Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Your own cheering section...

Sometimes finding motivation to get out there and exercise can be hard. You know you should, you know it's good for you, yet you just don't always feel like it. You've signed up for a race, but it just isn't in you to get out there and do it. The weather sucks, your kids are wanting your attention, there are dishes to do, and haven't you been meaning to paint the bathroom. There are more excuses than you can think of, so what do you do when you are just not feeling the oomph to get out there and do something.

Find your own cheering section. Once you have your goal, find someone else to go on the journey with you. In my case, I'm planning a year with a few triathlons in it. To date, I have only ever completed one triathlon. It was great, I loved it. I loved the variety of training it had to offer. Now though, I'm hoping to do a few more. But, I'd like to find some other people to do them too. I want to surround myself with others who have the goal of completing a triathlon. I want other people to be there cheering me on, while I cheer them on. I want to reach this goal with some friends. I want someone to chat with about the type of shorts I might wear in the water that also work for the bike and the run. I want to get another opinion from a big chested girl on whether or not it's worth it to have the sportsbra with me and if I should wear it in the water or put in on in transition. I want to be nervous about swimming in open water with someone else who is nervous about it too.

So, I'm looking for other people ready to face the challenge. There are a few people who have expressed an interest and I'm looking forward to learning with them. I'm excited to get to know them better as we train for similar goals. And if I'm surrounded by other people that also want to give this crazy triathlon stuff a try, then I should be more motivated to get moving myself. And, if not, then, at least I've got new year's resolutions to fall back on, and it's almost time to come up with a few of them for the year... but more on that in a couple of days...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Time to get back in the saddle...

To say that I have fallen off the exercise wagon would be a fairly true statement at the moment. I haven't stopped all together, but the frequency with which I exercise has been paltry at best. I am only averaging about 1 day a week and that is simply not acceptable in my books. I know my foot injury hasn't helped matters, but really, that is no excuse. So, I really need to get focused again and get at it. I have big goals for this next year, and without training, those goals won't happen, so I have to get working again. Running, biking, swimming. It's time to get back in gear and working towards things!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New shoes

So I have been on the sidelines a lot lately because of my stupid heel spur. It hasn't been much fun. I got rid of my old running shoes now and today finally bought a new pair along with a heel insert. I want to try running again on the treadmill just to see how it goes. I really miss running a lot!! Plus, with big goals for next year, I don't want to be on the sidelines forever!! I have decided though, that this injury will not consume me and I will run again and run well. I have been reading up on running technique and I am hoping to apply what I've been reading to my return to running and hopefully become a better runner in the process. Only time will tell of course...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Stopped by an injury...

Staying active is important and in almost everything you read, there is some type of reference to the importance of exercise. It helps you stay healthy, it helps fight off colds, flu, and other illness, it keeps your heart happy, it helps you maintain your weight, it helps you lose weight, it keeps you positive, it relieves stress. But sometimes, the very exercise you do can lead to injury, and when that happens it can be hard to figure out what to do.

I have been on a running kick and recently managed to improve my performance to a level, that for me, is amazing. Breaking an hour in a 10km race was a major accomplishment, and running that same pace for an entire half marathon made me so proud!! However, after my stunning performance in the Okanagan Half Marathon (2:04:44), my heel pain caught up to me. My heel pain had been bothering me for about a month, but it was off and on and always seemed to go away. After the big race however, it was more constant, to the point where I went to the doctor, after some careful research on the internet. It turns out I have plantar fasciitis. It's a common running injury so I wasn't shocked, but I was quite surprised that there are not a lot of very effective ways to treat it. And I was truly dismayed when the doctor told me not to run for at least a month. Running is my outlet. It's what I do to stay in shape and whenever I'm stressed, running makes me feel better. I can sort through my issues on a run and nearly always come back with renewed focus and ideas. But what now that I'm not supposed to run?

There are lots of things you can do when you are sidelined from running. In this case, a high impact sport can be traded for a lower impact sport. I can include cycling classes now, and concentrate on improving my swimming. There are still lots of exercises I can do to increase strength, and stretches that can help with the injury. Rather than lose momentum because my favourite activity has been sidelined, I can embrace these new activities. Perhaps this is God's way of saying it's time to improve at other things. Life is busy and if you only do one thing, then you could be missing out. Because of this injury, I went to my first spinning class in several years. I also took my family swimming. So, when an injury tries to slow you down, work your way around it. I'm also looking for other treatment options like active release. I value my body and plan to use it in many more races, but for the time being, I must respect it, and realize that it's tired of running and needs a chance to heal itself. So I will try and do the best I can to keep active through other avenues...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What happens after the big race...

So, you've spent all this time preparing to run your first 5km or 10km or half marathon or marathon or whatever, and then you completed your race. It felt good. The cheering family and friends. Conquering the self doubt. Telling all the naysayers about how great it felt to cross the finish line. Realizing that you actually accomplished what you set out to do. Knowing that all the training runs you put in ahead of time were worth it because you reached the end. You got your medal, you got your time, you got your tshirt. But now that the race is over, what do you do?

One of the most common feelings is a bit of sadness. Once the goal is achieved and life can return to normal, you miss the training. You miss having something to work towards and this can manifest itself by causing you to feel a bit blue. It's very common so do not fear. Rather, pick a new goal. It doesn't have to be as huge as the first goal, but you should pick something. Usually it's another race. It could be a different distance, either shorter or longer than what you just achieved. Maybe you want to improve your time in a certain distance. Maybe you want to do a run in a cool place. Maybe you want to try a new sport. It doesn't really matter what you do, but it's important that you find something else to work on so that you don't fall off the exercise bandwagon all together.

It's easy to think you'll keep on exercising just because you can and because it's what you've been doing. The truth however, seems to be, that without a goal to work towards, it can be so much easier to just skip a workout. After all, it's not like you have a goal you need to reach, right? By signing up for another race, you are more likely to continue on with your workouts and put meaning into them.

So, after the big race. Celebrate your accomplishment. Show off your new bling. Take a few rest days to recover. And then, find something else to set your sights on... you'll be glad you did!!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Less than a week...

Time goes by so fast these days. Training has been going pretty good. September has been busy but we have still managed to get most of the workouts in. I can't believe though that next week at this time I will be done the half marathon. It seems so long ago that we signed up for it. And, already I am looking for new races and things to get excited about and I have found something. More about that another day though. For now, I will focus on the race I'm about to run, in BC next Sunday...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I did it!! 10km in less than an hour!!

So, I've been hoping to complete a 10km race in under an hour. I mean, it's been a goal of mine for quite some time now. I'm not sure what it is about being an under an hour that seemed important to me, but I know that it's a milestone I wanted to, and needed to reach. I tried in August, but it was just not to be. I was disappointed, yet it didn't surprise me. Yesterday, when I did the Melissa's 10km though, I was truly amazed at myself. In part, because Melissa's is a race that has a huge hill in it. When I say huge, I mean huge. It's part way up a mountain for goodness sakes. So, here's my recap...

We arrived with lots of time to spare, parked in the parkade where I nursed Sullivan. We set up the Chariot and headed to the washrooms. Of course the lineup was huge for the flush toilets so we elected to cross over the river and try the porta potties. Well, by the time we get there, the lineups for them were huge, but no choice. Waited about 15 minutes and by the time I was through, it was only about 15 minutes until the race. Then, Sebastian had to pee, so we got someone to let us in the front of the line at the porta potties. Now why didn't I think of that earlier, haha...

Anyhow, got my good luck kisses from my boys and headed to the starting line. It's a fairly big race (with 2959 people running the 10km), so I tried to seed myself in and around the 10 minute mile sign. I found my work friend Cathy and wished her luck. Then, it was time to start. This of course is always a nonevent since you don't actually get to run right away but rather walk to the start line (took over 3 and a half minutes to get there). I started my watch just as I was crossing over the mat that checks your chip at the starting line.

