Sunday, February 24, 2013

Looking for a Silver Lining

I'm just over halfway through my training cycle for Boston and looking back at the last two months, I am freaking out just a little bit.  I only run 3 days a week and I've missed about 20% of my weekly key workouts.  I've done all my long runs except one so that is a positive but I gotta say, I'm not feeling 100% confident about my ability to go sub 3:20 at Boston.  Sure, a lot can happen in 7 weeks and my racing season is just starting so who knows.  But, if I don't pick it up and start becoming more consistent, then race day in Beantown is not going to be pretty.  Of course, just as my knees have gotten better, work has picked up as well.  When work is busy, it's busy.  Like 12-14 hour days busy.  To top it all off, I may have to travel for work next week.  I don't normally mind doing that, especially when it's to warmer climes (we're supposed to go to Miami, woohoo) but, traveling for work usually means no free time.  The project I'm going to be potentially working on will involve 4 days in Miami and then coming back to Toronto to shoot for another 3 days.  Those 3 days will probably be over the course of a weekend.  The same weekend I have 20 miler number three scheduled. 

That should make life interesting to say the least.

Of course, me being the worrier/planner/obsesser that I am, I'm already trying to figure out when I can squeeze everything in because I really don't want to lose another week of workouts.


Perhaps I'm just worrying because I had a crappy run yesterday.  I always try not to let bad runs get the better of me, but yesterday was totally miserable.  I felt like I hadn't fueled enough before and my legs just hurt from the get go.  I figured after taking 2 days off that I'd feel great.  I did have a massage on Wednesday and A.R.T work done on Tuesday so perhaps my legs haven't quite recovered from that yet.  Who knows.  All I know is that yesterday sucked.  There was ONE positive from yesterday's run and that was the fact that my knees didn't hurt at all.  Usually they hurt when I start running and then they're fine.  Yesterday I started running with no pain.  Zero.  And I managed to hammer the downhills with no pain either.  Another plus I guess.  My quads have paid the price for that today but I've got another A.R.T session on Wednesday to help work that out.  The other positive was that I managed to go 1 second faster than my goal pace per km.  I was supposed to average 5:03/kms and I managed 5:02's for just over 32km.  Ok so that's 3 positives.  Guess I found the silver lining in yesterday's run after all. 

Ugly, but I got it done.
I have a monster tempo run scheduled on Tuesday (16km+warm up & cool down) but given that I am racing a half on Sunday, I will probably dial that back to 12km, which I will more than likely do on the treadmill since we're supposed to get a huge dumping of snow.  I suspect there will have to be some doubles this week.  Fun times.  Guess I better get into the kitchen and prep some meals because I think I'm going to be bringing the hungries all week long. 

How do you deal with a bad run? 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Trying to Kick the February Blahs with a little #Sweatpink

Hellooo Friday!  Even though this has been a short week for us it's been crazy.  It's always hard coming back after a holiday but it's even more difficult when things are busy.  My brain was still on vacation for the first few days back.  I'm 100% back now, thank goodness.  I'm so glad we managed to get away when we did.  For some reason, February is always a tough month for me.  I always struggle with the "blahs" during this month and even though we went away, the blahs have managed to creep up and bite me in the butt.  I think it's been the amount of snow we've been getting.  I don't mind the cold, especially if it's sunny out, it's the snow that I have a problem with.  It really messes with my running.  Tuesday it poured rain and then the temperature dropped so everything froze.  I actually tried to run outside with my group and then after almost wiping out twice in the span of a kilometer, I decided it wasn't worth it so I turned around, got in the car and drove to the gym to hammer out 8km on the treadmill.  It wasn't pretty but I got it done.  I had hoped to do the same thing on Thursday but I woke up that morning feeling really rough.  The cold really wreaks havoc on my sinuses and I felt like I was getting sick so I skipped the gym and my run.  I'm racing next weekend and I don't want to chance getting anything.  Flu season is not quite over yet so I'm going to do my best to keep the cooties at bay until after next weekend.  We're expecting more snow and the potential of freezing rain later on today so it should make my 20 miler tomorrow an "interesting" experience to say the least.  I'm so over this lousy weather.  Just give me some sunshine and clear pavement pretty please?!?

