Friday, April 29, 2011

Big Run Half Marathon Goals

Yesss, it's that time again!

After the craptastic race less than 2 weeks ago, I am a little apprehensive to make too lofty of goals since not much has changed in 2 weeks. Guess that's the disadvantage to having races so close together- you don't really have time to make any training adjustments. Plus the weather hasn't been behaving for the last 2 days (it is currently snowing) so who knows- it could be a repeat of 2 weeks ago!!

These goals are going to sound somewhat familiar!

Goal A- Beat my PR of 2:22. Not likely as this course is hillier than the one that I PR'd on but I can always dream!

Goal B- Be under 2:30. This is realistic and I wouldn't have to kill myself to do this.

Goal C- Finish under 2:33. I will be quite upset if I don't achieve this and if not, I am blaming the bad weather!!

The manager at the Running Room jinxed us by saying that this race has never had bad weather. Never say never!! Especially in Calgary.

Whatever the weather ends up doing, I am going to have fun, smile and run a good race. There is a medal at the end which will keep me going around 19K I am sure. See yah on the flip side!

It's Royal Wedding Friday!!

The weather turned out to be pretty nice for the Royal Wedding today, but it's still snow/raining here so I am trying to remain positive about tomorrow's race. After a few really nice runs since the Police Half Marathon ridiculousness I was really hoping we would have pleasant weather for this race. Shirley, our Running Room store manager totally jinxed us (she said this race has never had bad weather!) and I am sure she will be receiving some hate mail!!! Some may or may not come from me!

Even with the crap weather, I am looking forward to running a good race and seeing lots of my running and blogging buddies. It will all be worth it at the end when I get another shiny medal!!

Good luck on your 10K Leigh!! You will do awesome- just try to not be sick at the end! Haha!

I spent all last night watching hours of pre- Royal Wedding coverage and rolling my legs. They feel way better now but I am going to roll them some more tonight when I am watching the recorded Royal Wedding. I was able to catch the 'balcony kiss' live. They are such a beautiful couple and look very much in love!

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Hope you all have a good weekend!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crappy Update...

And it's a spring time blizzard out there...

This picture doesn't show the snow coming down very well. It's a whiteout!! I can no longer see the buildings in the distance.


~Three Things Thursday~

1. I have a date tonight!! It's not with my hubby, but he approves. It's with my rolling stick!! My legs have been so sore after the Hill of Terror and last night's run but I was too lazy to roll them. I am paying for it now!! My quads are screaming at me. I just hope I can make it through the day until my date!
My date!
2. I have another confession... I am beyond excited for the Royal Wedding tomorrow! I am slightly jealous of my sis because she gets to share her birthday with the Royal Wedding! How awesome is that?

Aren't they adorable??

I considered getting up super early to watch all the festivities but I have a race on Saturday so it probably isn't a good idea to be all sleep deprived. Plus I gotta work on Friday... So the PVR is set for 12 hours of Royal Wedding coverage and as soon as I get home on Friday afternoon I am plopping down on the couch and settling in to watch it all! Can't wait to see Kate's dress, and all the fancy royal outfits and hats.

3. Last night's run- 6K steady. It was another beautiful evening, even if we did have the threat of rain and some nasty wind. I almost overdressed by wearing my jacket but thankfully I came to my senses (took the advice of others) and put my jacket back in the car. I was wearing a thin long sleeve shirt and capris which was just perfect.
My running buddy Kristen showed up- she has been super busy, working during our running times so I haven't seen her in about 3 weeks. It was nice to catch up with her and talk about our upcoming race in 2 days!!

CoCo Stats:

1K- 6:08
2K- 6:29
3K- 6:50 brief walk
4K- 6:43
5K- 6:06
0.54K- 5:27
Total Distance- 5.54K
Total Time- 35:11
Average Pace- 6:21

We are supposed to get a lot of precipitation between now and Saturday morning- snow and rain. Please don't let it be true!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hill of Terror and Willpower

Last night we had 10K race pace on schedule with our running group. Our instructor was feeling exceptionally cruel and decided to have us run part of a route known as the "Back 9" which includes the Hill of Terror.

Remember the speed training session with Darren? Well that's the hill we ran all the way up. It is long- 3.5K and a pretty steep incline. Am I ever glad I did all that hill training!! Even with the 10 and 1s the hills were killer. By the time I would catch my breathe and bring my heart rate back to normal it would be time to run up the hill again!

While much talked about and feared, this route was new for me. It was nice to have a change of scenery even if the hill left me close to puking. Once we reached the top of the hill we ran along the ridge for a bit before slowly going back down. The downhills were nice but my knee started to complain ever so slightly so I didn't push it. The evening was so gorgeous, around 10C* and I was just trying to soak it all in. Finally some green is popping up and there was even some wildflowers along the way.

For the most part I felt strong on the run. Considering how many hills there were on this route I think I did pretty well. I know there will be a couple good hills on the HM course this weekend so I hope I can hold this pace for twice the distance.

Total Distance- 10.34K
Total Time- 1:11
Average Pace- 6:51

Yesterday was a good day in terms of eating. I had to fight the major urge to go to McDonald's for a quick dinner as I was running out of time between an appointment after work and the run. I only had about 15 minutes between getting home and having to leave again so obviously there wasn't much time to eat dinner. Thankfully I didn't have time to actually stop at the golden arches. Hubby had made a couple mini chicken pot pies so I gobbled 2 of those down before heading back out.

So what do you eat before a run if you have only 30 minutes before the run? I need to have some back up plan fueling options so I don't eat fast food out of desperation. I can only imagine how that run would have gone if I actually had fast food only 30 minutes before. I really would have been puking on the hill! I am sure Kara Goucher doesn't eat fast food just before a training run!