I spent the first kilometre weaving in and out of people. Passed the drummers and headed over the bridge. As I hit the 1km mark, I was just around 6 minutes. Headed down Banff Avenue, turned the corner and began the very long hill. It was long and by the time I got the water station, I was ready for a break. I had a drink of water and then continued on running. By 2 and 3km I was behind my pace (darn hill!!) by almost two minutes. I gained some time back on the way down the hill. I continued to run at a pretty decent pace, still behind my goal of finishing in under an hour. The route changed this year and rather than crossing the bridge again right when we got back to it, we continued to run along the river with that beautiful turquoise colour and the trees and mountains as a backdrop. I was breathtaking to say the least. At the 7km mark, I was at about 43 and a half minutes, still too slow. Then one of my favourite songs came on "Sandstorm" by Darude. Well, that got me moving a little faster and I kept listening to that song for the last two and a half kilometres. At 8km I was at about 49:15 and at 9km, I was at about 54:30. If I was going to get under an hour, I had to keep a fast (for me anyhow) pace for the rest of the race. And a funny thing happened... I did!! I ran my little heart out. I didn't stop, I just kept going, passing people all over the place. I saw my boys about 100 metres before the finish, smiled, waved, but didn't slow down for one second. I looked at my watch and had about 25 seconds to go, so I kept it up and ran as fast as I could across the finish. I stopped my watch just after crossing and was rewarded with my first ever 10km under an hour 59:56 according to my watch (later I would see the official results and my chip time was 59:53). My closest before this was 1:01:45 (in August at Ronald McDonald House Rock the House Run), and the fastest I have ever done Melissa's before is 1:06:32. So really, this was a huge!! Granted the change in the course helped a bit (no hill coming out of Cave and Basin that's over congested and hard to get around people), but still, Tunnel Mountain was still there and not only did it not beat me, it helped me I think. I ended up with a slower first half and a faster second half (quite the opposite for the Ronald McDonald House, where I was under 30 minutes for the first five kilometres and then slowed down).

So, I believe that negative splits are a beautiful thing. I also believe that all the training I put in paid off. I mean, I always train, but this time around, I have been more consistent than almost ever before. I have to thank my husband for that. He was great in encouraging me to go out and run, follow my chart (which is nearly all filled in as I actually did almost all the runs I planned to do!!) and watched the boys anytime I did. Not to mention even came along on a couple of runs. I also have to thank Cindy. She got me all inspired to run a half this fall, and it's been great getting in long runs with her to get ready for that (less than two weeks for that race!!). Tamara has also been an awesome running buddy. We've been going out once a week now for about 6 weeks and I think we get faster and faster every time. And my boys. I do this for you guys. I want you to always be active and have a love for that. I feel like I crossed some kind of invisible barrier on Saturday and now I look forward to planning more races and training for not only runs, but a few more triathlons too. But next up it's time for the Ambulance Chasers, and then the Okanagan Half

Monday, September 21, 2009

The last long run...

So yesterday, we went out for the last of our long runs before the Okanagan Half Marathon. We had to do it a week early because next weekend we are doing the Melissa's 10km in Banff. Things didn't start out too smooth though. We decided to cancel after it was pouring rain at 7:30am. Then, we reconsidered and went out again around 10 and on the way to the start, it started pouring again. And, it was still raining when we started (and windy and cold and sort of all around yucky). Well, lucky for us we never gave in and kept plugging along and after about fifteen minutes, the weather smartened up and we were on our way.

The run was set around the Glenmore Reservoir and it was beautiful with the leaves changing colour, the water, the mountains in the background, and I loved it. There's even a huge hill thrown in that we made it to the top of without stopping!! A bit of a mistake in navigation had us go a little further than originally planned (19kms instead of 18kms), but all in all the run was great. I loved it. I haven't run that far in over a year!! Of course my knees were a little tired after and my heel is a bit sore, but that's what building distance will do for you!! Now, though, we're ready for the race, no more long runs for us!

And, to top it off, we got to have a Starbucks at the end. Let me tell you, that Extra Hot Raspberry Mocha hit the spot!! It amazes me sometimes how much better things taste after some serious work, and that Mocha was a shining example. Mmmmmmm....

Now, it's time to taper, however, the tapering will take the form of racing, since I have two more races coming up before the big race in three weeks...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Intervals, or how to improve your overall speed

As training progresses, it's important to add different elements to your runs. Things like hills and intervals. It's easy to go out and knock off a few kilometres, but if you always go out and run about the same pace, your body will get used to this pace and that will be all that your body will want to do on race day. Now, if that's your whole goal, that's fine, but if you want to have a little extra "oomph" in your engine, then your body needs to know what that "oomph" should feel like.

What exactly is "oomph"? Why, it's that bit of speed that you find to sprint towards the finish. Or the bit of speed you find to pass someone. Or it's the bit of speed you find when you see a bear and know that you need to get out of where you are really really quickly. Or it's the bit of speed you find when you've just soaked your husband with the hose and know he's about to come after you. Basically, it's the speed you don't usually find yourself running on a day to day basis.

So, how does one practice this extra bit of speed? Why, through intervals of course. If it's your first time doing intervals, it's important that you have been running for a few weeks. You want to have a good base so that you know your muscles and joints can handle the speed. Speed is hard work and puts lots of stress on the body, so you want to know your body is in a condition to take it. Best thing to do is warm up a bit, about five or ten minutes of walking, slower running etc. Then, you begin some sort of regimen of repeats. What this means is that you will be running fast for a short amount of time or short amount of distance. Some programs go in seconds and minutes while others are in metres and yards. It's up to you really. At first you might do 5 sets of running one minute, recovering two minutes (so you would run harder than you usually do for one minute and then spend the next two minutes walking or running at a slower pace to recover). Then, you do this again until you've done it five times, then make sure you warm down at the end. If you prefer to do this in distance, you could run at a track, or mark out a run ahead of time, and run 200 meters, then walk 200 meters and do 5 laps. It doesn't really matter what you base your intervals on, just that the running portion makes you work harder than you normally do. By the end of the running portion, you want to be going hard enough that even though you could talk, you probably wouldn't want to. Then, use your recovery time to bring your heartrate back down.

By practicing speed, you will be ready for the moments in the race when you feel like going faster. They won't tire you out completely, because your body has done them before. And, a surprising thing might happen, you just might end up running faster overall!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Run with a friend...

So, the last few days I have felt completely unmotivated when it comes to my running. Not really sure why or what's up that way. However, my saving grace has been having someone to run with. On Sunday, we went to cheer on a friend doing a race, and ended up doing the kids 1km with our son (who finished very last... he didn't want to run and kept asking me to carry him... however, once he was near the finish and heard all these people cheering for him, he started running again!!). It was fun, but I knew I needed to run 10km that day. So, later in the afternoon, I suggested to my husband that we should go running as a family and take the boys to a playground. Well, after several grumbles about not wanting to go, a few reminders about how he really does want to be active, and out the door we went. I kept asking him how far he wanted to go, him knowing that I really wanted to do 10km, and me knowing he really didn't. Well, we went 6km, then stopped at a playground, while I proceeded to get in a few extra kilometres. Then, we went and bought some groceries, and then we headed home. So, not only did we run, we also got in some play time and chores... score one for being an active family!!

Then, today, I was totally unmotivated. I was at home with a sick baby who was all clingy and burning up with a fever. Again, no desire to run, yet Tuesday nights I am running with another mom friend from the neighbourhood, and I showed up just like we planned, and she showed up, and we both said we wouldn't have run if we weren't meeting up to run. So, another day of exercise complete, thanks to the plan of running with someone.

