Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Half Marathon Training Cycle #4

Tonight my 4th consecutive half marathon clinic starts. Do you know what this means? I have been training for half marathons for ONE YEAR!! This year has flown by. I can’t believe I have already completed 4 half marathons! I started my first HM clinic planning to just do one to cross off the bucket list but I am hooked!


I have the most amazing instructor and pacers. There are a few of us that have been around for the last year and I love watching all of us achieve our goals. I feel like I am constantly recruiting people to join a running group and just get out there and run.

Hypo Half Group Shot

Big Run HM Group Shot
I am thankful that I have stayed injury free this year (knock wood!) and that I CAN run. I will never take it for granted again.

I am so looking forward to meeting some newbies and reconnecting with the veterans tonight!

Now to decide on a fall goal race- there are so many options!! Melissa's, Okanagan, Canmore...

** Sugar- Free Challenge starts tomorrow!!

Calgary Scotiabank (Jugo Juice) 10K Race Report

Pre-Race
We had 5:00am wake up call as the race started pretty early (for a 10K). Hubby had to be at his volunteer station along the course at 6:30am so I dropped him off and drove to the nearest train station to park my car and take the train down to the race start. There was virtually no parking around the race area and even if there was, most of the roads were blocked off to traffic.

The weather turned out to be absolutely beautiful after a week straight of torrential rain fall. It was chilly to start and I am super happy this race had a bag check so I could wear my jacket while waiting but check it just before I had to line up at the start.

Crowd of people walking to the Race area

I immediately ran into Rose in the port a potty line up (one of my previous clinic buddies who was running her first HM after battling some injuries during training). She was nervous and I remember thinking to myself that I wasn’t nervous at all at that point!

My running buddy Kristen decided to race the 10K instead of the half marathon so we met up by the start line. I waited until about 15 minutes before the race start to check my bag (best idea ever!) with my jacket that I wore. It was still a bit chilly with my long sleeve shirt and vest but I could tell that I was going to warm up in no time as soon as I started running. The sun was shining already and there wasn’t any wind.

Kristen and I

Bag check- best.idea.ever!

Finally it was time to line up and this was by far the largest race I have ever run in. There were about 10,000 participants in total (4 distances), and I think at least a few thousand doing the 10K. I lined up closer to the middle/back, right by the 1:05 pace bunny. I figured if I stuck around her it would help me stay on track.

Race
Right on time, the gun went off and we slowly made our way to the start line. It only took about 2 minutes but it felt like forever! Just as we passed the first corner I recognized the sound of hubby’s cowbell! I turned around and sure enough there he was. I shouted out to him and he saw me but I had already passed him. Since he was around the 1K mark on the Full/Half Marathon course, he was done his duties before the 10K started and was able to make his way over to cheer us on.

The run was pretty uneventful. We ran on the road the entire time which was another first for me. It was pretty neat to run down the middle of the street that I drive to work all the time. There were lots of cops and volunteers along the course.

Before I knew it we passed the 3K mark and I felt so good. Usually it takes me a few K to get into the groove but I was in it right away. I just kept on my pace (ahead of it actually) and started chasing down people to pass. I found in my other races that it was harder to chase down people because we were so spread out but that was not an issue this time. Kristen stayed with me for the first 4K but then she slowed down.

I lost the 1:05 pace bunny within the 1st K. I felt bad for about a second until I realized that I was on pace and to forget about her. I never did see her again.

I did my 10 and 1s which works for me. I wore my water belt and I had 2 Gu Chomps starting about 40 minutes into the race. I didn’t end up listening to my iPod at all during the race which is a first for a road race. There was so much going on around me that I didn’t feel I needed music to motivate me. I just kept chasing people down and I repeated Kristen’s mantra a million times- “I can handle this for now.”

At the 5K mark I checked my watch and I was around 31-32 minutes. I wasn’t feeling tired at all, although I did feel a bit warm. At the turn around (just passed 5K) we passed by the half marathon route (I loved watching them come down an off ramp!) and was so relieved that I was only doing 10K!! I had less than 5K to go and who knows how long they still had to go!

At the 8K mark my watch said 50 minutes so I knew I was going to be under 1:05 if I kept up the pace. I was a little tired but nothing was slowing me down now. There was one hill in the last K but I just breezed up it. You could tell lots of people hadn’t done hill training because I passed them as if they were walking. Nice confidence boost!

We went around a couple corners and finally the finish line was in sight!! Yay!! The chute was pretty narrow so I was weaving in and out to get around people. There were tons of spectators but I couldn’t see hubby anywhere. I did see my one friend who volunteering just before the finish line.

I sprinted as fast as I could the last 100m to the finish line. There was a barrier of people crossing it the same time as me so that finishing photo is going to be crappy.

I stopped my watched and read 1:03:10. Holy smokes- I did it!!

Sporting my new medal!
Post-Race
I stayed in the chute for about 10 minutes, grabbing some water and waiting for Kristen to finish. There were so many people and somehow I missed her. Then I got kicked out of the chute and went to the sidelines to watch for Leigh. I waited for probably 45 minutes and missed her also! It was so congested and since I didn’t know what Leigh was wearing I wasn’t sure what to look for. She ended up having a great race!

After waiting around for 45 minutes after I finished I figured I should go find hubby. I went over to Bag Check to get my stuff so I could call him as obviously my ability to find people wasn’t going so well! Turns out he had the same thought so I ended up running into him on my way over there. He was pretty bummed that he missed my finish (he was at the last corner before the finish line- I ran on the inside and he was on the outside of the corner).