** I wore capris and a thin long sleeve tech shirt and I was overdressed! I would have been fine with a t-shirt.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Yoga= End of Cross Training Funk

The work week is back in full swing and I needed some relaxing yoga to get me out of my cross-training funk. I always seem to have great intentions when it comes to cross-training but sometimes when I am not accountable to anyone I let other things get in the way. Why??

I think I am going to start clipping out pictures from Running magazines and sticking them up around the house to motivate me to workout and eat better. I figure if I put a picture of a Kara Goucher in front of the chocolate chips I will be less inclined to eat a handful.

Look at that body!!

Hubby and I headed to the yoga studio after work. We arrived early and almost thought it was closed because there weren't any cars in the parking lot. Easter Monday isn't an actual holiday but I think a lot of people take it off because school is out so I thought it was a possibility that the studio was closed. Thankfully it was not so we got our sweat on!

We had the rest of the night to hang out which was nice. I had some laundry to finish up (you know, because I didn't have enough time to get it done while I relaxed during my 4 day weekend!) and I watched some trashy reality TV (love the Kardashians!). Hubby made a great steak and grilled veggie dinner. For the first time this year we were able to EAT OUTSIDE!!! Yay!!! It was a still a bit chilly but finally it has warmed up enough that I don't need a snowsuit to step outside. Oh the little things that excite us!!

I see a few of my local bloggy friends have taken their bikes outside for a ride in the last couple of days. The streets near my house have been cleaned so I think I will get out there soon. Hopefully I haven't jinxed the weather with that statement...

Monday, April 25, 2011

~What I did this Weekend~

I had a much needed extra long weekend which was amazing!! How is it already over? I was only gone from work for 1 work day and I have so much stuff to catch up on! :(

Thursday I had a lunch and spa day booked with my mom and sis. We went to Joey Tomatoes for lunch and I had a delicious salad! Unfortunately the spa wasn't anything exciting-- my massage was a little torturous and I left with a greasy head as she spent a lot of time giving me a not-so-enjoyable head massage. It took three shampoos to get all of the oil out of my hair. Ewww!!!

While I was out all day, our fireplace was being stoned. The previous owner didn't upgrade the fireplace to have any stone surrounding it so it was pretty boring drywall. We decided that our living room needed to be jazzed up so we had some stone installed and hubby just needs to make the mantle. I am so excited as I have always wanted a mantle to decorate!!

Unfortunately this meant that my house was covered in dust and the mason recommended not cleaning it for a least a day just in case some wet mortar fell. The kitchen was looking pretty sketchy at this point so we decided to order pizza instead of making dinner. This was the beginning of the  un-healthy eating.

Friday was a lazy day. I spent majority of it cleaning up after the dust-fest so may that counts as cross training? We had to move the furniture back into place so there was some weight lifting involved! The carb overload continued when we had homemade perogies with hubby's brother as is their family tradition for Good Friday. Who can say no to homemade perogies? Not me!! We did have a salad but it is probably cancelled out by the big slice of chocolate zucchini cake I had for dessert. But it was sooo gooooddd!!

Saturday I spent reading like crazy! I am on the third book of the Millennium trilogy, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. It was really good to start with and then it started to get boring in the middle and now I am in full on can't-put-book-down mode!!! So captivating! I want to find out what happens but I also don't want the trilogy to end.
Hubby put together an Easter Egg hunt for me (yes I am 5!). It was fun, except for some reason I thought there was an expiration date on all the chocolate so I ate it like it was going bad. afterwards!

Sunday arrived before I knew it. Have you noticed that I didn't post any workouts other than cleaning? I finally put an end to the laziness on Sunday and did a taper run. 6K LSD. I wore capris and a long sleeve sweater and it felt amazing!!  It was so nice to sweat again!!

Total Distance- 5.9K
Total Time- 39:49 min

Average Pace- 6:44 min/km

After the run we rushed home to get ready for family Easter meal #1- Brunch at the Brother-in-law's. We had some delicious crepes, lots of fruit, bacon and mimosas!! I had worked up an appetite that's for sure!

After digesting that meal, we headed just out of town to my sis' house for Easter meal #2. Turkey!!! It was nice to visit with the other side of the family and it was warm enough to sit out on the deck. We watched the hockey game (cried a little when the Canucks lost in OT), and ate too much. My nieces and nephew are growing up too fast!

Suddenly it was 11pm on Sunday night and time to go home. It was a great weekend, even though I didn't workout much (lame) and overindulged far too much. Now it's time to get my diet on track!!

Five days till my next half marathon!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Calgary Police Half Marathon Race Report- April 17, 2011

I had a pretty good night's rest and woke up just before 6:00am. We quickly got ready and scarfed down some scrambled eggs and packed a smoothie for the drive. We met up with our running group to car pool before driving down to the race location.
The snow continued to fall all morning so there wouldn't be clear pathways for the course. It wasn't too cold out, about -5C so I wore long tights, compression socks, a long sleeve technical shirt, jacket, headband and gloves. I felt a little cool walking outside so I knew I would be perfect on the run.
We went inside to stay warm before the race started and the line up for the bathroom wasn't too long. We did get there about 30 minutes before the race which helped. I know a lot of other people complained about parking and directions to the start but we had no problem.

Just before 8:00am we headed to the start line. I just wanted the race to start. The anticipation was awful! I think the race started on time, but I wasn't really looking at the clock so I don't know for sure. As soon as they said "GO!" apparently a few people fell right at the start line as it was slippery.


It didn't take long to get through the Start- I think a lot of people were still inside when the race started. The first couple of KMs were on the road and it was slushy!! It was so hard to keep your balance. The snow was coming down and sticking to our faces. I ran with Penny, my clinic instructor the entire way which was awesome.