So, running with a friend really can make a huge difference. In my case, I probably wouldn't have run at all this week if I wasn't running with people. So much for the solitude of running... having running buddies was actually what got me out the door!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Do normal people do ironman?

My mind is racing. I was watching some motivational little clips from Ironman Canada and I was wondering if there are any normal people out there that do ironman events. I mean, how elite do you have to be? I get that it's a lot of work, but take backpacking for example. As in camping in the mountains with your food, clothes and shelter on your back. There are a lot of hard core backpackers out there that are out every weekend. But there are also people who only get out a couple times of year and do big scary trails and still do fine. Does the same sort of thing apply to ironman? From what I can gather, it will take about 5 months of some pretty serious training. I am not sure what the minimum time per week would be. But could I do it? Or is this a goal that I should just shelf for another decade? Or does it just get harder to do the older you get? My mind is racing at the mere possibility of it... and hey, you only live once, if it's something I want to do, why not get to it?? Like I said, my mind is racing...

Friday, September 11, 2009

I will sing about it on the mountain top...

Ever wonder where you find the will to keep going when you really don't feel like getting out there and exercising? Just post about it. Change your facebook status. Tweet about it. Doesn't matter how, just let the people in your life know what you are doing, and an amazing thing will happen. You will inspire those around you. And, by doing so, it keeps you going. Friends and family are, generally speaking, very supportive. Because of this, when you tell someone you are going to do a race, they will cheer you on and make you feel that what you are doing is inspiring. And, you might even get them going too. Then, next time you are at a race, you will know someone and that will keep you both going!!

So go ahead, shout it from the rooftop, let everyone know exactly what you are doing. Then, you have lots of people who will want to hear about your successes!!

Oh, and Cindy, all the best for your 10km on Sunday. You are going to rock!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My first tri...

So, the time has come and gone and I can now say that I have completed a sprint triathlon. It was an awesome experience and I look forward to learning more and doing more triathlons in the future. It was fantastic. I completed the triathlon in Leduc and was one of 174 people to finish. I finished 117th overall. I was 122nd in the swim, 134th in the bike and 86th in the run. So, running was definitely my strongest area, and surprisingly biking was my worst!!

My favourite part of the day was body marking. They draw your number on your arm and leg so you are numbered in the water. I have seen all the ironman athletes all marked up and getting drawn on gave me a glimpse into what it might be like to be an ironman. Not now, but someday...

Anyhow, so I was wearing my outfit for the day: a tank top, a sports bra and tri shorts. I swam in this outfit, biked in this outfit and ran in this outfit. It was weird but it felt right. I was in the first heat of swimmers (the slowest swimmers). I was the fastest in my lane and actually got to pass people. It's funny because if you want to pass someone, you touch their toes, so they know they are going to be passed. I swam my thirty laps and was grateful to the lap counters because I lost track early on. As I was swimming, I was amazed that I was actually doing this. I remember thinking that it was unbelievable that I was actually part of a triathlon and swimming against the clock. I got out of the water and crossed the timing mat in 18:51.

Next up, I headed into transition where my bike and shoes and stuff were waiting for me. I took off my swim cap and goggles and proceeded to dry my feet, put on my socks, shoes, and a cycling jersey (it was cold and I'm a bit of a wimp), oh and my bike helmet. Then, I unracked my bike and headed for the mount line where I was allowed to get onto my bike. The bike was two loops of an out and back route. My bike is a mountain bike, and I made the decision two days before the race that I should probably change out the tires to at least bald tires so it would be a little easier. It was a good experience because I had to actually change both tires on my bike so I can now say that I am capable of changing a tire on my bike (front and rear). Only problem I ran into on the bike was I could hear my front brake rubbing a little, so obviously giving me a bit more resistance than I really needed. The way out out was soooooo strong of a head wind. That made it tough and I am convinced I need to learn more about the gears on my bike because I really had no clue what gear I should be riding in. Coming back was great with a tail wind and all. But then you had to repeat the whole thing. I drank my gatorade as I went. On the way back into transition when the bike was over, I was able to stop and get a hug from Sebastian and that was so fantastic!! He was such a sweetheart saying I was doing so good. Then in transition, I changed my helmet and sunglasses for a cap and almost forgot to take off the cycling jersey (actually went back to do that). Then, I was across the next timing mat and the run was on. I finished the biking portion (including both transitions), in 54:51. I'm sure I have work to do on the transitions but I know for sure I need to improve my biking!!

The run felt really heavy at the beginning. My arms were so heavy as were my quads. However, after a bit, that feeling passed and I got into my groove. I didn't have a Garmin with me, or any watch for that matter, so I really had no clue how I was doing. I just ran. I got passed by a couple people, but I also got to do a bit of passing, so that was nice!! The run was also an out and back that had to be repeated twice. I got to see my boys again and Sebastian wanted so desperately to run with me and was not too impressed with Jeremy for not letting him!! I got another hug and high five from my little guy on both loops, and then it was into the finish. I sprinted just a bit toward the end and finishing felt wonderful. I was so amazed at myself that I had actually just completed a triathlon. I have been meaning to "tri" one for several years, and only just now could I say I finally did. The shock for me came when I learned my running time for the 5km was 29:25. I was absolutely blown away that I finished under thirty minutes after swimming and biking beforehand. Only one other time have I ever finished a 5km race in under 30 minutes. So, that sure did make me happy!!

My overall time was 1:43:06. In my age category, I finished 44th out of 66 (although, in my age category, someone ahead of me was disqualified for ipod use so really that would be 43rd I guess!!). And, overall, I was 117th, but with two DQs ahead of me, it was more like 115th!!

So, it was a fun race and I'm so glad I've tried a triathlon. As soon as I finished, my mind was already racing trying to figure out what's next. Where would I do my first triathlon in open water? When would I do my first Olympic distance? Was my husband going to "try a tri" next year? Should I put my name in for Escape from Alcatraz since it's chosen by lottery? Would I have enough training to do a half ironman next year? When will I do an ironman? Should I get a road bike sometime? Should I do the death race or Calgary Ironman 70.3 next August long weekend? Should I do the Canmore triathlon in July? Do I need a swim coach? What about a bike coach? Should I take my personal training certificate? Can I coach kids of steel sometime? My mind was racing, and still is really...

It was fun. I look forward to doing another one, and after chatting with Jessica and Scott, maybe even doing an event where a few of us are competing... I love it!!

But next up, it's back to running as there's a 10km or two coming up and of course the half in October... I can hardly wait for these races!! Of course I won't have to swim and bike before them, but I still have to be trained and ready...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A new running list...

I love finding new songs to run to. I love knowing the songs people are running to. And recently, I asked around and got a bunch of new song ideas. So the other day, when I finally had some free time (doesn't seem to happen much with two kids), I sat down and bought some new songs on itunes and also did some exploring and found some more new songs. It's great. I created the new playlist and even downloaded it onto my ipod. Problem is, I haven't gone running yet and been able to use it. Because, if I am running with other people, then obviously I don't listen to music, and the last two runs I did, were with others. And with cross training on the bike and in the pool, obviously music doesn't match those scenarios either. So, it's been several days now since I downloaded this new list, and I still haven't had the chance to check it out... soon though (because, truth be told, I'd much rather run with someone than simply with just music!!). Please feel free to let me know your favourite running songs, again, I'm always looking for new ideas...

Monday, August 31, 2009

You know you've been running a while when...