After grabbing my bag, I got some food (banana, water, chips- boring!) and we headed back home. It was way too crowded to hang around the finish line.

Race Reflections
It was a really well organized race and I will definitely do it again. At first I wasn't sure about big races (big line ups, early starts) but after doing the 10K I am sold. It was nice to have lots of people around to motivate me and get me to push harder. I am sad that it was next to impossible to spectate and see my friends finish due to the congestion.


Another amazing race experience!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

~What I did this Weekend~

Friday after work hubby and I went to the Race Expo for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon (I was running the 10K and hubby was volunteering as a course marshal). It was pretty packed but we still saw a few friends while waiting in line. Unfortunately my race shirt is way too small :(  I ordered a small which fits if it is a unisex style but it was women specific so it is more of a belly shirt on me! Oh well- I rarely wear my race shirts anyway. Although if anyone wants to trade a 10K small for a 10K medium or large let me know!

We went out for dinner to a new Indian restaurant near our house. The food was delicious but the service was a little slow. This weekend was jam-packed so I spent the rest of Friday night getting organized so I wouldn’t be rushing around the rest of the weekend.

Saturday I went to my cousin’s fiancee’s Bridal Shower. Two more weeks until their Big Day!! It was nice to spend the afternoon with the ladies. My own bridal shower was so long ago...

That night, hubby and I went to a housewarming BBQ. It was great to visit with friends but we had to pack it in early as we had to be up super early for the race on Sunday.

Sunday- Race Day! We got up around 5:00am as hubby had to be at his marshal spot along the course at 6:30am. After I dropped him off I parked and headed to the race start area. I found a couple friends and we waited for 10K to begin. The race started on time at 7:30am and it went extremely well! I am super happy that I got a 10K PR as well as achieved my A goal.

Bling bling!


New addition to my medal collection!
After the race we grabbed some food and headed back home. Hubby made me a delicious brunch and then I had a short nap. I spent the rest of the evening with some girlfriends- chatting and playing with makeup!!

Even though it was a busy weekend, it was lots of fun! The weather was gorgeous and I “think” summer might actually be here.

Congrats to all my friends (bloggy and IRL) who raced this weekend! Lots of PRs!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

~I did it!!~

I got my 10K PR!!

1:03:10 was my Garmin time.
Chip time isn't available yet...

That is a 10 minute PR-thankyouverymuch!!

Thanks to everyone who made me believe that I can run faster than I think.

Full race report to come later.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Calgary Scotiabank 10K Goals

It has been almost a year since my first two 10K races- one being part of an Olympic triathlon. I really didn't train that much for either of those races so of course my times weren't speedy by any means.

Now I have completed 4 half marathons so I definitely have a lot more mileage under my belt. I haven't trained for a 10K per say but I have been keeping up my running since my last half almost a month ago. I will admit it has been nice to reduce my mileage!

So onto the goals---

Goal A- absolutely-best-run-of-my-life-everything-is-perfect
Sub 1:05

According to McMillian Running Calculator I can run a 1:03:49 10K (based on my recent half marathon PR time). That's holding a pace of 6:22!!! Most of my 10K training runs have been around 1:06-1:10 so I am slightly doubtful that I can do 1:03 this weekend. That being said, this is a flat course and it is only 10K (never thought I would say that...)

Goal B- Happy & Realistic
Sub 1:08

Goal C- PR Still
Sub 1:13


Thanks to Kristen for sending me an awesome mantra- "I can handle this for now." I am definitely going to repeat this to myself a million times on Sunday!

Good luck to Leigh who is running her first half marathon this weekend! She is going to kill it!! Hope to see you there!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

~Three Things Thursday~

1. To prepare myself for the Sugar Free Challenge that officially begins on June 1st, I have been scouring food labels. There is sugar in everything!! This is going to be way more difficult than I thought. I kinda assumed I would be cutting out the obviously things- cookies, ice cream, cereal, syrups, etc. but I just checked my yogurt that I eat for breakfast every day and it has sugar in it!

2. Awhile ago I mentioned that I was trying to find some sort of cork board to hang my necklaces from as they are constantly getting tangled up on my Jewellery tree. After my run last night I popped by Staples to see if they had a plain cork bulletin board as my search for a fabric covered one left me empty handed. I was in luck- they had one that had a dark wood frame and doesn’t look too industrial. I also found some nice silver pushpins that will compliment all my silver jewellery. Hubby helped me mount it (ok, he did it all- I just held it up for placement) and I went about rearranging all my necklaces and bracelets so they don’t get tangled in each other ever again!
Jewellery all over the dresser!

Organized and untangled!
I think I need a few more pins as I had to double up a few things but it turned out exactly how I wanted it to!!

3. Last night's run- I met up with my running buddies at the Running Room last night for a final group run before my 10K race in 3 days! I ran with Rose who is usually way faster than me but she is recovering from some injuries so she is taking it easy. I love running with her because she pushes me to go faster and I keep her reined in. It was drizzling a bit during the run but I was pretty comfortable in capris, long sleeve shirt and vest. This might be my race attire this weekend if the rain continues to come down.
I definitely pushed myself during this run and am so happy that I was able to maintain a fast pace. I was puffing a bit but I wouldn’t let myself slow down because I know I can go faster.
Total Distance- 5.88K
Total Time- 36:14

Average Pace- 6:09

I just need to push myself out of that comfy zone that I always seem to get stuck in. It’s gonna hurt ~ it’s suppose to hurt ~ if it didn’t hurt, everyone would do it!! New mantra? I think so.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

~A New Sugar Free Challenge~

Last night after running around for a few hours after work (most of it spent waiting around … what ever happened to customer service?), I didn’t feel like running outside. Even though I want it to rain to water my grass, it is still making me feel blue.