Despite the blahs this week, there have been a couple of positives.  I'd say that Wednesday was probably the best day of the week.  I signed up for two more races:  Harry's Spring Run off 8km in April, just before Boston and the Bread and Honey 15km the first weekend in June.  It was also my first day back with my swim club after our vacation and I came back to find that I had been moved into a lane with some much faster swimmers.  Like a lot faster.  And much to my surprise, I actually managed to kind of hang with them on our workout.  I didn't get totally killed like I thought I would.  I definitely worked a whole lot harder than I have in a while but it was a welcome change. 

The best part of Wednesday was that I found out that I had been accepted as a #Sweatpink Ambassador.  What is Sweat Pink you ask?  It's a community of like minded women that are into fitness and healthy living.  I follow a lot of the ambassadors on twitter and they are incredibly inspirational and supportive.  It seems like a great group of women and I am excited to have been asked be a part of the community!  For more info you can check out Fit Approach or just click on the I am a #sweatpink ambassador button in the top right corner of my blog.

At least February is almost over.  In less than a week, we'll be into March and to me, that means SPRING is literally just around the corner.  I cannot wait.

Do you get the winter blahs?  If so, how do you deal with them?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Playlist Thursday: All the Young Dudes

I have been having a bit of Playlist Thursday issues these last couple of weeks.  I had a lovely post partially written for the Valentines day edition of Playlist Thursday before I took off to Mexico but apparently Blogger and my ipad don't get along too well so I couldn't actually finish it while I was away.  UGH.  Then when I got back, my brain apparently decided to stay in Mexico.  I somehow managed to get ahead of myself and completely miss last week's Dance them (bummer) and published this weeks theme instead!  I quickly realized the error of my ways and took the post down to save it for this week.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to get my act together to actually DO last weeks post.  Bummer, because there were some good ones!  Anyway.....this weeks theme is DUDES.  Seriously.  Well actually it's music by dudes or a group of dudes.   Which is cool because lately I've been listening to a lot of good music by dudes.  Some old and some new.  Please be advised that parental discretion is advised for this weeks line up due to language.

The "Rules" of Playlist Thursday:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old.
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever floats yer boat.

And whatever you do, don't forget to head over to Pavement Runner's blog to check out the other participants posts!

Something Old
Artist:   Stevie Ray Vaughan
Title:  The House is Rockin'
Notable: I will never forget the day the world lost this man.  Luckily I had been able to see him in concert the year before.  What an amazing talent.  He made playing the guitar look easy. He gave me a whole new appreciation for good old fashioned blues music.
Quotable: "Kick off your shoes start losin' the blues, this old house ain't got nothin' to lose"

Something New
Artist: Robert DeLong
TitleGlobal Concepts

Notable:  I first heard this song last summer on Sirius XM and couldn't decide whether I liked it or not but there was something about the beat that kept me from switching the station and it eventually made it on to my running playlist.  
Quotable: "Did I make money? Was I proud? Did I play my songs too loud? Did I leave my life to chance or did I make you f***ing dance?"

Something to Consider
Artist: Gotye
TitleEasy Way Out

NotableI absolutely loved Somebody I Used to Know but wasn't crazy about the second release off that album (Eyes Wide Open) and then I heard this.  It immediately made it on to my playlist.  
Quotable: "Some feelings have a habit of persisting even though you wouldn't let it show."

People have told me I have pretty diverse taste in music and I think this playlist would definitely support that.

What do you think?  Would you put any of these dudes on your playlist?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hello Mexico: Fun in the Sun & Facing my Fears

G and I spent last week at the beautiful Paradisus La Perla in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  We left the day of the huge snow storm and lucky for us we got out just before all hell broke loose in Toronto.  It didn't take long for us to get used to our vacation routine.  This was the first time we've gone away when I've had a race to train for so I didn't have an excuse to slack off like I normally do.  G said he wanted to get a workout in every day if he could.  I figured that would be doable.  The gym there was actually pretty decent and they offered yoga, pilates and spinning classes as well and there were two huge pools we could swim in.  The tough part would be getting a good run in.  The resort grounds were not conducive to doing any sort of run unless you wanted to do a series of 2km laps, so you had to leave the resort.  It wasn't the nicest area just outside the resort, probably the Mexican equivalent to Regent Park but if you were going to be out in the day, it was ok.  So that's where we did our runs.  It was fairly flat and relatively shaded which made a huge difference as it got quite hot once you were out in the sun.  We had perfect weather for the entire week.  Sunny and hot. 