The course footing alternated from slushy to snowy to icy. There were lots of volunteers out and they did a great job of pointing out icy sections. Around 4K we were on a fairly narrow hilly pathway. Unfortunately it was extremely icy here and a lot of people fell. I pretty much just walked all the downhills as there was no point in trying to run them. Later I heard that there were broken bones, sprains and concussions that people sustained from the icy conditions.

5K- 10K
The course started to get a little better closer to Heritage Park and along the Reservoir, probably because it wasn't as hilly. This area was really familiar to me as this is where I did my Learn to Run clinic in 2008. Thinking about how far I have come along really got me through this part of the race. We even saw one guy cross country skiing!! I was slightly jealous of him! (He wasn't racing). It was during this part that one of our running buddies ran up behind us and screamed in our ears. Needless to say we weren't too impressed. Jerk!

I remember around the 10K mark seeing my watch at 1:16 and thinking there was not going to be any PRs today! I was going to have to a negative split to beat my time from my first half marathon!! I still had a couple big hills to tackle so it wasn't looking promising!

Well the rumour of part of the course being under water was slightly true. There were a couple spots that were almost flooded. It was made worse by the number of people trying to get through the area at the same time- making waves. It wasn't terrible though and by the time you reached that spot your feet were already wet.
The big Weaselhead hill was around 14K. You could hear the crowd of people cheering at the top for quite a ways before you reached the hill. That definitely pumped me up!  I ran the 1st half of the hill and then started walking. I ran the last quarter of the hill but I was hyperventilating at the top so I had to walk for a minute to catch my breathe! There was a bagpiper at the top and it was such a great feeling to conquer that hill. I wish I could have run the whole thing but I was just too tired from all the nasty footing.

One spectator had a sign at the top that said "Run like you stole a cop's donut!" which made me laugh!! It is the Police Half Marathon after all and there were plenty of cops around! Once we reached the top of that hill we were in more of a residential area. We were running mostly on the road and it was no longer secluded. There were way more spectators and volunteers cheering us on.

It was around 15K where I heard some people shout my name to cheer to me on. I looked and saw a lady holding a toddler. I smiled and waved back, but had no idea who she was! I was sort of out of it at this point! Then I saw the other people she was with and it was my father-in-law and brother-in-law!! The lady is a family friend of my in-laws and it turns out a few members of her family were also racing. It was great to see them out cheering us on and it really gave me a second wind as I was starting to crash at this point.

15K- 21.1K
Pretty much throughout the entire race I was repeating mantras in my head. A couple days before the race I read an old Runner's World article about mantras so I repeated some of those plus a few of my own.

"You are stronger than you think,"
"You have done this before, you can do it again,"
"You can run 3K in your sleep,"
"Let's get this sh!t done" (is that even a mantra?? :)

I really felt like I hit a wall at 18K. I almost felt like I couldn't go on- my whole body hurt so badly. I had developed blisters early on from walking in water and snow. The only thing that kept me going was that stupid finisher's medal!! I had come too far to quit and really, I never truly felt that I needed to quit. It is supposed to hurt or else everyone would do it!

Finally the finish line was in sight. I attempted a sprint right at the end. My instructor ran with me the entire race and we finished together! A volunteer handed out the medals still in the wrapper so my instructor took mine out and put it over my head.


Official chip time - 2:33:32- personal worst
Average Pace- 7:15

Lynn and I celebrating our finish!!
Pic stolen from Karen
 Post- Race
I was so incredibly sore and stiff once I finished. I chatted with a couple of our running buddies who had finished already and we also ran into our family friends who were racing. Hubby went inside to get some food (he finished in 1:58 so he had been waiting around for awhile) and I followed him a few minutes later. The food was in the gym and you had to go down a huge flight of stairs to get to the gym floor where all the food was. There was no way my legs were ready to go down stairs so I waited at the top and stretched until I found hubby and we went home.

Me and my medal!!
 I have never wanted an ice bath so badly in my life!! As soon as I got home I filled the tub with ice cold water and willingly jumped into it! Crazy but it helps so much! I sat in it for 10 minutes reading a running magazine- how appropriate!
Best recovery aid ever!!!
 After the bath, I promptly had a 4 hour nap!! Heaven!!

After Race Thoughts
- I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed with my PW, but I know I am faster than that and a lot of things out of my control made me slower. I am injury free which is most important.
- While the race conditions sucked, it was great to see so many people we knew at the race. Congrats to Deb, Lynn and Jackie on finishing their first half marathons!!
- This race was mentally the hardest for me. I feel like I did everything right in my training and the day of the race so I can only blame the weather for sucking all my energy and making the last part of the race so hard.
- I am disappointed that there wasn't an official photographer snapping pics along the way. I would have liked some photographic evidence that I ran this race!!
- Huge thanks to all the volunteers who helped put together this race. I was amazed at how much support there was along the route, especially considering the conditions. I think it is time for me to give back.
- I am happy my in-laws surprised us by coming by and cheering for us.

I worked HARD for this baby!

Some of my amazing running buddies!!
Picture stolen from Karen

Thursday, April 21, 2011

~Three Things Thursday~

1. I signed up for a couple more races!!

Scotiabank Calgary Jugo Juice 10K- May 29th

Sprint Tri- August 21st- It will be my 4th time doing this race. I love it!!

2. Spa day today!! I took today off work to go to the Spa with my mom and sister. Looking forward to some pampering and quality time with my favourite ladies. Came at the perfect time as my back is aching.

3. Last night's run. We had a tempo 5K scheduled but most of us running had raced on Sunday so we were planning on an easy 5K. The sun was out, it was +3C and the pathways were clear!!