I couldn’t skip working out all together so instead I did an easy 45 min on the spin trainer. We have made plans to cycle the Highwood Pass in a couple weeks before the road opens to traffic so I need to get some more time on my bike! (If you are interesting in joining us let me know!)

Highwood Pass

**************************
Well my “diet” hasn’t been going so well the last few days. The long weekend away from home derailed it and I couldn’t resist the temptation of yummy muffins, cookies and road snacks. I think I am up a couple pounds from last week so definitely not the way I want to be going.


Time to get back on track! Only 4 days until my race and two more weeks until my cousin’s wedding! I need to work with hubby on the meal plan and resist all temptation. There isn’t any junk food at home and I am usually pretty good at work.

Amanda, the creator of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge has come up with a new Sugar Free Challenge to go from June 1st-10th. Perfect timing!! I am going to start ASAP (partly because I don’t need the excuse to binge for a week beforehand and also because I have a race that I want to feel good for).

SugarFree

If going Sugar Free is something you have been considering, here is the perfect opportunity! Amanda’s Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge worked well for me over Christmas so I think this will just the Challenge I need to kick my burning-desire-to-eat-sugar-all-the-time.

Since Amanda is so generous, she is also hosting a giveaway. It's boring though- so don't enter it... :P

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

~What I did this May Long Weekend~

Another long weekend come and gone already. This month is just zooming by.

Friday we left town after a super crazy day at work. I wasn’t able to get out of the office as soon as I wanted so we didn’t get out of town as quickly either. It was an uneventful drive to hubby’s family’s hometown. We arrived around 8:00pm, unloaded and visited for a few hours before hitting the sack.

Saturday morning five of us went into town for a run (we were staying out on the farm). I had only planned to run around 5-6K as I am racing next week but everyone else wanted to go longer. I didn’t bring my water belt as I was trying to reduce the amount of stuff I brought but I really should have. I am usually fine without water for anything under 7K but it was warm out ~25C which I am not used to running in after our LONG winter.

The first 5K was great as we ran around the lake so it was cooler. I started to struggle around 6K and had to talk a bunch as I felt light headed. Unfortunately the nice weather brought out the mosquitoes so I was eaten alive! I would run for a bit but as soon as I stopped they were all over me.

Total Distance- 8.88K
Total Time- 1:04
Average Pace- 7:14

After the run, a few of us went golfing. It was my 2nd time ever golfing so I just play at my own pace- picking up my ball when needed and not taking it too seriously. It was a blast- except for those darn mosquitoes again. This time they destroyed me as I wasn’t running at all. They bit my face, neck, arms, hands in additional to all the bites on my legs from the run. I had to take an antihistamine when I got back to the car as I was swelling up like crazy.
L and I waiting to tee off.

Hubby practicing his swing
That is a tee in his mouth- not a cigarette!


Practicing my swing!!

Could barely hit the ball with all the
mosquitoes attacking me!!
We had a big family dinner that evening and played a bunch of games. Who knew Bananagrams could be so much fun!

Sunday we had a memorial for hubby’s great-aunt. We had a big dinner and stayed up late playing games (hubby's family is big into games- cards and boardgames!).

Monday we woke up to a complete change in weather. It was raining and only 5C. Good thing I packed all those warm clothes! Hubby wanted to transplant a Saskatoon bush from the family land to our backyard so I went with him to help (and by help I mean take pictures from inside the truck!). We transported it home in the big blue bucket. We then headed to another aunt and uncle's house for brunch before saying goodbye and heading home. It poured rain the entire way back. Normally I wouldn't be impressed but with our recently planted sod and garden I hoped it would continue to rain! As soon as we got home hubby planted the Saskatoon bush. Fingers crossed she survives the move and we have berries in our backyard this summer or next!!


Hubby digging up a Saskatoon bush

Planted at home
Blue bucket is what we transported it in.
It was a fun weekend even though we gathered for a sad occasion.

Thank goodness it's a short week!!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sweet Relief!!

Well I made it through the critical first 24 hours of owning my new car.  
I can breathe again!! I am sure you are wondering what the heck I am talking about...

With my VW, I had it for  only 24 hours before it was written off! It was brand spankin' new, with only 140km on it when it died a sad death. I was at the gym when a torrential rain storm hit (check out this blog to see more photos of the storm that hit the city that day) and the parking lot my car was in flooded. It was about half under water- enough to affect the wiring of the car and therefore completely writing it off. It was a sad day :(

Cars are not made for swimming!
This is after the water went down a bit

Front seat- you can see the water line on the middle console
 and door. The water had gone down by this point.

Back seat- you can see the dirt line where
 the water came up on the front seat
Thankfully insurance covered the replacement of the car so we ended up with a white version of our original car. We were doing so well until someone rear ended us last fall! It wasn't a write off this time.


VW#2 smashed up :(
 So when I picked up my new SUV, that-has-no-name yet, on Wednesday I was extra cautious so as to avoid a repeat of my last car purchasing experience. All was fine until I was driving home from a day of shopping with my sister. I was "this" close to being rear-ended on a busy road in a bad way when at the last minute the car swerved to the other lane and sideswiped the SUV next to me. While it was relief that I wasn't hit, I was still very shaken up as it brought back crappy memories of my recent rear end-er and previous new-car-destruction.

No one was hurt in the accident (I stopped as a witness) and there was only minor damage (from what we could see at least) to the vehicles involved instead of major damage if he had hit me.

