Wednesday, September 30, 2009

a week of firsts

i think i've finally recovered from my race on sunday. except for the extreme laziness that is lingering over me! i have a training plan (part of the online plan i got when i registered for the race) and it continues for three weeks post race, to help your body get back to a regular work out schedule.

here is what this week looks like:

monday: rest
tuesday: 20 minute cross-training (i swam)
wednesday: rest
thursday: 30 minutes running
friday: rest
saturday: 3 miles running
sunday: rest

i think i can handle it. on monday i was SO STIFF i could hardly move. i wasn't in pain when i was sitting, but getting up after an extended period of sitting, or going up and down stairs (why am i on the second floor of my office, dammit!?) was brutal. i bought some epson salts and took a bath. i felt a bit better.

yesterday (on tuesday) i was feeling less stiff, but i went for a massage after work. my benefits have massage coverage (my boss reminded me) so i thought why the hell not?! i have never had a massage before because i don't like strangers touching me but it was quite heavenly and my masseuse was really nice. i booked it at the same place i went for chiropractic treatments in the summer of 2008 when i had extreme bum pain. very professional and nice smelling too. when i left my contacts were stuck to my eyeballs like i just had a nap, haha!

tonight is date night and i am taking my bf on a surprise date. he doesn't read my blog so i can tell you. we are going to see jerry springer the opera. it's supposed to be hilarious - this review told me. it's being put on by the university of toronto so i bought student tickets for $10 each instead of the regular $25 adult ones. i still look young and my student card doesn't have a date ... mwa ha ha. hey, i'm on a budge here! i hate watching jerry springer on tv (what a waste of time!) but i love musicals and parodies too.

in other news, work is still crazy busy. insane! but good insane. i am going on a business trip next week. for one night. to peterborough, ha! are you jealous?

and finally, i am on a mission to declutter my apartment. i have so much crap - there isn't enough space for everything. i am going through it room by room and deciding what must go! well, first i'm cleaning room by room, then decluttering. i can't declutter a mess ... that's gross. so on monday i did the kitchen and last night the bathroom and vacuuming. the bedroom will be the biggest project because i hoard clothes like they were precious jewels. stuff that's ugly and doesn't even fit. i don't even want to sell this stuff - i will give some to my sister and the rest can go to goodwill. the end. have a nice day.

look at this cat hoarding his toys! hahaha mine all mine. stop looking at me!

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

scotiabank toronto waterfront half-marathon recap

first of all - I DID IT! WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!

next up - i beat my goal time! WOOOOOOOHOOOOO!

official stats:

start time:
7:34:22 am
10k time: 58:30
gun time: 2:10:02
chip time: 2:05:41 (my goal was to make it under 2:15)
category place: 252 of 823 (women 25 to 29)
gender place: 1320 out of 4529 total women

i went to bed at 11 pm last night and fell asleep pretty quickly. i put out my running clothes and made sure that my zune and garmin were charged. i also made an awesome 90s-inspired running mix. my boyfriend had a 90s-themed birthday party last week so we bought so many second-hand "big shiny tunes" and "now" compilation CDs to play at the party.

here is my playlist (i put in on shuffle while i ran):

you might need to click on the playlist to actually read what the songs are - ha! it was a good mix. i wanted to put a lot of songs i haven't heard in a while. that way each one would be new and interesting to run to.

i set my alarm for 5:45 am. i made coffee (even though i shouldn't have because i got my teeth professionally whitened yesterday ... but coffee is part of my pre-long run routine hehe), an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana. i stuffed half a package of clif blocks and a package of sharkies into the tiny pouch of my fuel belt.

i went to the race alone (let my bf sleep in). i called a cab around 6:30 am and it came within 10 minutes. speedy! i wore a giant yellow poncho because it was raining ... thankfully the rain stopped as soon as i got out of the cab! there were runners everywhere! i was feeling a bit nervous so i tried to go to the bathroom ... tried being the operative word. i put on my fuel belt, garmin, zune (i wear these on the belt - i HATE wearing the giant wristwatch!) and running hat and headed for the colour corrals.

it was a madhouse. there were so many runners trying to get to the corrals and it was hard to move. i made it to my corral (green) in time and spent a few minutes jumping around, looking for people i knew, looking for the pace bunnies, etc.