- your wardrobe is mostly made up of race shirts. Some long sleeve, some short sleeve, some cotton, some technical fabric.
-you notice other people's race shirts and recognize the races you see (or find a new one you want to run!!)
-you've been on more vacations based on races than vacations based on anything else
-you gauge how far something is based on how long it would take you to run it
-you start noticing things that other runners could do to improve their form
-you've tried more than 10 different gels
-you are no longer afraid of hills or intervals
-you know what negative splits are and actually try to do them
-you get a chariot stroller so when all else fails, you can still run even if you have to take the kids
-you own more pairs of running shoes than dress shoes
-your sock drawer is full of anti blister, moisture wicking exercise socks
-you own a belt specifically designed to carry a water bottle so your hands stay free
-you have a dedicated list (or several) on your mp3/ipod just for running

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Challenge

One of the neatest parts about running is how there is always some new challenge you can find for yourself. Maybe it's a faster time, maybe it's a longer distance. One way or another though, there is always something to work towards. My running started up again after having my second child and I have had lots of challenges put into running. Part of it is about losing some weight, and getting back to where I was before having kids, and then trying to lose the "happy fat" that I put on since meeting and marrying my husband. The next part for me, is trying to beat an hour in a ten kilometre race. I tried once and was unsuccessful, although I did get a personal best, so really, that was a huge accomplishment. I will try again in September, however, I am not holding my breath since that race has a really nasty hill (with a beautiful view at the end to make it worthwhile though!!). But, I just might try another one in October, before the half, and maybe third time is the one that will work, we'll see... And then there is the half, maybe I will get a personal best in that race too. I hope so. It would make me really happy, but it's been awhile since I've done a half, so mostly I just want to enjoy it.

So, if you find you are not sure why you are running, figure something out. Do you want to improve your form, your time, run further, run longer? There are so many different ways to challenge yourself, so pick one and breath new life back into your running...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Why do I run...

I run because it's the fastest way to get in some good cardiovascular exercise. Also because I like races. Also because you see some pretty neat scenery sometimes. I run because you can even run in other cities, and all you really need is a pair of shoes. I run because it gives me alone time. I run because it's a nice way to bond with other people. I run to sort out all the thoughts in my brain. I run so I have an excuse to buy cool exercise clothes. I run so I can use technology like GPS. I run so I can listen to music on my ipod. I run so I can listen to techno and dance stuff that just only seems best when running. I run so I can justify the Chariot (well, since we use several times a week, even for groceries, don't really need to justify it, but when I have to take the kids, it's sure nice to have!!). I run to set an example for my sons. I run so someday I'll hopefully spend less time in a nursing home. I run so I can lose a few pounds. I run to help my train for my triathlon. I run to make it easier to climb mountains. I run so if I was ever being chased, I might win. I run just because...

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Every now and then, it's nice to go for a run just for the sake of running. In other words, leave all the tech gadgets at home. That's right, no watch, no Garmin, no heart rate monitor, no ipod. Before the panic sets in, let me assure you, that it can actually change your whole perspective of running. Suddenly, instead of concentrating on the beat of the song or the pace you are running, you actually concentrate on your breathing and running form. Instead of getting all excited because your favourite song came on, you get all excited because you notice a huge tree that you've run past hundreds of times but only today saw that the leaves are starting to change colour. I'll be honest, seldom do I run without any sort of technology, as I love music while I run, but when I do leave the devices at home, I actually enjoy running for the sake of running. On race day now, seldom do I take my ipod with me (well, for shorter distances anyhow!!). Then I can enjoy the race for what it is!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

6 ways to combat laziness...

So sometimes you just don't feel like going out there and running or doing whatever exercise you had planned. How can you keep yourself motivated so you still go?

1. Plan to run with someone. If you have a plan to meet someone and run, you are more likely to show up and actually do the running. Nobody wants to let down a friend so generally if you have a running date planned, you will probably stick to it.

2. Get dressed. Put on your running clothes, your running socks, your running shoes and your ipod. Once you are dressed up to run, chances are a lot better that you will actually get out there and run, I mean, since you put in all that effort to get dressed and all. This works for me, but more often what I will do is put on running socks. Once I have my running socks on, I almost always end up running later in the day. Not sure what it is, but already wearing the right socks gets me every time!!

3. Go out for ten minutes. If you really still don't want to be out running, then go home, but at least you gave it a shot (and if you ran 10 minutes in one direction, it will take 10 minutes to get back, so at the very least you got in 20 minutes). More likely however, once you get past that first 10 minutes, you'll keep on running whatever plan you had for the day.

4. Make a new playlist for your ipod or mp3 player. Knowing you have a whole new set of songs to run to can be motivating because it's usually music that keeps a good beat and gets you moving. Plus, you want to actually hear the songs you chose, so you might even run longer just to get them all in!!

5. Run first thing in the morning. Then, it's over and done with and you don't spend your whole day trying to figure out ways of getting out of your run. Life gets busy and sometimes running gets put to the side in pursuit of other things that pop up throughout the day. But, if you ran first thing, then nothing can get in the way!!

6. Cross train. When all else fails, do something else. Go for a walk, or a swim or a bike ride. Just be active. Or, if you have a treadmill, hop on that and get the run in while watching your favourite reality show. I use the treadmill most often for intervals and watch food tv while listening to my ipod. Strange maybe, but it works for me!!

No matter how you do it, if you got out and did it, then when you get home, you always feel better!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What should I wear...

Running is great because really, all you need is a pair of shoes and you can be out the door. And, for a quick run of 30 or 60 minutes, it doesn't really matter what you wear. Of course the longer you run for, the more consideration you might want to give to what you are wearing. Here's a few things to think about when choosing the outfits you run in.

1. How long will you be running for. Again, the longer you run, the more important it is to choose your clothes carefully. Technical fabrics that wick away moisture are definitely the way to go for long runs. With cotton, when you start sweating, the lovely sweat stains just remain. This can lead to all sorts of nastiness in the form of chaffing and such, which you will feel for days after the run, so better to just start out with the moisture wicking fabrics. Most races now give out technical shirts so it's definitely a sign of runner preferences.

2. Make sure the clothes are comfortable. If you are constantly pulling up your shorts, or your shirt is rubbing, you may end up with some nasty chaffing. This is not fun in any way. Plus, if you are constantly fretting over your clothes, then probably you aren't putting any thought into your form or technique, because your clothes are becoming front and centre.

3. Wear clothes that fit. If you wear huge clothes in hopes of covering up your "problem areas", you will likely only create more problems for yourself. If clothes are loose, they will rub and this is not good. Personally, I wear tight fitting spandex type shorts. I might not have the perfect body for them, but they are comfortable and they stay in place.

4. Try things out ahead of time. I bought a running skirt, and although I quite like it, if I am running longer than about 40 minutes, the shorts underneath start to creep up and lead to chaffing. As a result, I know this is likely not going to be what I wear for the half marathon in October. It's important to try the outfit you plan to wear for your race on some of your longer training runs. You don't want to find out on race day that the new shirt you bought has a seam in a place that starts rubbing after three kilometres when you still have seven more to go.

5. Consider the temperature. If it's warm out, make sure you wear a hat (preferably a wicking one). If it's cold, you might need gloves or even something to cover your face. It all depends on the temperature and your comfort level. Layering is a good way to go, and always remember that you will warm up, so be sure not to overdress.

6. And all you ladies, make sure you get a bra with good support if you know you require it. Check out sportsbras.ca for a huge selection of bras. I most recently bought the shock absorber, and am so happy with it!! It's done me well on so many runs already.

There's lots to think about, this is just a few things. There are so many neat and stylish running pieces out there these days that finding them is half the fun!! At the end of the day, just make sure you are comfortable in whatever you are wearing and can concentrate on the scenery and the run, rather than your wardrobe!! And if you are washing your wicking fabrics, make sure you don't use any static sheets or fabric softener as this takes away from the wicking feature of the technical clothes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

5 considerations when choosing a race...