I know it's not a workout related post...  other than I was at the gym when the first VW was written off, coming home from running when I was rear ended last fall and on my way to run with my group when I was almost hit in the new wheels this week but maybe the universe is telling me to workout at home!?!?

Have a safe and accident-free long weekend!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

~Three Things Thursday~

I haven't been very good at posting while I was on my stay-cation. It's harder when you are not forced to sit in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day!!

1. Busy week- the most exciting part of my week has been returning my car that was up for lease and purchasing my new lil' SUV!! I am now the proud owner of a Nissan Rogue!! I honestly wasn't expecting to find a new vehicle so quickly and my lease wasn't technically up for another month (although I could return the car at any time) so it worked out perfectly that I could get all thing car purchasing stuff done while I was off work!! Yippee!! Now to find a name for my pretty!! I am open to ideas...


2. Cheater, cheater- yup, that's what I am!! My cheating isn't illegal though! I have been working really hard on having no sugar but I haven't been very successful at cutting it out completely. Overall I am eating better but I am still tempted to have one sweet treat a day. I think quitting "cold turkey" is a bad idea for me. I also cheated because I went shopping yesterday!!! My sis and I had planned a shopping trip awhile ago to buy dresses for our cousin's wedding next month. She dragged me into other stores to look at clothes and I found a few summer-y things- sandals, sweater, shirt and capri jeans. I did also find a dress for the wedding but I am still going to keep looking just in case I find something I like even better.

3. Workouts- Monday ended up being a rest day as I didn't want to get up early on my day off and I was busy in the evening signing my life away buying my new car.
Tuesday hubby and I ran together and it was the hardest 4K I have done in awhile!! Not sure what the problem was, other than some nasty wind on the 2nd KM but my legs just hated me.
Last night I met up with some of my running buddies (we are between clinics right now) at the RR as I needed some group motivation to keep me going. We did 4K and it felt wayyyy better than Tuesday. Might have been the group, or maybe the lack of wind.

Why is it that shorter distances I feel like crying but I can run 21K no problemo??

And now it's back to work for 2 days before the long weekend. I really should have taken the whole week off!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

~What I did this Weekend~

The weekend is over but for once I didn't dread Monday because I have taken a few days off this week. Yay!!! Good thing because this weekend was BUSY and I didn't get nearly as many thing done as I wanted to.

Friday the sod was delivered for our backyard. When I came home from work hubby was busy working on the irrigation system for the sprinkler in the back yard.

Sod!!!
He took a break and we went for dinner at a new pub close to home. I was pretty good with what I ate except there was a fair amount of cheese in the dishes and I think my quesadilla was fried in some oil because it was a bit greasy.
After dinner we stopped at Home Depot and finally found some planters!! We bought 2 tall ones for in front of the garage and one shorter one for the front stairs. I love them!!


Saturday morning we woke up early and planted 6 pots full of flowers. They are so pretty and now it really feels like spring!! Fingers crossed we don't get any snow or hail!! While I slipped away to go to the hairdresser (how convenient!) hubby, his dad and another friend came over to lay the sod.


Back yard before

Back yard before- working on the irrigation
  When I came back form the hairdresser (shorter and a little darker do') and the sod is all laid!! Good job guys!! It looks beautiful and I love seeing green instead of brown dirt when I look out the window now!!


<>
Sod and garden plot

Sod!!
To celebrate finally having sod we had a BBQ (and also to thank our helpers). It's so nice to finally see the back yard coming together- in a few weeks we will be able to relax in the back without getting dirt in our teeth!
I didn't eat very well on Saturday. Our friends brought some cookies which I had a couple without even thinking "oh yah- sugar!! Not supposed to be eating these." Then I remembered that I allow myself one cheat day so I didn't feel quite as bad.

Sunday we got up early to run with our running group even though we are between clinics. Some of our friends are training for the Calgary half marathon so I figured it would be nice to run part of the way at least with them. It was so windy out and I thought I may have under dressed in a t shirt and capris. Thankfully the sun warmed us up so the feeling came back into my hands. It wasn't a fast run (the wind was so tough).

Total Distance- 8.73K
Total Time- 1:01:14
Average Pace- 7:01 min/km -little too slow!

After our run we rushed home to get ready for our first outdoor bike ride of the year! Our friends were meeting us at our house to go for a short, leisure ride. I was a little concerned because the wind was evil and if they hadn't been joining us I for sure would have bailed on the ride! Even with the sun shining, I decided to wear long tights and my running jacket as I didn't think I would stay very warm on the bike with just shorts and a cycle jersey.


Since it was our first ride of the season we took it pretty easy. There are a few decent hills around our place so we took out time. About 30 minutes into the ride our friend shouted out that he had a flat. So we pulled over to the side of a driveway and he started changing it. He had a slow leak so he wasn't totally surprised that it deflated. He changed it and putting the tube into the tire he broke the stem. So I gave him my spare tube. He put that it, filled 'er up and up and up and up and up... pinch flat!! Luckily hubby had a spare also so third times the charm!!

Fixing a flat- 3rd times the charm
It took almost 30 minutes to change the tire so we decided to just turn around at this point. We turned around INTO the wind. I have never gone down a steep hill before and felt like the wind was pushing me back up it! It was nuts!! There were a few times where I felt I was being blown into the ditch. It was awful!! I just laughed because it was just a leisure ride but it sure was hard work.

Total Distance- 22.03K
Total Time- 1:11
Average Pace- 18.5 K/Hr

After the bike ride hubby made up a delicious lunch of sandwiches and quinoa salad. It was very good and we sure worked up an appetite. For such a short workout we sure expended a lot of energy.