the gun went off and it was a few minutes before i crossed the start line (i think it was at minute 7:30 when i finally crossed). i was feeling pretty good. it was very strange for me to be running with all of those other people! i was running pretty fast and knew i should slow down but everyone was passing me and i felt like i should be keeping up. my brain took over and i began running about a 9-minute/mile pace.

i ran for the first 4 miles without stopping and then took a one-minute walking break. i would run for 10 minutes (exactly) then walk for one minute. i did this until the end of the race and it worked really well for me. it's really comforting to know that you only have to go less than ten minutes until it's "break time."

at the beginning of mile six i ate three clif shot blocks. they had water and gatorade stations every 2.5 kms, so i alternated water and gatorade at each one. so many cups on the ground! i tried to throw my cups into the garbage cans. i feel sorry for whoever had to clean up that slop!

the race went by really fast for me. it began to get difficult around the 11th mile - my knees were hurting and it was hard to psyche myself up for running 10 minutes at a time. but i did it. i was telling myself motivating things the whole time like, "you are a machine" and "you can beat your goal time - you are better than the goal dammit!". it worked. i also told myself a little pain never hurt anyone - and it's not like i was going to be running forever and ever. as soon as i finished i could stop!

they had signs for the last 500m, 400m, 300m, 200m and 100m. i looked around for my boyfriend but couldn't see him anywhere. luckily he saw me!

after the race i got a medal and a shiny metal thing. i wasn't cold so i didn't wear it. they removed our race chips and i passed on through to the food station. i ate a banana and a pumpernickel bagel. they also had apples and cookies. mmmmm cookies - my mouth wanted one but my body was not in the mood. here i am taking off my gadgets while holding on to giant shiny. everyone looks so pooped!

we took a cab home and i had the most wonderful hot shower of my life. we ate a big more and then walked over to the clothing show. my legs were so tired so i didn't want to stay long. i won free tickets so i felt like i really should take advantage of it. i did buy a cute sweater so it was worth it, hehe.

i am really proud of myself. i set a goal for myself, worked really hard for months and completed that goal. and i have an awesome medal to show for it!

it's funny - i found myself getting very emo throughout the race. everything made me cry - from seeing little kids holding a "go mom!" sign, to experiencing the community support coming from people who came to cheer everyone on, to getting a better understanding about what being a runner really means. there were runners of all shapes, sizes and ages. i saw a blind runner being led by another who could see. i saw a female runner with no arms! i saw a woman wearing a wedding veil. i saw runners stopping to help those with injuries. i saw runners from kenya ZOOMING along at the speed of light with the longest strides i've ever seen.

when i was about 500m away from the finish line, i knew that as soon as i crossed the tears would start to flow. when my boyfriend called my name (and i knew he was there for my finish) i started to blubber like a whale! (i know whales don't blubber.) he asked me what was wrong and i could only whisper, "emo." hahaha! what a wonderful experience - i am so proud of myself.

now, more food!

Friday, September 25, 2009


i am under a lot of pressure at work, which is why my posting is a little ... um ... sparse. it's good pressure though. nothing i can't handle - just lots (tons) of work to do. and i love it, of course, because everything i do is health-fitness-food related. here's what's happening lately!

1. yesterday was my bf's birthday. i got him some awesome presents and the best one is laser teeth whitening - wahhooo! i am getting it done too. we are going on saturday. my teeth are pretty white but my goal is to blind people with my flashy smile. i want that cartoon sparkle to appear on my teeth - like guy smiley from sesame street.

2. i have decided to start a new blog, but not yet. i am too busy right now and of course i have to think of a name and "theme" and whatnot. i like the word whatnot, don't you?

3. last night i ran three miles in the dark. it wasn't that late but it was around 7:45-8:30. there are a lot of shadies in my neighborhood. i don't feel threatened by them but that saying is true - the weirdos really do come out at night hehe.

4. i have one run left before the really big shoe. it's saturday and two miles long. it's actually "20 minutes" but i basically run a 10-minute mile, on average. i also have to pick up my race kit. i can do it today after work or tomorrow during the day. i was going to do it today after work but i think i'm going to choose a nap instead.