Over the course of the week, I managed to swim 3 times, run 3 times (twice outside and once on the dreadmill) and I did one full body weight workout and one upper body weight workout.  Not bad for a week away.  Obviously my eating was very different than what it's normally like but it didn't matter, it was only a week and the whole point of a vacation is to escape your routine.  And we definitely did that.  I had one of the best meals of my life at one of the restaurants there.  It was a tasting menu that took us over 2.5 hours to get through.  It was nothing short of amazing.  G and I both threw caution to the wind in terms of trying different foods.  I'm much more of an adventurous eater than G is but he really stepped up to the plate.  Perhaps that's why both of us had stomach issues by the end of the week, ha ha.   Oh well. 

We don't normally celebrate Valentines Day but it was hard not to get in the mood at this place.  The resort had all sorts of events planned along with a big party at the Red Lounge (one of the many bars at the resort).  That was all fine and good but we opted to do something a little different.  Before we left, G had said he wanted to do at least one excursion.  The week went on and we didn't book anything.  We did take a trip into Playa del Carmen to do some shopping but that was it.  There was one trip in particular that G was really interested in and that was the excursion to Rio Secreto.   It was close to the resort and it wasn't a full day excursion, which appealed to me.  The main thing holding me back was the fact that I am incredibly claustrophobic and this involved going underground into a series of caves (cenotes).  The mere thought of that made me nervous.  But, relationships are all about give and take and I figured I've been working on dealing with my claustrophobia that this would probably be a good test.  So on the Wednesday afternoon we booked the last spot available for the tour the next day. 

Our tour was scheduled to depart at 11:30 am so we had some time in the morning to get a workout in.  I hit the 'mill and did my mile repeats and an upper body & core workout.  Then we headed over to the breakfast buffet (which was amazing) and fueled up.  I could feel the apprehension building.  Our driver picked us up and said we had to stop at one other resort to pick up 5 more people.  We picked those folks up and we were on our way.   20 minutes later we pulled into the park.  We were given waivers to sign, and sat through a short video.  The guide asked if anyone had problems with enclosed spaces or darkness.  I was tempted to put my hand up but I didn't.  I put on a brave face but my stomach was in knots.  We had to take a bus into the jungle where the cenote was located.  That ride was brutal.  If we were on that road any longer, I would have had to take a gravol, there were so many rollers. 

Once we arrived, our guide, Francesca, met us and helped us get outfitted.  We had to wear a life jacket, a helmet and water shoes but a wetsuit was optional.  Given that I was in a bikini and the water was fairly cold, I opted to put on a wetsuit.   Then we were off into the jungle.  Before we could enter the cave, we had to ask permission so we went through a small ceremony with a Mayan shaman which was pretty cool.  As we came up on the entrance of the cave,  I was feeling a mix of anxiety and excitement.  The feeling of excitement caught me by surprise.  I knew it was going to be an amazing experience as long as I didn't let my fears get the better of me. 

I wasn't disappointed. 

The minute we went down those steps and into the cave, it was like entering an entirely different world.  A world with no sound and no light.  The quiet was almost overwhelming at times.  The first few meters were a little tough but I was so focused on where I was walking that I didn't think about the fact that I was in a cave over 75 feet underground.  We'd stop every so often so Francesca could talk about the different formations we were seeing.  I was ok when we were moving but when we stopped, I could feel the anxiety building.  I made a point of really focusing on what Francesca was saying and that seemed to help.  As we moved along, I actually started to feel better.  A sense of calm started to come over me.   I actually started to look around more.  It was breathtaking. 

I think the fact that I was with G made it easier.  I also knew how long the tour was and how far we were going so that helped quell some of the anxiety.  I can honestly say that I think the sheer beauty of what I was seeing made me forget about the fact that I was underground.  Sure there were a few points where I felt claustrophobic - there was one point where we had to crouch down and go through a narrow opening in the rocks - but for the most part, I felt ok. 
The "Snake Mouth"
 I can honestly say that this was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  It was like going to another world.   It was definitely an amazing and unique way to spend Valentines Day and it's certainly something neither one of us will forget.  I still can't quite fathom the fact that I did this.  I faced one of my deepest fears and managed to actually enjoy myself along the way. 

G and I in the mouth of the snake

Our group heading into the darkness

G and I lookin' stylish in our wetsuits and helmets
All in all, it was a fantastic week.  It felt like we were gone forever.  Now I'm back, refreshed and ready to get back to business. Bring it on.

Do you have any fears that prevent you from doing certain things?  