For an easy run I was pretty impressed with my pace. The 1st K was tough- Karen and I felt like we at 18K in a race but we pushed through it and were pleasantly surprised at the end.

CoCo Stats:
1K- 6:37
2K- 6:52 we walked for a minute or two
3K- 6:14
4K- 6:08
5K- 6:14
Total Distance- 5.04K
Total Time- 32:21 min
Average Pace- 6:25

Not bad for tired legs. That sub 30 min 5K is getting closer!! With a bit of speed training I think I can do it!

** I love how my entire reading list is "Three Things Thursday!"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Minor Heart Attack

Last night I didn't feel like driving to meet up with my running group so I opted to do a treadmill run at home. It had started snowing again as I was driving home and I am right fed up with this crazy weather.

As I walked down the stairs to the basement I noticed something dark on the carpet just passed the last stair. I thought it was a stinky present that the cat left behind... I turned on the light and he left a present alright... a freakin' dead mouse!!!

I screamed bloody murder and ran back upstairs. Hubby thought I burned myself or someone was murdering me so he came running down from the 2nd floor. I could barely squeak out that there was a dead mouse in our basement.

He grabbed some work gloves and threw the mouse in the garbage in the garage. Gross!! I am so freaked out at the thought of a mouse in my house! I used to live on a horse farm so we saw plenty of mice in the barns but never in the house. I am just thankful that my cat got it and that he didn’t drop it on my pillow or something!!

There is a bit of back story on the mouse situation. A few months ago I thought I saw a dead decomposing mouse beside my bike in the basement. I went screaming upstairs and told hubby to get rid of it. Turns out it was just a piece of garbage bag!! He chased me around with it and I hid in the bathroom even though I knew it wasn't an actual dead mouse. He told our running buddies and they still haven’t let me live it down! Now I can tell them it really did happen!!

After my heart rate went back to normal I went back downstairs to do my run. I briefly looked around to see if I could see any evidence of more mice but there wasn’t anything. I have no idea how the mouse got in. Our cat doesn’t go outside so I know he didn’t bring it in.

I did an easy 30 minutes on the treadmill. My legs are still sore from the race so I didn’t push it. My left hamstring is tight so I spent a bit of time stretching it after the run.

Total Distance- ~4K
Total Time- 30 minutes
Average Pace- 7:30

*Yes, still working on my race report. So many details to include. It will be up by the end of the week I promise!!

** Today is my Friday!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

~What I did this Weekend~

After work on Friday, hubby and I went down to the Tech Shop to pick up our race packages for the Police Half on Sunday. They weren't anything spectacular- long sleeve tech shirt and bib!! Honestly I don't mind because I would rather a medal at the end of the race and a good shirt than a bag full of useless crap.

Long sleeve technical shirt, bib and race chip
Afterwards we went to a hot yoga class at Sanguine Yoga. There was a new (to me) instructor and she was fast! It was definitely a power hot yoga class!! It was another sweat-fest and we did a few poses that were a little different. We did a shoulder stand which I thought for sure I wouldn't be able to do but surprisingly I didn't have any problems. However once we got out of the pose my back hurt a little bit. I may have pushed myself a little too much.

Shoulder Stand
The rest of Friday night was spent relaxing at home. We finally watched Black Swan which is an amazing movie! It is definitely dark and there are a few times that we were both a little freaked out but Natalie Portman definitely deserved the Oscar for that role.

Saturday was a lazy day. I slept in and spent the day doing chores around the house. I thought about doing a workout but decided it wasn't a good idea the day before my race and I was feeling sore from yoga. I didn't end up running on Friday either so my legs had a 3 day break (minus the killer yoga).

Saturday night I went over to a friend's house for a few hours for a girls night. Obviously didn't get too crazy with my early wake up call the next day but it was nice to get out and get my mind off the upcoming race.

Sunday was RACE DAY! I will put together a full report of the race, but let's say it was challenging!! It snowed pretty much all day on Saturday. The temperature hovered around freezing so the snow was melting and freezing. The course alternated between icy and slush so the footing was not ideal. It continued to snow on Sunday during the race so while it wasn't too cold out temperature-wise, we were getting wet from the snow.

No overall personal bests were made, but since this is the first time racing this course I guess it was a PB for the course! I finished in a respectable time- 2:33:32 which is about a minute slower than my 1st half marathon but considering the conditions and the tough course I am happy with this. More race details to come later!!

When we got home from the race I promptly had an ice bath. My legs were so sore and I wanted them to feel better ASAP! I then took a 4 hour nap! I was a little tired! I would have slept longer except we were going over to the in-laws for dinner.

Overall it was a great weekend!! Didn't accomplish too much  so I am  glad I only have a three day work week!!! Yay Easter!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Calgary Police Half Marathon Goals

On Sunday I will be running my 3rd half marathon! I am excited but nervous. We received an update from the race director yesterday in light of the wonderful snowy conditions we received yesterday. There was no mention of flooding along the route, only that they would sand any icy parts so this makes me hopeful.

The forecast for the next 3 days is light snow and Sunday has a high of 2C and a low of -4C. Since we are running at 8:00am I think it is realistic to expect closer to -4C temps for this race. All things considered I should be happy. I have had a pretty good training cycle, missed only a couple runs, am not injured and I have run in WAY worse (remember 2 weeks ago?).

So now is the time to make some goals for this race...

Goal A- beat my PR of 2:22. I don't think this is likely as this course has more hills and the conditions won't be as favourable as my last half marathon. Plus I don't have my regular running buddies to keep me distracted/push me...

Goal B- under 2:30. I think this is realistic. I have the training to back this up and my last 18K pace was right on target for this time.