5. today is my mom's birthday. i don't know how old she is. for some reason i can never remember the ages of my parents. i bought her a nice shirt and will bring it to her at lunch. i am on a mission to get her wearing more "snazzy" clothes. for christmas last year i got her this awesome jacket and she was the talk of all of her friends. awesome!

happy weekend. tune in for a race-recap next week!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

contest time!

Eat Clean Live Green is giving away coconut oil. Don't miss your change to scoop it up.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

this is the big week!

am i ready for it? we shall see!

here is this week's training schedule of fun:

monday: 30 minutes running (complete)
tuesday: 30 minutes cross-training (complete - i did this before work today)
wednesday: rest
thursday: 30 minutes running
friday: rest
saturday: 20 minutes running
sunday: scotiabank toronto waterfront half marathon GULP.

i'm actually not that scared anymore. i've done the training. i've pounded the pavement. i've tried different drinks and food-energy sources during my runs, etc. i'm good to go. however, i am nervous about race-day and waking up on time, getting there, running in a pack, etc. i have never run in any race before at all. not even a 5k. so this experience is something completely new for me.

last night it was raining and i was sooooo tired (crazy weekend) so i decided to run on the treadmill. it was pretty boring until i did some HIIT for the last ten minutes. i did 20 minutes running at 6 mph, then did 1 minute 7 mph and 1 minute 5 mph for the remaining minutes.

in other news, i am thinking about starting a new blog. i've had this one for so long but i feel that my past entries are really a reflection of my diet/fitness lifestyle now. i am not trying to lose weight anymore and i haven't been for years. i am trying to maintain my weight, get rid of bad habits (yes, i have them hah!) and incorporate more good habits into my life. the only thing preventing me from switching is a) giving up my past entries and b) what if i lost readers in the process? what do you think? would you follow me?

Monday, September 14, 2009

finally, taper time

i am so happy this week because ... it's tapering time. on saturday i ran 8 miles and with the exception of the race, i'll never have to run that far again. i'll keep running of course, but for "fun" not for sport. this training is taking over my life and i'm ready to take on my other hobbies again.

here is my training schedule this week:

monday: 4 miles running
tuesday: 30-35 minutes swimming
wednesday: rest (woohoo)
thursday: 4 miles running
friday: 30-35 minutes swimming
saturday: 5 miles running
sunday: rest

and then next week is:

monday: 3 miles running
tuesday: 30-35 minutes swimming
wednesday: rest
thursday: 3 miles running
friday: rest
saturday: 2 miles running
sunday: 13.1 miles running AKA the 1/2 marathon.

today after work i have to go to my parents house. i brought my running gear so i could get it out of the way ASAP. i am not an evening runner. i wake up too early to go before work, and if i wait until past 7 pm i am just too tired. 4-5 pm is not my ideal time, but it's the only time that fits into my schedule. i am really feeling the monday today so i'm hoping my run won't be as tortuous as last thursdays. i was cursing under my breath it was so bad. and my hat blew off ... hate that.

Friday, September 11, 2009

training and weight gain

i don't really weigh myself anymore but i was feeling a little ... what's the word ... oh yes, phat, last weekend while trying on some things in my closet, so i decided on a whim to step on the scale this morning. it wasn't as bad as i was expecting, but i am not in my maintenance range anymore. i thought that i would lose weight with all of this marathon training but i was obviously mistaken.

i really have a love/hate relationship with the scale. i decided not to weigh myself anymore because it was causing too many highs and lows which is unhealthy. going up or down five pounds on any given week means nothing, so long as it's not five pounds up and then five more pounds up, etc. so i wasn't weighing myself. this was a relief in some ways, although in other ways it caused more stress. i think it made me imagine gains and loses that didn't exist and gave me a false perception of what i actually look like and how i feel. it's hard to explain. on one hand it's important to keep your weight in check but on the other hand, becoming obsessed is obviously not the mentality anyone should want or have.

so this brings me back to marathon training and weight gain. i looked online and this weight gain is very common.

here are some reasons why people gain weight while training:

1. you are building muscle, which is denser than fat: this is always a good thing. i love muscle.

2. your body is learning to store carbohydrates as fuel (glycogen) for your long runs. those glycogen stores will add more weight. your body also requires additional water to break down and store the glycogen, so that will also add extra weight: i didn't know that but it's interesting. although - i'm not doing that many long runs, and my long runs aren't THAT long since i'm only doing the 1/2 marathon and not the whole shabang.