So, you've been running for a little while now and need a goal. You know you want to race, but you just aren't sure what you are looking for. Here's some things to consider when you are picking a race...

1. Go for the bling. Pick a race that offers a medal or other unique memento of the event. There's all sorts of things out there from t-shirts to Tiffany necklaces to chocolate. And the medals themselves are a reason to pick a race, such as a Mickey Medal, Flying Pig Medal, Pick a race that offers something fun as an incentive.

2. How about the munchies. Some races are known for their post race feasts. There is the typical fare of yogurt and bananas and cookies, but then other races go all out on food. You can find Spolumbo's sausages or ice cream or chocolate or even turkey dinners or beers and wines. It's up to you to ask around and figure out which ones have the food or drinks you are after.

3. Go the distance. You might choose a race based on distance. Start out with a 5km, then move onto 10km, then a half marathon, then a full marathon and then even an ultra. Or maybe you want more than one sport and are looking for something like a triathlon. How much training do you want to commit to and how far do you want to go. And maybe you are using the race to qualify for Boston, in which case you are doing a marathon and might want to look at the race course itself. What types of challenges are along the race? Any big hills to think about? Do you get to run past cool stuff?

4. Location, location, location. For short races, I generally stick close to home, yet if I'm doing a half or full marathon, I start looking for places I want to go (combined with the bling of course). You can race pretty much anywhere in the world these days so figure out if you are after sun destination, or somewhere more historic, or maybe you want to be in the mountains, or perhaps a big city. Nothing is more fun than planning a race and getting a vacation out of it!!

5. Cause. A lot of races out there support different charities and organizations. Is there a particular cause that is close to your heart? Some races simply donate to charities while others encourage you to raise pledges. It's up to you which race you choose. As well, you can join groups like Team In Training, Joints In Motion, Team Diabetes or many others where you train as a group while raising money for a particular charity, and then on race day you get to wear a special jersey and run the race in honour of someone facing one of these illnesses. It gives special meaning to the race and makes it so much more meaningful when you cross the finish line.

So, there's lots to think about when you pick a race. And maybe you will combine several of these when you make a decision. Races are usually on a weekend and most marathons offer fitness fairs, pasta dinners, speakers and celebrations to go along with their race. Races are my main motivation and I always like having something coming up on the horizon, like right now I have a sprint triathlon, a 10km and a half coming up this fall... what are you training for?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Change things up...

A lot of times as people are busy training for their races, they get a bit bored with the training. It seems as though running starts to become everything and doing the same thing all the time can be a bit boring. So, if you are running 5 or 6 days a week, why not change things up a bit and make one or two of those days something else. Do a boot camp (these are seriously tough stuff, but soooooo good for you!!), add some strength training, go for a bike ride or a swim (non-impact is a really nice break for those joints that work so hard for you with running), do a spin class or another aerobics type class. Try a yoga session. Go for a hike. It doesn't matter what the activity is, the change will use your muscles differently and likely actually help your training in the long run. And, the added bonus is, you won't get to a point where running becomes a chore because that is your exercise. Rather, exercise is something you look forward to because it's varied and always something different.

Tomorrow I am going hiking, and I can hardly wait. I know I will get an incredibly good workout and yet my legs will have a break from the pounding that running puts them through. I love cross training. I've added swimming to my workouts as well, and it is such a welcome change. I still work hard, but it's a different kind of work and my body likes that change.

So, if ever your running becomes a bit boring and tedious, it's probably time to substitute one of your runs for another sport. Your body will thank you for it!!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Running in the evening...

Tonight I was running hills, just three, but still hills. And there were fireworks. I like to think the fireworks were there to celebrate the fact that I was running. I'm sure they were on for something much more important, but either way, it was my special little fireworks show.

Sometimes fitting in a run can be tricky, and sometimes it doesn't fit in until the end of the day, yet that has its advantages too. Depending on where you live, waiting until the evening provides cooler running conditions. Running in the evening let's you watch the sun set. Running in the evening keeps you away from the television. Running in the evening is a great way to finish the day, after all, you can't say you didn't go then!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Don't forget the sunscreen...

On short training runs, you can get away with going outside for a bit and if you forgot the sunscreen, well, nobody minds. But, as you start training for half marathons, marathons and longer, sometimes you are out for longer than an hour and you start getting into the likelihood of getting burned. So, don't forget to wear sunscreen. And, make sure you choose a kind that will let you sweat and not fade away. Try one of the many sport varieties that are available. Because nothing is worse than getting back from a great run, only to find out you have a sun burn.

And one more thing, if you are putting the sunscreen on your arms or neck, don't forget that as you run, your clothes may shift a bit, so you might want to keep that in mind so you don't end up with a small stripe burn when your clothes shift. Take it from someone who has been burned like this, it is not very much fun!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Check your shoes...

Running takes a lot out of you. Sometimes when people start running for the first time or after a long period of inactivity, they go into their closet, find a pair of runners and go. And, they might be okay, but quite often, it is time for a new pair of shoes. Think about it... your running shoes are what's between your body and the hard surfaces you run on. They absorb the force of your feet hitting the ground multiple times in a minute. They help take the pressure off your knees and ankles. Did you suddenly start hurting? Have you got shin splints? Knee aches? There is a good possibility that something as simple as new shoes could help you out.

And, don't buy just any shoes. Go to an actual running store and have one of the staff that's trained, fit your feet and make sure you get into the shoes you need. There are many types of shoes. Some provide stability, others provide cushioning, some are designed to be super lightweight and only good for racing. It's important to have shoes that match your feet and how you run. If you pronate, then having a neutral shoe is not going to help you.

Once you know what kind of shoes you need, then go for comfort. Shoes come in all sorts of colours and shapes, but you can't buy shoes based on that. You need to buy the ones that match what you need and feel comfortable on your feet. They might not be the snazziest pair, but if they get you safely through your training and race without incident, then they are the best pair.

And shoes don't last forever either, so even if you bought a brand new pair 3 years ago, and haven't used them much, maybe it's time for a new pair. That way, you know they are offering you the support you need. If you keep a running log, you'll know how far you've gone, and then you can replace them once you've logged 500 km or more.

Shoes are expensive, but they are nothing compared to being sidelined because of an injury, so if something started hurting that never used to, or you really can't remember when you got your shoes, or if they were shoes that have done you well in six other sports, take the time to go buy new ones. You will be glad you did!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Eating on the run...

Wondering what types of food to snack on while you run? Make sure you try some things out on practice runs so you know what will work for you and your stomach on race day. Some people have iron stomachs, others get sick at merely the thought of a sugar drink. So try things out ahead of time. Here's my top 12 favourite running snacks...

1. Luna Bars. I'm a girl, and these bars were designed for the female half of the species. And, they are fantastic. They come in all sorts of flavours and they are super tasty. They are great for running and hiking too.

2. Gu Energy Gels. Okay, I know gels aren't pretty and it can take a lot to get them down, but if you can find a flavour you like, then you've won half the battle. I like the tri-berry the best but vanilla bean is great too. And really, gels are easy to digest, so you get the extra energy you need faster with little chance of upset stomach.

3. Sharkies. These are sort of like candies, but for someone with a sweet tooth like me, they definitely aren't candies. But, if you can't do the gels, this is a nice option that's more food like but still packs the same punch as a gel. They have a bonus of being organic. And, they come in cute shark shapes.

4. . Jelly Belly Sport Beans. Seriously, they taste just like jelly beans. They look like jelly beans, but they also have electrolytes in them to replace those lost while exercising. And they have lots of great flavours.