Unfortunately my eating went downhill in the afternoon. Hubby brought out the chips so I had a few, plus there were some leftover cookies asking to be eaten and I couldn't refuse. We had a healthy dinner of steak and caesar salad but I am beating myself up over those chips and cookies. It is so hard to resist things when they are sitting in the pantry waiting to be gobbled up. This is why junk can't be in my house ever!

It's a new week and I WILL stay on top of my sugar free challenge. It will be worth it in the end!!

Hope you all had a good weekend!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dear Blogger...

You suck!! Thanks for eating my last two published posts and another draft post!! Pretty rude if you ask me!

The No Sugar diet is on track. I had a good dinner last night (homemade Caesar salad and BBQ chicken) and managed to ignore the stupid voices in my head telling me that I should eat the peanut butter M&Ms in my office. Jerks!!! I know I should just throw them out but I need to learn self control when those things are in the house. You can do it!!! That's the voice in my head I will listen to...

I got out for a short run last night and it was amazing! First outdoor shorts run this year. Unfortunately the shorts chafed so won't be wearing those shorts again until my thighs disappear (not likely). It was a little windy for my liking too but it was nice to have a cool breeze as it was 20C.


Total Distance- 3.57K
Total Time- 22:56
Average Pace- 6:25

I was reading my SELF magazine last night and they have a Drop 10 Challenge right now which includes a whole bunch of food plans!! I am so using their ideas!!They even have a shopping list for you each week!! Idiot proof!!!

Only a few more hours until my 5 day weekend starts!!! Can't.wait!!! Sod is sitting on the driveway waiting to be laid- which will occur as soon as hubby finishes the irrigation for the sprinkler system today. Just hope it doesn't die waiting...

HAPPY WEEKEND!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

~Three Things Thursday~

1. So far the “diet” is going well. I resisted the temptation to have a Dilly Bar at work as one of my co-workers decided to treat the office. Gee thanks!! The biggest opps is that I didn’t eat a real dinner last night! I had a smoothie when I got home from work as we were planning on going running around 6:30. I decided to read my book for a bit and I fell asleep! So no run and no dinner :(  I did finish my book though!!


Just say no to the Dilly Bar
2. I am taking a much needed break next week- our vacation plans for this month fell through but I need some time off before I go craaazzzy. So I am taking a couple days off at the beginning of the week. I have my end of lease car inspection on Monday so I think I will go car shopping, plant some flowers and do a massive spring cleaning. Our windows really need to be washed!!

3. I am researching some things that I want to give myself as a “reward” for achieving my eating clean and weight loss goals. This nice weather has me itching to go shopping but I won’t allow myself as I need the motivation to restrain myself from eating garbage all the time and I don’t want to buy clothes that are going to be too big!! That would just be silly!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The time has come...

Last night I went out for dinner with a couple work friends to celebrate one of the girl's completion of her B.A. We went to Gaucho Brazilian BBQ. I have been to a restaurant with a similar concept before where they bring all sorts of different meats around to the tables for you to choose from. I am not a big meat-eater so this type of restaurant generally doesn't appeal to me (especially with the $35 per person price tag).

Surprisingly the experience was pretty good. It is very authentic- our server and the Barbecue Chefs (guys carrying meat on swords) were Brazilian as were the decor, music and drinks. They were also having a promotion so you could order appetizers and desserts on the house. We couldn’t pass that up!

Yes please! More meat!

No thanks! I am full!
 After stuffing ourselves at the buffet and the various types of meat brought to our table, we ordered ALL of the desserts on the menu. We couldn’t decide on which ones to try and since they were free we thought it was the perfect opportunity to try them all!

Five Brazilian Desserts
I couldn’t even tell you what the name of each one is- one was chocolate, one was banana, one was pineapple, another was apple flan and the last one was a mousse. The banana and pineapple ones were quite good. We were already very full at this point so we didn’t even eat all the desserts!!

We practically had to be rolled out of the restaurant as we were so stuffed. While I enjoy the selection at buffets, it is just too tempting to eat everything in sight and overindulge.

This leads me to my next point...

It’s time… to start taking my diet seriously! Ever since HBBC  ended in mid January, my diet has been all over the place. I don’t ever want to get to the point where I can’t have something because then I just crave it more. I just need to find some will power to say no (to myself) and not allow myself to overindulge every.single.day. It’s starting to get out of control and I don’t like how I feel (sluggish, guilty, highs and lows), look (not so toned, food baby), and how my clothes fit (snug and uncomfortable).

So today is the first day of my greatly reduced sugar and processed food diet. I am not saying no to either completely because I don’t think it is realistic. I still eat out occasionally (either at restaurants or other people’s houses) so I can’t always control everything I am served. I also want to allow myself to have dessert once a week so I don’t feel deprived and go off the deep end.

I am going to try this for about a month (till June 11th) and see how it goes. The goal is to lose 5-10 pounds. I have a race in about 2.5 weeks so it would be nice to drop a few pounds ASAP. I also have to buy a pretty new dress for my cousin’s wedding in a month so that’s something to keep me motivated.

Most importantly, I want to feel good about myself. I am hoping that as the weather gets nicer (+19C today!), I will less inclined to sit around and eat junk food. This also means I will be wearing slightly less clothes (shorts, tank tops, skirts) so I want to be happy with how I look.

My goals for this week:
- Reduce my coffee with cream intake (max 1 cup per day)
- No desserts or treats during the week
- 8 glasses of water per day minimum
- Plan out all my meals for the rest of the week

Now to come up with a reward for myself for accomplishing this goal!! It will involve shopping…

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Different Kind of Run...