3. you are maybe increasing your calorie intake without knowing it: this is possible. i'm pretty damn hungry on running days and especially the day after.

4. you may be drinking too many calories through sports drinks: um, not me. i've only had one gatorade in my whole life and it was "G2" only 30 calories per cup.

so i guess i'm just eating too much. oy vey. i did remark to my boyfriend that although i feel like i've gained weight, i also feel like i am the most "fit" i've ever been. that being said, i'll be happy when it's over and i can get back to my normal life.

what do you do? how often do you weigh yourself to keep your weight in check? every day? once per week? once per month? NEVER?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

my 10-mile run

so last friday (i can't believe it's already wednesday) i ran 10 miles. yes, it's true. i did it.

it took me a bit less than two hours, but i did walk a little, work out some knee pain, stop in a starbucks to get more water, ring my boyfriend's doorbell (he wasn't home), etc.

oh, and i am ashamed to say this but i had a bit too much to drink the night before (self-sabotage anyone?) and was running on 5-6 hours of sleep. not the best way to go about things but now at least i know that if i can run 10 miles under these conditions, i certainly can run 13.1 miles under optimal ones. also, i can't say no to sangria. it's just that wonderful! mmmm sangria ...

but i digress. here we go.

mile 1: things are going well. i started listening to my favorite running CD: black eyed peas - the end. it's awesome - every tune is a catchy dance tune. it's very easy to run to.

mile 2: i decided to run in the city instead of down by the water. the water is pretty but it can be boring when you are just running and running and not doing anything else. i am a city girl. i like to look at people and at things in window shop! i drink some water. 4 oz from my fuel belt.

mile 3: i decided to run from king street (bottom of city) up yonge street to bloor (top of city) which was a mistake because it's on an incline. i am not too out of shape for this but i have concluded that running up inclines or hills is what makes my knees hurt.

mile 4: my knees start to hurt. i tell them to shut up. i drink some G2 grape gatorade. 4 oz from my fuel belt.

mile 5: i run the loop around queen's park twice. it's pretty nice. my knees are really hurting here but i tell them to shut up. they surprisingly listen. i'm starting to feel pooped.

mile 6: i eat 3 clif shots. yum yum yum. it feels very strange to be eating this weird candy-like stuff during a run but i go with it. i pretend that everyone looking at me must think i'm really hardcore to need to refuel during my run. yah! i also drink another 4 oz. of water from my fuel belt. now the water is gone! i do feel like i have more energy.

mile 7: i run over to my boyfriend's apartment but he is not home. when you run 10 miles downtown you really can go everywhere. it felt like i went all over the city and that's because ... i did.

mile 8: i stop in starbucks to refill my water. i drink the remaining 4 oz of gatorade in my fuel belt and filled both bottles up with water.

mile 9: this mile was relatively painless - i think because i was heading in the direction of my own home which is always a nice feeling. better than 5 miles away by foot, that's for sure.

mile 10: the final mile was difficult. my knees were really hurting. i think not drinking the night before a run may also help with this problem. i am also going to take some pain killers before the race. i thought about buying knee sleeves or something but chances are i will never run this far again so that would be a waste of moolah. i had to walk a few times during mile 10 and take an extra loop around my neighbourhood to finish up the mile which was extra torturous. i was thrilled when it was over but happy with a calm sense of completion and accomplishment.

after my run i had a shower and proceeded to sleep all afternoon. for some reason the power went off in my building (scheduled) from noon to 5 pm so i couldn't really do anything anyway! the air show at the ex was also going on, luckily the noise did not keep me from zoning out like a zzzombie!

so that's my longest practice race. i ran 5 miles on monday, i have to do 4 miles tomorrow on thursday and then 8 miles on saturday. it's all tapering down nicely. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

answers :)

i got this email from the 1/2 marathon training online program i signed up for. how relevant!

Tip 17 by Jenny Hadfield.

How can I do this? How is my body going to go the distance if we don't go that far in training? How do I get rid of that little voice that whispers in my ear - stop, you can't do this, just hang up your shoes and go to Starbucks, you're doomed - Are these some of your thoughts during training?