Goal C- finish with a smile. You never know what is going to happen during 21.1K.

Either way I am going to take Redhead's advice and not let the weather prevent me from having a great race! Thanks so much to everyone who has sent me good wishes for this race- it's going to be a good one regardless of my finishing time. Good luck to Deb who is running her first half this weekend!! Hope we can meet up and celebrate our victories!
Package pick up is tonight- I hope they have some good swag and the long sleeve tech shirt is wearable.

Now to decide on what to wear on Sunday and revamp my racing playlist!

Two days... holy sh!t!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

~Three Things Thursday~

1. As a Calgarian, I feel like all we do is complain about our bad weather! It snowed again last night/this morning. When we went for our run last night it was raining, but as it got colder last night is started to accumulate.

I woke up this morning to this:
This picture doesn't give this snow storm justice!
Driving to work, I thought I was either going to drive into the ditch or get stuck in the middle of the road from high-centering my car!! It was a white-knuckle drive for sure. Going up a super steep hill by my house my car slowed down and couldn't get past 20km/hr with the gas pedal floored. How I made it to work, I don't know...

2. So with all this snow the chances of having a jacket-free race on Sunday are slim. Right now I am just hoping it isn't raining/sleeting. I have to start thinking about goals- maybe just starting is a good one! I was telling my instructor yesterday that I am pretty nervous for this race. I know I can do it, but I think I have put more pressure on myself to do well even though I know it is a harder course and obviously the conditions are less than ideal. You can't PR every race!! (Ok maybe some people can... :P)

3. Last night was the last training run before Sunday's race! I think I might get out for a short run on Friday so my legs don't have a 3 day run break. It was windy and rainy. Not many people in our clinic showed up but I figured if Sunday's race is going to be like this then I would like to be prepared. It wasn't too cold out, but the wind whipped rain into your face and just soaked you. I couldn't tell where the rain ended and the sweat started!

We did the Trampoline Alley 6K route. I ran with my instructor and we kept a decent clip (for me). Obviously won't be maintaining this pace for this race but makes me somewhat optimistic that I can hopefully get closer to my 5K goal with a bit of speed training.

Lap 1- 6:19
Lap 2- 6:25
Lap 3- 6:22

Lap 4- 6:08
Lap 5- 6:05
Lap 6- 6:07
Total Distance- 5.86K
Total Time- 36:37 min

Average Pace- 6:14 min/km

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Speed Training

Speed training... you kill me every time!!
Last night we had a speed training session with Darren, another clinic instructor. This is my 3rd time having a speed training session with him and it does not get easier with time! (well maybe it would if we did it more frequently but once every 3-4 months doesn't cut it!)

We did the same workout as the last times- pyramid. We went to a nearby death hill and ran up for the designated interval, jogged down to the bottom and rested for a minute before starting the next interval. The intervals were 45 sec, 1 min, 1.25 min, 1.5 min, 1.25 min, 1 min, 45 sec.

For what seems like a short workout, it is killer! I could definitely see how speed training will improve your overall time, but you sure have to put a lot of effort in!! Darren said you should add some sort of speed training (intervals) to your program from the beginning, assuming you already have a base. This is good to know since I have wondered at what point I should be adding speed training. Obviously its a bit late to incorporate into this training cycle but next time I will do it.

Total Distance- 4.68K
Total Time- 30:23 min
not including restsAverage Pace- 6:29 min/km

This data doesn't mean too much since I didn't record each interval. It includes jogging/walking down the hill so not truly representative of the workout but believe it was hard!!

It was around 6C last night and I didn't want to overdress as I had been the last few runs. I wore capris and a long sleeve sweater. It was perfect!! I was a little chilled to start off with but those intervals kept me warm right until the end.

I heard that part of the course for our Half Marathon this weekend is underwater... this should be interesting. We are also supposed to get some snow in the next day or so. This race has a reputation for always having bad weather so I am not surprised. It would be nice to run sans jacket though.

So far this has been a low-key week. I had way too much going on last week and burned out too soon in the week. I had a chiro appointment on Monday and a 30 minutes massage yesterday. It was heavenly!

Monday, April 11, 2011

~What I did this Weekend~

What a weekend!! We did get a lot accomplished even though there were many frustrating moments!!

On Friday hubby and I decided to go out for dinner so there was no workout. I did want to spend a nice night relaxing vegging but sometimes it is good to get out. We tried a new restaurant close to home and was quite impressed. I find that the North doesn't seem to have as great of a restaurant selection compared to the South so it is always exciting to find something good close to home.

The restaurant is Stone Hill Restaurant and Tavern. They don't have an extensive menu but the items that we did try were really good! The atmosphere is really nice- you could either go there dressed up for a night out, but we were felt comfortable in our jeans too. I can't wait until the weather warms up and we can sit on the huge patio. We will definitely be going there again!

After dinner we went to Cross Iron Mills to do some shopping. We planned to go to a later movie afterwards. We wandered around for a couple hours and went into Home Sense. I love this store as I usually find some pretty good deals on all sorts of things for the house. Low and behold they had some chandeliers on sale that were exactly what I thought we wanted. Sweet deal! We picked one out and decided that we were too tired to wait another hour for the movie and just went home.
Home Sense chandelier looks similar to this

 Saturday morning I slept in- yay!! While I did an hour spin session in the basement, hubby went out to rent scaffolding so he could change out the light fixtures. The whole reason why we bought a new fixture for our stairway is because the old one couldn't be changed with a ladder due to the high ceiling.

Hubby attempting to change the lighbulb with a ladder.