Hashing... no, it's not like hash, although running can be addictive like drugs!

I took this quote off the Calgary Hash House Harriers website because I think it explains it best:

"Hashing is a non-competitive cross country run through varied terrain. Hashers follow a trail set by "hares". The FROP'S (front of the pack) get to find the trail; so the BOP's (back of the pack) don't run nearly as far. Hashing is to competitive running what slo-pitch is to major league baseball. If you enjoy good times and a few (or many, many) cold beers you're hasher material."


My brother-in-law just spent the last 15 or so months travelling around Asia and Australia and he did some hashing while he was there. It's a great way to be social and active at the same time! They don't take themselves too seriously and the most important part is to have fun!

Since it was my brother in law's birthday yesterday he invited the whole family to try out hashing with a local group he met. I like to run and enjoy the social aspect of running (not so much the beer though) so I thought it would be fun to check out.

The group meets at various pubs in the city each week and there is a "hare" who marks the trail ahead of time, with chalk or flour. All members have a nickname, which is generally a little crude but funny! There are markings along the trail to let you know if you are on the right track, or gone off trail. There is lots of shouting and team work to get to the end. For the most part it isn't competitive, but hubby and his brothers sure were last night! Boys!!


This is what you shout when
you are ON the right trail.

Source

I ran with my other brother-in-law's girlfriend who is a pretty active person. She has done triathlons, half marathons, rowing and hiking (to name a few things). It was also her first time hashing so we had a good time laughing at the whole experience.

Total Distance- 6.56K
Total Time- 43:58 includes lights, going off trail & back tracking
Average Pace- 6:42 min/KM

Last night's run didn't involve crazy terrain but we have been warned that you often need to bring a full change of clothes as the trail can include crossing streams, trekking through mud and forests. I also think that outrageous outfits are encouraged- leopard tights, neon coloured spandex shorts, hats with flaps...

After the run we took over a section of the lounge and "awards" were given out. There was lots of singing of inappropriate but hilarious songs, laughing and beer chugging. I also think heckling is encouraged!

It was a great night and a fun way to change up the regular running routine. It actually made you very aware of your surroundings as you had to look on sidewalks, and streetlights for the markings to make sure you were on the right trail.

Have you heard of or tried hashing?

Monday, May 9, 2011

~What I did this Weekend~

Friday (seems so long ago!) we went to hot yoga after work. We went to a new studio that our favourite yoga instructor recently opened, called Beyond Yoga. The studio itself isn’t much to get excited about- doesn’t have a mirror (which I find helps me correct my form), the change rooms are teeny tiny, location is slightly noisy and the parking is okay but Ning totally makes up for all these minor things. With my sore glute I thought lots of stretching would help it. There were a few poses that I had to be careful in because of the tightness but for the most part I totally forgot about my aching glute!


After yoga we went home and hubby made a yummy chicken and rice dinner. It was nice to have a home cooked meal after a week of KD and frozen pizza. This is what happens when meal planning gets pushed aside. We watched a pretty interesting movie, Fair Game.


It was a pretty intense movie and really makes you think about the things going on in your own backyard (or your neighbor’s). I would definitely recommend this movie.

Saturday I slept in and made it out for a run before the thunderstorm blew in. I planned to do 7K but I just wasn’t feeling it. It was a beautiful outside and the wind was better than a couple days before. I cut it short at 6.35K. Good enough. My glute didn’t hurt while running but it was still bothering me when I walked. I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house and doing laundry. Oh what a glamorous life I lead!!

We went over to our friends’ house for dinner. We hadn’t seen them in over a month so it was nice to catch up! We watched the Vancouver Canucks lose Game 5 :( Yes, I have jumped on the Canuck playoff bandwagon.

Sunday was Mother’s Day so we invited my mom over for brunch. Afterwards we went to the garden centre to look for some planters and flowers for the front of our house. My mom has quite the green thumb so we thought this would be a nice way to spend some time together. I didn’t want to go too overboard with the plants though as I am sure we will still have some nasty weather in the next month or so. Unfortunately we didn’t see any planters we liked (why do I have to be so picky?) but we picked up quite a few flowers. For now they are in the garage until we find planters.

For dinner we went over to the in-laws where the boys made dinner for everyone. Afterwards we went home and I caught up on last week’s Grey’s Anatomy episode while folding laundry. Multi-tasking at its best! It was a pretty good episode- the story line is really moving now!

The good news is that my glute pain is now 98% gone. My hip is no longer clicking and I barely notice any tightness or pain. I don’t know what it was from, or what caused it to go away but it’s gone! Let’s hope it stays away forever!

And a new, busy work week has begun. Once again I can't wait until Friday rolls around. Le sigh.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Randomness

Here are some random thoughts for you on this lovely Friday!

- I took a planned rest day last night and watched TV most of the night. Reality TV gets me every time!! Good thing I have the PVR to tape all the trash so I can watch it commercial free!

- I pulled something in my glute. No idea how!! I got up from my desk yesterday afternoon and I feel like I have a charlie horse on the right side of my glutes!! No idea what it is from. I tried rolling, stretching, punching, and massaging it but it won't go away!! Suggestions?

- I bought The Hunger Games last night. The series has lots of good reviews so I have my next book lined up and ready to go after I finish Fly Away Home.



- I am trying out a new hot yoga studio tonight. Hopefully it will help my tight glute!!

- Busy weekend ahead- dinner with friends, landscaping/spring cleaning, Mother's Day brunch and Mother's day dinner.