5. Gummy Bears. I love these. I know it's just candy, but hey, when I'm running, sometimes I'm just sick of the regular choices and a bunch of gummy bears is just a really nice treat for me.

5. Rice Krispie Squares. I prefer homemade ones to the store bought version, but would do either on a run. Again, I sometimes want more than the traditional choices above, and since I am more of a recreational athlete, these work for me.

6. Baked potatoes. Sounds funny but it works. Bake up a potato, cut it into little cubes, season with a bit of salt and butter, and take them along. My only complaint is they are a tiny bit messy on the hands.

7. Nutrigrain bars. They are in a nice convenient package and a good size. They don't have all the same stuff as a Luna bar, but it's still a nice snack during a run.

8. Snickers Marathon Bar. I had this once during a race and it was amazing. It has all the stuff you want from an energy bar but tastes more like a chocolate bar. It was fantastic!!

9. Clif Shot Bloks. I love everything this company makes. The Bloks are a nice way to get a shot (like a gel), but again better for those people who can't do gels (my husband is one of them).

10. Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut bars. Basically a granola bar that has salty nuts in it. They taste great and are a nice treat on a run. I like how the sweet and salty compliment each other so well. My favourite is the peanut one.

There's lots more you can take on a run, along with a lot of other companies that make great stuff. What works for you? Leave a comment about your favourite running or hiking snacks. I'm always looking for new ideas!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Less than 8 weeks to the half marathon...

So with less than 8 weeks until the Okanagan Half Marathon, I thought it was perhaps time for some little hints and tips to help out people who might be preparing for their first half marathon, marathon, 10km, 5km, or just for people wanting some inspiration or ideas to enjoy the rest of their training. Sometimes it helps to just get you out the door.

I am no expert. I am only a runner who tries to finish. I do have lots of experience behind me, but what works for me, might not work for you, so take these words for what they are worth and do what you need to, to get yourself to the finish line.

Over the next eight weeks I will try and offer something every day to inspire you to get to your race and finish it strong.

For today, just remember that training for a race is the journey that gets you to the end, and it's important to enjoy the journey. Make sure you are putting your runs near the top of your priorities. This is especially important for people with lots of other responsibilities (ie moms, people with lots of other commitments etc). If finishing is important to you, then putting in time ahead of the race must be important to you as well. These runs help make sure you finish strong and safely. And it's not a chore, at least it shouldn't be. Here's a new way to look at your training runs.

A training run is a chance to be out on your own, away from everything that is pulling you in a hundred different directions. Running is "me time". Running is a chance to catch up with a friend. If you are running alone, it's a chance to think. One of my favourite running quotes was from an ad, not sure what it was for, likely shoes or something similar. It was "the longer I run, the smaller my problems become". And really, as you run, suddenly all the issues in your life get jostled around and sorted and by the time you are finished, you nearly always feel okay about life. Running keeps you active. Running helps you lose weight. Running is a chance to feel your body in motion and enjoy the fact that you are helping your heart stay strong. Running is a chance to meet other like minded people. Running helps you be an active person. Running makes your body crave food that is good for it. Running let's you enjoy nature. Running on a misty rainy day is relaxing. Running in fresh fallen snow and peaceful and serene. Running on a hot day makes you truly enjoy a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade. Running gives you an excuse to buy fun clothes to run in.

Running offers so much and more than anything it keeps you active. I love that about running. I can throw on a pair of shoes, and be out the door in about five minutes (ten if I want to have my ipod too). And, I can be back in 30 minutes, having put in a decent workout. It's the most bang for your buck in terms of time. When life gets busy, that part is so important. So, make sure you find the time to put in your runs, because it's about so much more than the run itself!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Missing my goal...

So, on Sunday, I set out to run a 10km race with the hopes that the time would be under an hour. I didn't do it. I've been training well and getting in my intervals and hills and general runs, but when it came time to race day, I just didn't get the goal I was aiming for. At the halfway point, it was looking good, but by the time I got to the 8km mark, I just didn't have it in me. I'm not sure why not, but I just couldn't keep up the pace.

I was devastated, yet at the same time, I needed to remind myself that even though I didn't reach the goal I had hoped for, I did have a good race, and truth be told, it was a personal best. Before this my best 10km time was 1:04:09, and yesterday I ran it in 1:01:45. That was an improvement of more than two minutes. So, maybe my goal was a bit more than I can reach? It's funny that even though I ran faster than I ever have before for a 10km, it still seemed bittersweet because I had set my sites even higher.

Oh well, it's time to get over it and start working towards the next race. When you miss a goal you've been aiming for, it's important to remember there are still moments to be proud of. In my case, I still outperformed my previous best. I had a good run. I didn't take my ipod with me so that I would enjoy the race for what it was. I thanked the volunteers. I made sure my friend got to the end. And my favourite moment of the run? Passing my husband and son and listening to my little boy shout "go mommy, you are doing good mommy". That is worth more than my goal ever was!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Time for some coaching...

So, since I signed up for the triathlon, I've been busy trying to get organized so that I can actually have a clue. I went swimming the other night. First time in probably six years (for lane swimming). It went pretty good and I managed to knock off 42 laps. I only need to do 30 for the race, but figured doing a few extras couldn't hurt.

We got a roof rack for the car. Now I can get my bike to the race. We also got a box so we can take extra gear (will come in handy for road trips in general, since getting around with 2 kids and a huge dog doesn't leave much space for stuff).

My husband got my bike all cleaned up and last night he showed me how to get the wheel on and off.

Today, I am going to a triathlon camp. I am learning everything I need to know to complete my first triathlon. It should be interesting. I hope I am in good enough shape to keep up. There are a bunch of different sessions. The obvious three: swimming, biking and running with a coach. Then there's nutrition, how to do a transition and stuff like that.

I am feeling a little bit overwhelmed. I am amazed at how many things actually go into this whole triathlon experience. I am wondering so many different things. It seemed simple enough, you just swim a bit, then bike a bit, then run a bit, but getting from one sport to the other will be challenging. And what to wear. And what to eat. Hopefully today provides some guidance into some of those things!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A little update...

So last night, after posting about the triathlons, I decided to check out the Leduc Element Women's Triathlon that was on September 6th. I didn't see anywhere to sign up, so I figured it was sold out, but rather than simply use that as an excuse, I emailed the sponsoring shop just to see. And, wouldn't you know it, there is still space, I just never noticed the "Register Here" link on the race calendar. So, I signed up. Just like that, I am now set to do my first ever triathlon. I think it's time to go swimming, or biking, or something...

And as for my weight, well, it's still a work in progress. Today I weighed 186.4 pounds (84.55kg). So, not much has changed, but I am okay with that. I have been eating fairly decently, watching my portions, and exercising fairly regularly. I'll keep plugging away at it though!! And really, I have to remember, that in January, I topped the scales at 246 pounds (111kg) (I think that was the highest I weighed) right before my son was born, so really, I have made a lot of progress!!

Should I "tri"?

So this past weekend, my husband and I volunteered at the Ironman Calgary 70.3. It was fun. We got to help set up Transition 2, where the athletes go from their bikes into the run. It was neat. I was blown away by the logistics involved in triathlons. I mean truly, it is just amazing!! It was great. On race day, we went and cheered for the athletes on the bike section. It was fun. We had posters with us: "You are my hero" and "looking mighty fine". I loved the reactions we got, from the thumbs up to the smiles to the waves, etc. It was great.

Being a part of this event though, really sparked a desire in me to do a triathlon. Don't get me wrong, that desire has always been there, but my dread of the swimming portion has always been stronger than my desire to do it. Yet, for some reason, now I'm realizing I should just go ahead and give it a shot. What do I have to lose? Time to suck it up and try.