He could reach the fixture but not safely take his
hand off the ladder to undo the latches.
I was scared watching him do this!
While he went out, I started having second thoughts about the new fixture. It was actually bigger than the one we looked at in the store- it had 5 arms instead of 3. The stairwell is quite narrow so it doesn't need a huge light fixture. I was also thinking I wanted something a little more classic. 

When I was finished spinning I went upstairs and saw that the new fixture was pretty much installed. I told hubby about my apprehension and needless to say he wasn't impressed since it was quite the process to put up the scaffolding, take down the old fixture and put up the new one. Turns out my concerns were correct as when he was screwing in one of the light bulbs, the socket broke! The bulb fell and shattered all over the stairs. What a mess! The good news is that we were going to have to return the broken fixture anyway so now I could pick out something I actually wanted!!

We headed to Rona and found a new fixture that I liked. They didn't have any in stock. Next we went to Home Depot and found another fixture we liked even better. They didn't have any in stock either!! Talk about terrible luck!! They were able to locate one for us at another store close by so store #3 was the lucky charm!

Back home hubby installed the new fixture. All was well until he screwed in one light bulb and asked me to flick the switch. No light! We then realized that the 2nd floor hallway, bathrooms and master bedroom lights all didn't work. Something was wrong! We checked the fuse box and none of the fuses were tripped. We reset them anyway. For a few hours we tried everything we could think of to figure out why the lights weren't working. Of course our electrician neighbor wasn't home and all the other people we called were just as stumped as we were. Finally hubby's best friend who does renovations came over at 9pm to see if he could solve the problem.

Turns out there is a separate GFI switch for the ensuite that had to be reset!! Who knew??? It wasn't on the fuse box but off to the side of it. Once that was reset we had LIGHT again on the 2nd floor!! So exciting!!

New chandelier- close up

New chandelier

I never did take a picture of the scaffolding as it was a pretty tense time and I didn't want to pi$$ off hubby anymore than he already was! You could barely squeeze between the scaffolding and the wall to get up the stairs. Glad we won't have to do that again! We can now change the light bulbs with a regular ladder- although we did put long lasting light bulbs in so we won't be changing them for awhile!

Sunday we had another 18K scheduled. Even though we are racing next weekend, most of us in our clinic doing the Police Half are doing it as a training run with the Big Run as our goal race on April 30th. Therefore we aren't tapering for this race.

I ran with a group of ladies and we passed the time by chatting about various things. I was feeling pretty good except that I overdressed- again! It was probably the nicest long run weather in a long time- sunny and it warmed up to about 10C. I probably would have been fine with a thin long sleeve shirt and capris but instead I wore a short sleeve shirt, my running jacket and tights. I was boiling by 2K. Around 5K I tied my jacket around my waist which I hate doing but didn't have much choice.

Before we knew it we were at the 9K turn around point and headed back home. The KMs just clicked by and I listened to my music for a good portion of the run. A train passed us and we got the conductor to honk for us! That made us speed up (the train was going the other direction!) which I thought was funny!

Around 13K there is a pretty steep hill and all the ladies I was running with started walking. I figured that I might as well run the hill as there are going to be a couple big hills in my next 2 races and I have trained for hills so I know I can run them. It was hard but I was able to catch up to a couple girls that were in front of us the entire way. I guess that motivated me to keep running even though my legs and lungs were protesting.

I ended up passing a few more people in our group in the last few KMs. I was pretty tired though and the thought of finishing soon is really what kept me going. I usually skip my last walk break when I am close to the end, but this time I took it with just 1K to go! I didn't eat very much the day before so I think that is why I felt like I had no energy.

I finished pretty strong and am confident that next weekend will go well. Not sure I will be breaking any PRs but I still think I can run a pretty good race.

CoCo Stats:
Total Distance- 18K
Total Time- 2:06
way faster than last week's 18K!!
Average Pace- 7:00 min/km

This Sunday was probably the first one in a long time that I haven't had a nap after an LSD run!! I just had too much to do and I knew that if I laid down I would be done for the afternoon. I spent most of the afternoon baking and cleaning the house. We went to dinner at one of my high school friend's houses whom I haven't seen in while. It was nice to visit with them and catch up on old times. They recently moved back to the Calgary area so hopefully we will see them more than once a year!

That wraps up my weekend adventures!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Much Better

I was feeling quite burned out yesterday (could you tell?) but I managed to salvage the day and took a mini-break!

I had a doctor's appointment so I took most of the afternoon off work. After my appointment and blood work (ick)!I had some time to kill before another appointment in the evening so I did some shopping. I wasn't really looking for anything in particular- I find I always have better luck shopping when I am not looking for anything specific.

I went to Cross Iron Mills, which is more of a factory outlet mall. I ended up buying a couple pairs of dress pants for work at Banana Republic, which I always seem to have a hard time finding. I also found a pretty silver necklace there. I was looking for some skirts but of course didn't find anything.

I also found a cute pair of grey flats at Spring. I am usually a high heel kinda gal but lately have been enjoying flats. My feet sure appreciate it too!
Flats but in light grey
I had a delicious cupcake while shopping to keep up my energy level. Yum!!
Peanut Butter Cupcake

After the successful shopping trip, I went to get my nails done and a pedicure. Love those massage chairs! I read my book while being pampered and I could barely put it down!! It is pretty intense at the end and I finished it last night. I haven’t read a book that quickly in awhile which goes to show how good it was.

Now to start the third book in the series… The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Only a few more hours until I can start the weekend!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

~Three Things Thursday~

1. This week has been so busy for me! I feel like I have barely seen my hubby since he has been so busy too. I thought I was smart by scheduling a whole bunch of appointments this week after work but now I just feel burned out. Hopefully this weekend will slow down a bit so I can r.e.l.a.x.