- I bought a new blender! Haven't tried it out yet but I will this weekend. I think I am going to try a spinach smoothie...

Hope everyone has a fun weekend!! Happy Mother's Day to all Mothers!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

~Three Things Thursday~

1. I am in love with spring! I pulled my bright spring jacket out of the closest and my outfits are slowly making the change from dark winter colours to bright spring colours! I need to pull out my skirts this weekend. It's almost as fun as shopping for a new wardrobe!!

2. Unfortunately with spring comes rain. It's in the forecast for the next 4-5 days. I guess I should be happy that it isn't snow. It sure makes it hard to landscape or get out for a bike ride. Fingers crossed the rains holds off long enough that I can do both this weekend!

3. Post half marathon runs- due to rain on Tuesday I decided to do a 5K treadmill run instead of meeting up with my running group. Even though our clinic is officially over with the completion of our race on Saturday, there are a few of us that are training for races this month, before the next clinic starts up again on May 31st. We decided to continue our Tuesday runs, which is great when it doesn't rain and I bail!

Yesterday I didn't feel like driving to the Running Room for the group run so I did a solo run in my own neighborhood. I was going to run 5-6K but I didn't have dinner before going out around 7pm so I ran out of energy halfway through the run. FAIL FAIL FAIL! I know better!! I only ended up running 3.5K.

Hubby and I really need to start meal planning again. Hubby does most all of the cooking and he usually has the best intentions at the beginning of the week but sometimes work gets in the way, or in last night's case, building the mantle for our fireplace. When we don't cook dinner, that also means I don't have lunch for the next day. This is not good for my waist or my wallet or my workouts!

I really need to buy another blender as a smoothie seems to be a good pre-run fuel source for me if I don't have time to eat dinner. Anyone have a good pre or post workout smoothie recipe to share?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Big Run Half Marathon April 30, 2011 Race Report

Pre-Race

The weather wasn't looking too great on Friday morning- snowing yet again, but when I woke up on Saturday the sky was clear and no threatening clouds in sight. I still opted to wear long tights instead of capris because it was below 0C. I packed about 3 different shirts in my bag in case the weather changed drastically before the start of the race.

We quickly ate a breakfast of scrambled eggs. Our blender died a couple days before and I haven't had a chance to replace it. Normally I like to have a smoothie for breakfast as well.

We arrived at Bowness Park around 7:15am and quickly found a parking spot. It was a bit early and the race crew was still setting up. It is a small race- only 200 racers for three distances. Our running group slowly trickled in and we waited around anxiously for the race to start. I debated on whether or not I should wear my jacket. There was nowhere to drop it off partway through the race and it was still a little too chilly to ditch it at the start. I almost forgot to put my Garmin on! I ran to and from the car to retrieve it so I had a short warm up.

Just as I was heading to the start line, Leigh came up to me. I briefly met her hubby, B and their adorable dog, Harley! Leigh was racing the 10K. We wished each other luck and then it was off to the Start line for me.

Race

1K-5K
The start was pretty anti-climactic as we couldn't hear the race director over the generator. The first 5K was great. A group of us ran together- Penny, Paul, Howard, Kristen, Catherine, Karen and I. It made the time go by so quickly. By the first walk break (10 minutes) my jacket was off and around my waist. Paul ended up stashing his jacket behind a tree in the first 5K as he didn't want to carry it around for the next 20K!!

We did the first 5K in around 32 minutes so I was right on pace, if not a bit fast. At this point a couple people started to drift off and then it was only Karen, Howard and I running together.

5K-10K
There were lots of volunteers along the Half Marathon course and once we reach 6K we were running on part of the course for the Hypothermic Half that I PR'd at in February. Part of the course is an out and back so we started to see people come back when we were at the 7K mark. Hubby looked strong!

One thing I found odd is that the first aid station was at 9K- it was the turn around point of the out and back. I always carry my own water during a long race so it didn't really affect me but if I was depending on the aid stations I wouldn't have been too happy that the first one was so late into the race.

I looked at my watch at the 10K mark and I was around 1:07. I was pretty happy with that but knew that the tough part of the course was still to come.

10K-17K
Around 13K we turned into a residential area and uphill we went. I hoped this hill was the gruelling hill we had been warned about but it wasn't. It was just the baby warm-up hill. We turned onto the pathways and the real hills started! They were rolling so there was some relief in between each incline. Karen dropped back and Howard and I tried to power through the hills. I ran some and I walked some.
Even with all the hill training I did, the hills were kicking my butt. I didn't want to reach the top of the hills with a super high heart rate and outta control breathing so I power walked a few of them.
At one point I lamented to Howard that I am disappointed that I was walking some of the hills and he said there was no point in killing yourself on the hills unless you are trying to PR. Well, that's what I was trying to do!! He said that we had about 5K to go and if I wanted to secure a PR we needed to do a sub 30 minute 5K. I haven't been able to do that in training or in a race but I was willing to give it a try.

The last hill was a one super steep downhill which I took advantage of. Howard didn't want to trash his legs so he walked down it. I was by myself for about 1K until he caught up with me again. I continued eating my Gu Chomps as I had been since about 40 minutes into the race. I was fading but my legs felt pretty good still and I wanted to get as close to my PR time as I could.

17K- 21.1K
Around 18K you run past the park where the finish line is, except that you are on the other side of the river. Seeing that finish line made the end of the race seem near so I tried to stay on pace. I knew that the sub 30minute 5K wasn't happening (this time!) but a half marathon PR still wasn't out of the question.

