

6. I'm a really bad cook.. but have an incredible ability to find the healthiest treasures in supermarkets, and sometimes combine them (ex. PC Blue Menu chicken fillets + low sodium marinara + skim mozza and parm = 350 calorie chicken parmigiana). I have a hard time eating "healthy". My BF and I are really two morbidly obese people in athletic bodies.

7. I can't eat iceberg lettuce, green olives, souvlaki, roasted garlic potatoes, or creamy garlic dressing anymore after catching the Norwalk virus twice and having to puke up all those food items.

8. 90% of my playlists on my iPod are running or exercise-related (ex. Cardio, Sprint Days, Intervals, Outdoor jogging). The oher 10% are relationship-related (Boyfriend, Angry Breakup, and Mellow Breakup).

9. I've always been the youngest person in my workplace. The only time I'm not is when summer students come in. And then it's back to being the youngest (by about 7 years).

10. Even though we live an ocean apart, I usually see my Scottish cousins a minimum of twice a year (for 2-3 weeks at a time).

11. I'm about to buy my first home.

Questions for Me

1&2) What did you want to be when you grew up, and are you that now?
It always changed... meteorologist was a big one for a while.. but it always tended to go back to aviation. I wanted to mainly be either a pilot or a "navigator" (modern-day ATC). I would say yes, since I did train as a controller... and I have a very in-depth aviation job now. I will hopefully get another chance to go back and train as an enroute controller.

3) What is your favorite month of the year?
For some reason, I really like May. It can be cold and rainy sometimes, but you have the excitement of the summer coming up (and Victoria Day weekend).

4) What quote would you want people to remember you by?
I'm not sure... I don't really have any special quotes. Some sort of variation of "break the rules" or "don't take no for an answer". This does not apply to crime, however. Be law-abiding rulebreakers.

5) Sweet or savory?
I really can't deny that I have a horrible sweet tooth.

6) Do you like to celebrate your birthday or do you keep it quiet?
I celebrate by getting the same birthday cake from Loblaws that I've gotten for over 20 years now. If the opportunity to celebrate presents itself (like this year), then I'll go out, but generally it's just chill.

7) Where is one place you’d dying to visit?
I really want to visit the Canary Islands. Some of the Mediterranean islands as well (Malta, Sardinia, Crete)

8) Right or left side of the bed?
I usually sleep on the left side when my boyfriend is home, but if we're staying at a hotel or elsewhere, it's really interchangeable.

9) Dark, milk, or white chocolate?
Anything but white chocolate, really.

10) Name one thing on your bucket list.
I really want another chance to check out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Running out of Luck

After last Friday's massage, my ankle went down the shitter and really hasn't been right since. I became extremely aware that I run on the outside of my foot (especially on the right side), which prompted me to get on my podiatrist about getting those orthotics adjusted. My running has taken a bit of a hit as a result of the extreme tendon pain. Saturday's long run was a struggle through 5 miles. I made it through the last mile by attempting to run it sub-8:00 (I ran it in 8:06). I had to take 2 days off from running as opposed to just the one rest day. Yesterday I only managed to do about 2.5 miles (one mile was 7:58 though... amazing!). Tonight's plan is elliptical and weights... no running.

These issues have forced me to take a step back and look at my running goals. I've registered for the half and I do plan to do it (unless I'm very injured), but I just don't think I'm a distance runner. I'm not built that way. I actually love long runs outside and I still plan to do a few, but every physio/massage therapist/doctor has remarked that my tendons are too long and the fact that one has already been injured just makes the possibility of never running again that much more plausible.

So I've re-vamped my running philosophy... I feel good from 3-5 miles. Sometimes 6 or 7 if I'm outside. Any more miles regularly and the tendon starts to hurt. For me, the 3 mile runs just aren't long enough time-wise... so I've decided that I will be doing a bit of everything for my workouts now. 30 min run/30 min elliptical, row, bike, spin, yoga, etc. Last week I had a crazy workout... 3 miles, then 1.5 hrs of yoga. It's time to branch out. In terms of running, I plan to keep doing it, but with a focus on speed improvements, rather tha5n distance. I'm hoping through time and training, that 5Ks turn into 10Ks and I have a bit of variety with distances and races. But I can do hills, trails, sprints, long runs. There's loads to look forward to. And another 50 years of future running is more than 26.2 miles and giving it up for injuries.