2. I've said it before and I will say it again... I need a vacation STAT!! I have a four-day weekend coming up at Easter but that isn't enough. I need to plan something before I go crazy. But planning involves work and I just don't feel like doing that either. That's why I like all-inclusives.

3. Last night's run- holy hard! I don't know if it was because I had an acupuncture appointment just before or if it was my poor pre-run nutrition choice (2 banana chocolate chip muffins) but I really struggled on this run. I definitely overdressed which probably attributed to my suffering. It was about 5C outside and I wore my running jacket and a thick long sleeve sweater. I would have been fine with just the sweater except that the wind was brutally cold when standing still.

We were supposed to start speed training this week but our instructor had the date mixed up and scheduled the speaker for next week. I honestly wasn't too upset. I find it odd that the schedule has us start speed training only 3 weeks before the race. Instead we decided to do a tempo run. I struggled but managed to keep a decent pace.

CoCo Stats:
1K- 6:13
2K- 6:27
3K- 6:35
4K- 5:54
Total Distance- 4.54K
Total Time- 28:07 min
Average Pace- 6:11 min/km

At what point do you add in speed training?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bike Maintenance Course

I have owned my bike for 3 years now and until last night I had never changed my own tire. It was one of my biggest fears to get a flat during a race! I wasn't so worried about a regular ride as my hubby is pretty skilled at changing a tire (he has had lots of practice!). Unfortunately I can't really have my own personal bike crew on the race course so I just prayed lots during each bike portion of a triathlon!! So far I have been okay!

After Deb mentioned that she signed up for a bike maintenance course I decided it was time to finally do it. I have been saying for awhile that I need to take a course to feel more confident taking care of my bike.
Deb and I
It was a small group of 7 of us, plus the instructor so it was pretty hands on. First our instructor, DJ walked us through changing a tire because we attempted to do it on our own bikes.

The biggest issue that I have with changing my tire is that I have a hard time getting my brakes un-done. Since I have a cyclocross bike** the brake system is slightly different than a road bike.

"Cyclocross Cantilever brake bosses are more often equipped with traditional center-pull cantilever brakes than the more contemporary and powerful linear-pull brakes ("V-brakes") due to two reasons: native compatibility (in terms of cable pull) with the majority of drop-bar brake levers; and the cantilever brake's greater brake pad-to-rim clearance, which minimizes drag in muddy conditions"

Cantilever Brake
You have to undo the cable on one side to release the brake pads and mine is so tight that I can never do it. Kinda hard to change a tire when you can't get it off the bike!! Anyway, with some adjusting of the springs I finally was able to get the tire off.

How to Change A Tire Step-by-Step
1- Undo brake so you can get the tire off
2- Remove flat tire from the bike
3- Using your hands or your tire levers pry off one bead (one side) of the tire from the rim
4- You can either leave the one bead in or take the tire off completely to inspect the rim & inside of tire
5- Pull out tube- watch stem to make sure you don't bend it
6- Either patch hole in tube or use new tube and make sure there isn't any debris on the rim or inside the tire
7- Put one bead of the tire back on the rim
8- Insert slightly inflated tube between rim and tire, with the stem first. Make sure stem is straight
9- Working from the stem side, start putting the 2nd bead (side) of the tire back on the rim- use tire levers if needed
10- Once tire is on the rim, fully inflate tube (look at tire to see how much to inflate)
11- Put tire back on bike, make sure brakes are centered and redo brake cable
12- Pray that you don't have to change a tire again for awhile!!

It actually isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I honestly think my fear came from the fact that I always had a hard time getting my brake cable undone, not the actual tire changing itself. I still hope I never had to change one during a race though!

Next, we learned how to break a chain. Again I hope I never have to do this ever!! I am pretty sure that if I ever have issues with my chain I will have hubby attempt to fix it. I think it's probably something that mountain bikers have to worry about more than road bikers (I hope!).

Another important part of this course was how to clean and lube your bike. I usually left this part up to hubby or the bike shop to take care of but I think it is good to know for any bike owner. DJ showed us how to degrease our chain and cassette and he recommends rinsing off the degreaser before lubing it up again. Makes sense! There are lots of little parts that need to be lubed up to ensure the bike performs properly. It's hard to explain but pretty much where there is a moving part you want to grease it. You just want to make sure to not get any lube on your brake pads or rims.

Hubby cleaning his bike
Lastly we learned how to inspect our bikes for loose bearings. This is really hard to explain! Basically you are looking for rattling on your bike. Thankfully my bike seems to be okay. I kind of expected to have some issues as I have had a few minor crashes since getting my bike. I guess BlueBelle is tough!

Overall I think this class was great for learning the basics of taking care of your bike. I am sort of ashamed that it took me 3 years of bike ownership to actually take this course but better late than never right? Plus it's not like I neglected my bike, I just had other people do all this stuff.

This is after I wiped my hand clean!
Bike maintenance is dirty work!
Do you know how to change a bike tire? How about a car tire?

**Disclaimer- I don't intend on doing cyclocross with my bike. I just wanted a bike that gave me more options that riding on the road in case I hated triathlon and never wanted to ride on the road again. Because the cyclocross bike has more clearance for knobby tires I could ride it on shale and gravel pathways which you can't really on a road bike.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I went to the beach last night...

... in my head of course! I went to hot yoga for the first time in a month after work yesterday. I don't know how March flew by without getting in a yoga session. Guess it was a busy month!

I went to the studio early so that I could relax in the hot room before the class started. I overheard the receptionist tell a newbie that the hot room is set at 40-45C so it really was like being in Mexico on the beach! If I can't get to one for realz I guess I just have to imagine I am on one.