It's funny how in those final kilometers you feel like you are going so slow but I was right on pace. I had stopped looking at my watch because I didn't want to beat myself up about how I wasn't going to PR. I resolved myself to be okay with being in between Goal A and Goal B- 2:25.

At the 1K marker, I looked at my watch and saw 1:15. If I pushed a little harder I could sneak in a PR! The finish line was in sight but it didn't seem to get any closer I gave it everything I could (while still feeling like I wasn't moving) and even managed a sprint at the very end.

I got my PR- by 19 seconds!!! 2:22:14

I had to wait until I got home to check my Hypo Half time as I knew I was either just above or just below my previous PR.

What a great race and I definitely redeemed myself after my PW 2 weeks ago.

This race was too small to have an official photographer and our "unofficial" photographer, Howard paced me instead.
Almost.done!!

Sprinting to the finish...

Done!!

More bling to add to the collection!
Post- Race

I waited a bit for the last runners in our group to finish. Everyone had a solid race and there were lots of PRs. My quick hubby did it in 1:50:xx. Great job honey!!
My amazing running group
I grabbed some post race food (banana, juice, granola bar, Crackers, water and Hot chocolate) and we headed back home. I prepped an ice bath and made sure it was cold enough. It sure was- my feet hurt so badly and I could barely read my book as I was shivering! Not smiling like I was last time I did one! After I warmed up I took another long 4 hour nap.

Big Run Medal
Reflections

I guess I can take back my comment about this race being jinxed as the weather was amazing!! I wish it was a degree or two warmer at the start so I would have been comfortable ditching my jacket at the beginning but it didn't end up being too annoying around my waist for 20K.

I talked to a couple of the other runners who did both the Calgary Police Half and the Big Run and the consensus is that the Big Run is a harder course due to all the hills. The weather really does play a huge factor in how the race goes.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

~Monthly Stats- April 2011~

Recap of April and my progress towards my GOALS for 2011.

Total # runs- 13
Total # kms- 128.4K Highest month ever!!
2011 Total # kms- 404.2K-only 595.8K to go to reach my 2011 goal of 1000K
Best run- Back 9 (Hill of Terror) 10k - it was a tough route but it taught me that I can run a hard course and still maintain some speed. Plus the gorgeous weather helped!
Worst run- Calgary Police Half Marathon - bad weather, icy pathways & hilly course = craptastic race
Total # races- 2! Calgary Police Half Marathon and Big Run Half Marathon
Total # non-run workouts- 4. Not good enough!
Total # books read this month- 2!! Finished off the Millennium trilogy. Now to find another good series- The Hunger Games has been recommended to me.
Eating Habits- 3.0/5 Easter killed me! Too much chocolate, not enough willpower. May WILL be better!

April Reflections

Finally there is light at the end of the winter tunnel!! I am not naive enough to believe that the snow is behind us but we have had enough nice weather for me to get excited about summer! Most of the snow has melted, and I have worn capris and gone jacket-less for a few runs.

I managed to get a PR and PW in the half marathon distance this month! The PW was definitely weather related as I was able to get a PR on a hillier course 2 weeks later. I am feeling more confident in my running abilities, partially due to my highest mileage month.

There are some areas that I need to work on starting this month- more cross training (bike, swim, yoga), eating better, and reading more. May is also going to be a bit different in terms of running because I racing a 10K at the end of the month. I will be reducing my distance and increasing my speed.

Monday, May 2, 2011

~What I did this Weekend~

Friday I spent all evening watching the Royal Wedding recap. It was a beautiful wedding and they truly look like they are very much in love. I set out all my racing gear before going to bed at a reasonable hour. The weather had cleared up significantly on Friday afternoon- sky was clear and barely a cloud in sight. I know this city well enough that anything can change in 5 minutes so I wasn't going to get my hopes up until Saturday morning.


Saturday we woke up early and headed to Bowness Park for our 2nd half marathon of the month! Thankfully the weather cooperated and there was sunshine and running friendly temperatures. I will do a full recap of the race separately but overall this was a great race. I ran on pace and finished pretty strong. I even pulled out a 19 second PR!!! It’s not much but it’s enough, especially on a hill course.

Bib and Race Shirt
After the race we headed home for the traditional ice bath. It was so cold that my feet felt like I was getting frostbite. I could only handle 5 minutes*!! After warming up in the hot shower I napped for about 4 hours! Hey- it’s my reward for working so hard!!

The rest of the day we hung out and watched a movie - How Do You Know


I think the acting was pretty good but I wasn’t overly impressed with the storyline itself. I was surprised because it was full of actors that I usually enjoy watching but I just couldn’t quite get into it. Has anyone else watched this movie and felt this way?

Sunday we went for brunch with about 20 people from our running group to celebrate the completion of our races. The Executive Royal Inn has an amazing Sunday brunch and it is fairly reasonably priced. I would go back there again in a heartbeat! We stuffed ourselves and exchanged stories about our races. I seriously love this group!!

After our very satisfying brunch (where I ate far too much but I think I earned it!) we went to my parents’ house for a visit. We also wanted to transplant a tree from my parents’s backyard to our backyard. It was a Spruce tree that I received as a wedding favour from my best friend’s brother’s wedding about 7 years ago. It was super small- only about 5 inches tall and now it is about 3 feet. The bride’s family has a tree farm that my hubby coincidentally worked at the summer prior to their wedding. So for all we know he planted that tree originally!! I just hope it doesn’t die!!

Now we are on to another week! Today is Election Day in Canada so I will be exercising my duty as a citizen by voting after work.

* Those 5 minutes were so worth it as my legs feel about 95% better!