Someday I want to do an ironman. Not sure exactly when, but was sort of thinking when I was in my forties. Now though, I am wondering why I am waiting until then. Am I using that as my reason for not starting? What if something happened and I never made it to forty or was unable to do it for some reason at forty, Would I always regret that I never went ahead with it?

I think I might try and go swimming this week, just to see. And then I will set my "tri" plans in motion. First up is a beginner race, then I will put in my name for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon. It's on my list of things I really want to do, so what is holding me back?? Time to go ahead and start putting these dreams into motion...

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Climb every mountain...

So, every now and then I like to change things up with my fitness and working out schedule. And this week, that involved a scramble. What is a scramble you ask? Why, a scramble is when you go to the top of a mountain, sometimes using your hands to help you in tricky spots, getting up or down. I facebooked a friend who I knew liked to hike and we got some dates together and drove out there. I brought my baby, and had him in a kid backpack, and my older child went to the dayhome for the day. We set out in the morning, Starbucks in hand and drove to Canmore. Our chosen mountain was Ha Ling, named after the first person to reach the top.

The thing about climbing mountains is, it's all up. Literally, in order to get to the top, you just keep going up until there is no more up to do. It's not like hiking along a trail through the forest with ups and downs, again, if you want to reach the top of a mountain, you have to keep going up. My friend was doing her first ever scramble and we took our time. I mean, I was, after all, carrying an extra person and all!! It was great fun. I'm sure I burned a couple thousand calories. My heart was a thumping the whole time, going up and even coming down (although coming down was a lot less effort for the lungs!!).

We did great. We made it to the top, had some snacks, took some pictures, and then headed back down. The thing with this particular hike, is it's only 3km to get to the top, but you go up somewhere between 700 and 800 meters in elevation. So, it's a very short distance to cover that amount of altitude gain. Just think about it. 800 meters is two times around a track, it's just short of a kilometre, UP.

I loved it. I loved every huffing and puffing moment of it. I loved the exercise I knew I was getting, and I loved the feeling of accomplishment when we got to the top. "So, what did you do today?", "oh not much, just climbed to the top of a MOUNTAIN!!"

I want to do more. Not sure which ones, they have to some that are easy enough to do with a kid on my back. I also want to do more hikes, and take the family. I am so fortunate that I live in a part of the world where hiking in the mountains is something I can do whenever I want. I may as well take advantage of it!!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Last night I was really hungry. After a fairly decent supper (have you seen the cover of bon appetit this month?), of Moroccan Turkey Burgers, I spent the evening feeling super hungry. I was craving ice cream, but promised myself I would only have ice cream if I ate a bunch of fruit and still felt hungry. So, I had a bowl of rainier cherries. They were so good. The bowl was big enough that I could have shared with my husband but I ate them all. Wow, I was hungry!! And, even after that I was still feeling really hungry. So, I had some ice cream. It was just a small little bowl. It was heavenly. I loved it. And after that, I was still hungry!! So, I drank some water. I mean, I can do the math, and I knew I had put in enough calories, but wow, I can't believe how hungry I felt last night. Here's hoping my body found some of the many stores of fat and found more nourishment there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not just for the military...

Boot camps were always known for their tough work in getting young recruits ready for the military. And in the last few years they are popping up all over the place for people trying to get in shape. I've always wondered what they were like. Recently though, I got to find out first hand.

I have been going to a trainer every two weeks. I meet with the trainer and two other ladies (makes it more affordable). Well, when the summer schedule came out for the fitness fix where we meet, they had forgotten about our sessions. So, they needed to adjust our sessions. We had the choice, come in earlier and do the session (doesn't work because I have to wait until the husband is home before I can leave), or come in at the same time, do half an hour with the trainer, then stay for another hour of boot camp. We choose the boot camp option.

Wow. I mean really, that's all there is to say. Boot camps are tough. They don't seem like it, but truly, I work harder in that hour than on most of my runs. This particular boot camp is a mix of cardio and strength exercises. The cardio portions are short, but very tough. Mostly sprints and fast types of exercise. And the strength is no walk in the park either. We're talking full body stuff, like push ups and squats and that sort of thing. By the end of the session, I am completely spent. Utterly exhausted. Having sweated buckets. And, every week, I keep thinking it will get a little easier but in fact, it gets even harder. This week for example. I used a spin bike for the cardio portions. It was a super nice change from the treadmill and running, but it was super hard. My legs were on fire!!

So, if you need to pump some new life into your exercise regime, consider a boot camp. It really is as tough as you might have heard, but the results are completely worth the effort!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Still alive, really...

I have a confession to make. My husband got me an iphone. It's fantastic. I spend way less time on the computer, because I'm now spending that time on the iphone. When I am feeding the baby, I get time to read blogs, facebook, check emails, but don't need to be on the computer to do it. So, it keeps me off the computer, but it keeps me from updating my blogs regularly as well.

Luckily, I have still managed to fit in my running and exercise most days. I am very proud of that, since I'm sure the immediate guess is that I fell off the wagon and haven't wanted to admit it. I can say that I haven't been perfect, especially on the eating side, but I am very much still on the wagon for the most part. As a matter of fact, I even just checked my weight and if you can believe it was at 187.2 (84.91kg). So, I am still headed in a downward direction.

I attribute most of my success to exercise. I made myself a poster. It is counting down the weeks until the half marathon in the Okanagan in October (less than 11 weeks now, in case you were wondering). The poster is working out pretty well for me. Most wees I am able to colour in at least 4 squares (I have up to five a week). I made it through all the hills too. Now I'm onto speed work before the 10km in two weeks. It's coming together. My hope is that I will break an hour for the 10km. I don't know if I will or not. I will try my best. That is what I am aiming for. If I don't make it, I have another race in September and I could try then as well. Maybe it's a silly goal, but it's something that's important to me and I've been putting forth a lot of effort to reach that end. So, we'll see, stay tuned... only time will tell... but next time, I'll tell you about what has been really working for me lately with exercise... aside from just plain running...

Monday, July 13, 2009

A short vacation...

Sometimes life is busy. Being away from home is fun, but it can disrupt routines to no end. Just ask my son, who still seems to think going to bed at 10pm is okay. Oh well, we're working on that.

I spent 9 days travelling with my mom, and two sons. It was great. My husband was even able to join us for the weekend in Seattle. I had a lot of fun. We did a lot of driving (somewhere around 3000km I believe?). But, I did bring my running shoes with me, and I did, in fact, run. I managed to run three times while I was gone. Once in Kamloops, once in Bellevue (on a treadmill doing intervals), and once in Sun Peaks (the long run). It was fantastic. I was very grateful to my mom for watching the boys while I ran. That certainly helped me have the opportunity.

Eating however, was not so great. I made a lot of bad choices, but figured I was on holidays, so what the heck. I know that is no excuse, but I have nothing else. I indulged in some cheesecake, creme brulee, ice cream sundaes, and numerous Starbucks drinks as well. And let's not forget chips and dip, and chocolates, and sodas. However, there were a few positive moments. I drank 8 glasses of water most days. Had yogurt a few times. Ate some fresh fruit along the way. So, although my eating was not ideal, there were at least some moments that went well.

Now though, I am back home, and after a busy weekend of cake making, I am back on track. I went running this morning and I go to the trainer tonight. So, I can get back to training for my 10km and half marathon...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Less than 16 weeks!!