Although it may seem that physical training is the key to a successful race, it is the mental fitness that is the foundation that supports everything you do. As with the physical, mental fitness grows through experience and time.

Your mind is the control room for your body. If the guys in the tower and transmitting negative signals, guess what will happen to your race? If however, you have an intervention with the guys in the tower and tell them there is a paradigm shift and we need to send out positive signals, you will run or walk and smile and your efforts will be much easier.

If you have a run-in with a negative thought during your training or in the race worry about finishing - simple take a deep breath, and focus on all the good things that you've done this far.

Relax - If you are having a rough day, slow your pace and mentally focus on taking it one step at a time. If you are having a great day, take notes on what your thoughts are during the workout.

Every run can be joyful if you quiet the voices and tune in to what is going on around you and how far you've come.

Now, how the heck are you going to reach that finish line if you haven't gone the distance in training? Your body will be well rested and well trained for the race. Your mental fitness will take over when your body starts to fade (if it starts to fade).

A good adventure racing friend of mine once told me - you can't eat an elephant in one bite, but if you eat it one bite at a time it is do-able.

I use that in every event I race. If you stand at the starting line thinking - "Okay, only 13.1 to go, that can be a daunting and intimidating thought. It will seem like a VERY long way. But if you chop it up into smaller, more digestible pieces, then it becomes a series of finish lines.

You can break it in half, in quarters or one kilometer at a time. You can even break the race into geographical locations along the route. The key is to surrender to the fact you will be out there for a few hours and then develop a mental plan with shorter goals.

If you are a run-walker you already have a plan. Focus on the next 4 or 5 minutes and soon you'll be half-way done.

Take care of yourself nutritionally. If you get low on blood sugar your mind is the first to fade. That is an invitation to negatives thoughts. Drink your sports drink along the route 6-8 ounces (one cup) every 15- 20 minutes. Take a few jolly ranchers with you or walkers who will be out there longer take a few snack size Snickers. All of these will bring your mind back into the race.

If things get tough for you - use this trick. Think about how you want to feel after the race is over. Do you want to feel proud and excited about what you've just accomplished or sad about the outcome of the race.

When things get tough for me in races, I think about how things could be worse than they are. I could be running "up" a mountain, or in sand, or not feeling well, or I could have just sat on a cactus while trying to go to the bathroom. It can always be worse.

Have faith in your preparation and believe you can do it. Surrender to the unknown and enjoy every step you take. The training is your journey, the race is simply the celebration!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

am i boring you?

thank you for your comments and encouragement on my last post. i have been stretching after each run but it looks like i need to do MORE STRETCHING. stretching is my favorite part of any workout so i welcome it. anything that involves relaxing moves that feel good instead of sweating profusely and being out of breath works for me!

here are some stretches i think will work for me.

numero uno: the IT band standing stretch.

numero dos: the IT band stretch for flexibility and knee pain. i actually already do this one. dammit! just kidding - it means i know a little something something and should do it more often.

number three (my spanish is basic): the lying piriformis stretch. i already do this one too. my bum pain is a direct result of my piriformis aka big butt muscle.

it seems like i already have a good idea of how to stretch - maybe i need to do it for longer or more often. every day seems like a daunting task!

on friday (i have the day off) i have a 10 mile run planned. i know a lot of people like racing and training for races, but so far, i don't. i have made a point of living as laid-back and stress-free as possible about most things in my life, and training is just creating a lot of worry and stress for me. can i finish this run? will i hurt myself? will my knees hurt? do i time to fit in all of my training runs? yada yada yada! i think i will like the feeling of accomplishing a race and proudly displaying a medal, but i'll be happy to go back to running for enjoyment. right now it feels like a chore and that is not a good thing! i just want to do three or four runs a week and only three to five (or maybe six if i'm feeling crrrazy that day) miles a run. also, all i write about lately is running which may be boring for readers. is it? boring? am i boring you?

anyway i have bought a bottle of G2 grape flavored gatorade, and jelly belly sports beans AND clif shots. "they" say you have to try everything you may have on race day before the race, so i am going to try the clif shots on friday and the beans next week on my 8-mile run.

one final question for runners: my longest training run is 10 miles and the race is 13 point something miles. how does that work!?!?!?! how can i spontaneously run three more miles than my longest training run? HUH?