There was a different instructor this time- Lisa. I really enjoyed her class as she was calming, really helped us with our breathing and was really good at walking us through each pose. Some instructors just tell you what pose to do without really helping you get into it- for a newer yogi I need the step-by-step instructions.
My balance was a little off last night but not surprising as it has been awhile. I really need to work on my tree pose. I sweat like crazy all through the class!! I think my tank top was completely drenched by the time the class was over.

I am totally jealous of Amanda and her yoga on the beach... I guess the beach in my head will have to do for now.

Monday, April 4, 2011

~What I did this weekend~

Friday- Usually Friday tends to be a rest day for me but since I took pretty much the entire week off due to an evil nasty cold I had to get in a run. After work I forced myself to do 30 minutes on treadmill. I don't know why but these short treadmill runs are so hard! Even with One Tree Hill on the TV I felt like 30 minutes for 4 hours. I hope it had to do with the fact that I haven't run or worked out in 5 days!

After my workout I ate a delicious steak dinner prepared by my chef hubby. We watched Grey's Anatomy- the musical (not a fan and I like musicals!) and Life as We Know It. What a cute movie!! It had me in tears a few times but I also laughed a lot. Josh Duhamel is so hot!!

Saturday- I slept it till 11:30am. It was glorious!! A storm blew in overnight and continued Apparently hubby had shovelled the driveway at 8am when he left for work but when I went to do it at noon you couldn't tell!! There was soooo much snow!  I laughed because many people thought the snowstorm forecast was an April Fools Joke but I have lived in Calgary long enough (my whole life) to know that we get winter storms even in May. So does shovelling the driveway for an hour count as cross training? I think it should! My arms are sore!
Opps- forgot to put the cover on the BBQ on Friday night!

Snow covered deck and backyard
Following my upper body workout, I had a 45 minute spin session. While on my bike for about 25 minutes I realized that my front tire was mostly flat!! I laughed because who knows how long it has been like that for! Front tire doesn't matter too much while on the spin trainer (does it?). Good thing I have my bike maintenance course tomorrow!!

Since I decided that I didn't want to venture out in the snow I spent the rest of the day cleaning, and baking. I made my usual banana chocolate chip walnut muffins and some peanut butter cookies. Unfortunately most of the cookies ended up being slightly overcooked even though I baked them as long as the recipe said (10 minutes). The 2nd batch was only 5 cookies so I put them in for 9 minutes and they were perfect.
The good ones...
Since my friend and I decided to cancel our dinner and movie date due to the snow I pretty much spent the whole day in my PJs. Hubby brought home some yummy Indian food and we spent the evening reading. I am reading the Girl Who Played with Fire and I love it!! I can't put it down!! I am about halfway through it and I just want to know how it ends!!

Sunday morning brought a 'fun' 18K long run. Ever since waking up Saturday morning to a snowstorm I had been dreading this run. The pathways were not clear and the sidewalks that were clear were treacherous with a thin layer of ice on them. The temperature was balmy at -2C and the sun was shining. I really considered just running for 2 hours on the treadmill but then I quickly remembered how 'fun' Friday's 30 minute run was! At least we didn't have to bundle up much!

Only a few brave souls showed up to the Running Room at 8:30am. Mostly just members of the Marathon and Half marathon clinics! We debated for a few minutes on where we would run as we knew our usual pathway was under 20 cm of snow. We decided we would start off on the usual route and see how it went. Well about 0.25K in we were all dying! It was like running in sand! We were all huffing and puffing like smokers!! Turns out that the sidewalk on the other side of the road had been shovelled so we decided that we would just run where ever we could find clear sidewalks.

Half the group bailed after the first 4K loop. The slippery sidewalks were a bit much for some people and they decided to find treadmills to finish the remainder of their run. Krysten, Karen and I decided to carry on with the run and did one of our normal loops in the residential community. A lot of people had shovelled their sidewalks but we ended up running on the road for a good portion as all the City sidewalks weren't cleared.
I can only say that I am so happy we stuck together as we had to keep pushing one another to continue on. Some how the kilometers kept clicking by and before we knew it we had done 14K. We were literally running around in circles on cleared pavement just to get the distance in!

The good news is that that run will probably be the hardest one we have to do (unless we decide to do something crazy like train for a marathon!) and we did it!!

Total Distance- 18.01K
Total Time- 2:22:43
Average Pace- 7:55 min/km

Surprisingly I did not feel sore after this run! Yay!! Maybe because it was so slow...

Spent the rest of the day doing stuff around the house and went to my Mom's for dinner. Relaxing Sunday just the way I like it!!

How was your weekend? Any crazy snowstorms??

Friday, April 1, 2011

~Monthly Stats- March 2011~

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

Total # runs- 10- ok I have been sick but missed too many runs

Total # kms-  84.42K -only 2K less than last month- not bad considering

2011 Total # kms- 277.59K -only 722.41K to go to reach my 2011 goal of 1000

Best run- Track run with Leigh - nice to meet you!

Worst run- hilly Hansen Ranch 12K in the slush

Total # races- 0 :( Making up for it in April though

Total # non-run workouts- 4 -WTF?? Slacker!!

Total # books read- 1 - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Sooo good!

Eating Habits- 3.5/5 Fairly good but with a few fall-off-the-wagon days. One bad hangover. Never again.

March Reflections

This was a tough month as I am done with winter. My motivation is lost and I don't feel like being hardcore anymore. Now that the days are getting longer (only good thing about losing an hours sleep) hopefully I will feel more energized and excited to workout again. I KNOW it's what I need to feel better.

April is going to be way better! I promise!! Please help me be good. I am going for a run tonight. No excuses!!

Freakin' out as I have a half marathon in 16 days. That snuck up on me fast!