If you can imagine, time is just flying by these days. It is now less than 16 weeks until I run the Okanagan Half Marathon in October. To get myself motivated, I created a poster for myself to countdown my workouts and hopefully have fun colouring and showing my son every time I go out running so he sees that I am an active person. I also made a poster for my friend who is running the same race as her first ever half marathon. She has been doing awesome so far, and together we manage to get out about once a week running. This week we started hills for the first time. We did two, and it was tough. It was a hot day, and we were both pushing a Chariot loaded up with two kids. So, I guess that was a bit of extra resistance, next week we'll do three, and hopefully can find the time to go without the kids, so we don't have the extra load!!

Things have been going pretty well lately. Today I took Sullivan running in the Chariot along with Cronos (the dog). I ran a route that ended up being 9.3km long. It was quite windy, so the uphill into the wind parts were definitely challenging. I had my ipod with me and was loving all the different songs that came on. It was a great run.

And, as for the weighing in... well, I just weighed myself, and was 189.4 pounds (85.91kg). Now, that might be a little low because perhaps my fluid intake should be more yet today (and it will be), but imagine the excitement when I stepped on the scale and was in the 180s!! That hasn't happened since before I was pregnant and even then, it's lower than I have been for at least a couple years now (I had been hovering around the 200 mark for quite some time). So, this was a huge accomplishment today. And this is good, because if I keep at it, the less I weigh, the easier the running will be, and since I am truly hoping to break an hour for a 10km sometime, this is extremely important!! That's it for now though...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Overcoming the temptation...

So, I was at the grocery store this morning, and possibly a little hungry while I was there. I needed to buy some groceries for dinner and decided on hot dogs, with salad on the side, and corn, and celery and carrots. Oh, and some peppers and onions for the actual hot dogs. As I was choosing the buns, I was so tempted to get a pastry of some sort. Everything looked fantastic. I mean truly. I could have had one of each. Even the little cinnamon danishes looked amazing and that might not normally be my first choice. It took everything I had but managed to get through without buying any. Instead I bought a grapefruit and a bag of grapes. So, that was a small little victory in the grand scheme of things.

And things are still going well in the weight loss department. I just weighed in at 192.6pounds (87.36kg). And that is after a somewhat disastrous weekend of eating. Started out good on the Friday with salmon and salad, but things just went downhill after that. Oh well, every day is a new day and even if things don't go well one day, that doesn't mean we can't improve for the next day!!

On the exercise front, things have been rocking. The last two weeks I have done amazing. I ran several times, once even at a pace of 10.1km an hour including hills (it was a treadmill workout). Another time, I thought I was running 6km, but it turned out to be 7.8km. And, I have been getting my strength workout in as well. At least 2 workouts a week of that, which is much better than other weeks. So, we're getting somewhere. And now, with a half marathon on the horizon for the fall, I will have to keep up with the training so that maybe I can have a personal best for that race!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Running Socks...

So, the other day, I went to see a movie, UP, with my husband, kids, and a friend and her kids. It was a great movie. As I was getting ready to go though, I chose to put on running socks. I really wanted to go running that day and figured if I was already wearing running socks it would help me be just that little bit closer to running.

Next up, we get invited to my brother's place for dinner. And, we go. I was worried that running wouldn't fit in to my day. And really, by the time we got home and got the kids to bed, it was after 9:30pm. I said to my husband that I didn't think I'd have time to run, and he said "but you already are wearing your running socks!!" He was right, and so I put on shorts and a tshirt and went to the basement to run on the treadmill. I only did a half hour program, intervals, but was so glad that I actually went down and did it, since really, I could have just stayed upstairs and watched television.

And, the moral of the story is... sometimes, doing something to give yourself the upper hand, really is the way to go. If I hadn't put on my running socks before leaving earlier in the day, there is a high probability that I wouldn't have gone running at all. But, since I already had the socks on, there was really no excuse... and so, I ran...

Now, it's been one week since I started this blog, and I now weigh 194.6pounds (88.26kg), so, we're slowly making progress.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ice Cream Soup...

I have a confession to make. I love mashing up my ice cream and making an almost soup out of it. This started back when I was just a child. Whenever we visited my grandparents' house, we always got to have ice cream sundaes, complete with vanilla ice cream, or butter pecan (my grandma's favourite), and then we got to put on Hershey's Chocolate Sauce, the kind that comes in a can. Sometimes she had the butterscotch as well, but always the chocolate. And cherries, with a little cherry syrup from the jar. And coconut. And optional sliced almonds. My grandpa loved the sliced almonds on his. We always got to choose what we wanted and then ate our sundaes at the table. We always mashed up the ice cream and then ate it all mixed up (we being, my brother and I). It was a childish thing to do, but it was so much fun!! This was one of my favourite things about visiting my grandparents.

Now, fast forward to today. I am a grown adult living in my own house with a family of my own. And, I still love having ice cream. And, even at 35 years old, still love mashing it up. I know I should probably grow up sometime, but why, it's fun. I love it. And, it makes me smile anytime I have one of my mashed up ice cream soup sundaes. Really, it is fantastic. Luckily, this is a treat I try not to indulge in that often. But, it is a treat I love, and it just doesn't taste the same unless you mash it up.

So, I will continue to make my sundaes, and I will continue to run to help offset the extra calories!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Running shorts...

I ran today, with my friend who recently signed up for a half marathon. She's pretty new to running, so right now it's a combination of running and walking. It felt great, plus, it was nice to be running with someone who is fairly new to running and offering my take on certain elements of running, like the kinds of clothes to wear. It made me stop and think about it, most specifically the leg part of the clothes.

In the summer, I wear shorts to run. They are spandex shorts that I would call bike shorts except that they don't have that extra padding. Back in my younger years though, that is what those shorts were called. I have worn bike shorts for running for as long as I can remember. I am not really one of those people that could ever wear the true running shorts that rival a bikini for the amount of skin they show. I really don't think anyone needs to see my whole thigh while I am running. I also have some bike shorts that are capri length. These are also comfortable to run in. I like having tight style shorts because I don't run into issues with them riding up on me, they stay in place and I feel comfortable in them. I would not feel comfortable in the short short running shorts. And, if you aren't comfortable (both mentally and physically), then you aren't likely to get out and run, so it's important that whatever you choose to wear, you feel good in.

I have started to dabble a bit into the world of running skirts as well. So far, I only have one running skirt and it's actually a maternity skirt, but it is fantastic. I ran a half marathon in it the day after I bought it (okay, I actually walked most of that race, but still). I have a gift card to use at a running store, and I think I will use it to buy a running skirt. That way, I can be stylish and run at the same time!! Can you imagine, I'll be more stylish in my running clothes than I am in every day life!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fitness vs. Food

I have goals, I have dreams. Unfortunately, sometimes the goals don't seem to compliment each other. I love baking and cooking and trying new things, but they aren't always the healthiest choices. And, I love running and exercise, but sometimes I am willing to come up with just about every excuse out there to skip it. So I have decided to blog about my journey.

I have big weight loss dreams. There was a point in my life when I weighed just under 150 pounds. For my height, that's about where I should be. I would like to be there again. However, in order for that to happen, I need to shed about 50 pounds. What amazes me about this, is I remember being just under 150 and thinking I was fat. I have since aged a lot and realized that the media really does nothing to help people feel good about themselves. For example, when I once joined weight watchers, I weighed 161 pounds, this was actually on the higher end of the acceptable weight for my height, yet I was there to lose weight. Crazy, isn't it. So here I am announcing to anyone that wants to listen, that I weigh 196.2 pounds and that I am 5'8" tall. I can't believe I am really putting that in print, or virtual blog space. However, I did weigh 242 pounds earlier in the year, in January, right before I had my second child, so, I have come a fair ways since then, but am really only back to where I was before I was pregnant. There is still a way's to go.

I want to use this blog to document my efforts and attempts at all things fitness and food. I know lots about both, yet I am not an expert on either. So, enjoy my efforts and hopefully you will see results.