Would you have gone on this excursion?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Countdown to Beantown - 8 weeks out

I can't believe there is only 8 weeks left till the Big Day.  These last four weeks have just flown by.  When I left off in my last training update, all was well.  I was in a good place and I  felt strong.  I should have known that I'd jinx myself.  Shortly after that I started having knee issues.  It turned out to not be anything too serious but it did set me back a little.  I missed a long run and then took a week off all running.  It probably wasn't necessary but I felt it was better to be safe and give my body some rest just in case.  A few trips to the PT and some hip strengthening exercises and I'm almost back to normal.  I still have knee pain at the start of pretty much all of my runs but it subsides once I'm warmed up.  I managed 29km yesterday pretty much pain free. 

My speed work has really taken a hit in this last training cycle.  I haven't done any of the interval work I was supposed to do and I've barely done my tempo work.  It hasn't been easy between my knee issues and the amount of snow we've been getting.  I may actually start to do my interval work on the dreadmill, especially since I have my first race of the season coming up in 2 weeks.  I want to make sure my legs are tuned up and ready to race. 

This is how my last four weeks panned out:

Week of January 20th:  Run:  9.85km, swim: 4900m, bike 85km, stretching & strength:  2h 35 min

Week of January 28th:  Run:  37.07km, swim:  4550m, bike 46km, stretching & strength:  2h 30 min

Week of February 4th:  Run:  38.58km, swim: 3650m, bike 0km, stretching & strength: 3h 25 min

Week of February 10th:  Run:  47.09km, swim: 3650m, bike 0km, stretching & strength:  1h 30 min

I'm supposed to be up around 55-60km a week with my running mileage but that hasn't happened with this last cycle.  I'm hoping that I get back on track over the next couple of weeks because a sub 3:20 at Boston isn't going to happen if I don't put in all the work.  I've also missed my goal paces for my last 2 long runs as well as my tempo run from this past week.  I think that running in the heat made it tough for me to meet my long run pace and my goal tempo pace.  My long run yesterday didn't start off well at all.  I had stomach issues the last two days we were away so I was fairly dehydrated and my eating on Friday was anything BUT clean so I'm not surprised that I didn't feel great when my run started.  But miraculously, I managed to turn it around and negative split the run.  My legs didn't feel great but I toughed it out.  Best part, by the end of the day my stomach felt pretty much back to normal.  Thank goodness.

Now that we're back from vacation, I can get back into a regular cycling routine again and I'm planning on adding hot yoga into my workout rotation at least two to three times a month.  If I want to stay injury free, I really need to work on my flexibility.  It needs to become part of my training along with everything else I do.   For now it's back to A.R.T on Tuesday and a massage on Wednesday. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot.....

We couldn't have picked a better week to get away.  The day we left, Old Man Winter decided to throw a temper tantrum and spew snow all over the province.   Actually it was all over the entire eastern seaboard.  We were scheduled to leave Friday morning at 6:15 am and the tip of the storm had started to roll in on Thursday night.  Because I'm nuts, I actually ran home in it.  Well I ran about 9 of the 11km and then said screw it and called G to come and get me.  The unsure footing was starting to bother my knees and it wasn't worth aggravating them.
Of course, I was worried about our flight not getting out on Friday morning but G, ever the voice of reason said there was no way that we wouldn't leave as we were one of the first flights scheduled.  Sure enough he was right.  We actually even left the gate on time!  We didn't actually take off until 7:00 am after going through de-icing but I can't complain at all.  I was much faster than I had anticipated.
We arrived in Mexico less than 4 hours later and immediately forgot about the cold we left behind.  We sat on the beach and then wandered around the resort trying to get the lay of the land.  I quickly realized that there were limited areas in which to run.  The resort is set up like a big maze with a lot of dead ends and obstacles.  Not ideal for running.  I had a 21km race pace run to do on Saturday morning so I figured I'd have to go off the resort and into Playa del Carmen to even get 10km in. G was game to run with behind me for about 45 minutes or so.  We did a small loop inside the resort and then made our way out and into the outskirts of Playa del Carmen.  The roads were quite nice.  There was a huge bike lane that we ran in, all the way to the highway and then we turned around and actually ran towards Playa del Carmen city centre.
We left shortly after 7:00 am and the temps were perfect.  About 35 minutes in, it started to get hot.  I was moving along a decent pace and I felt strong.  My legs felt great and I had no knee issues at all. As soon as I felt the heat I started to struggle. I could feel my heart rate go up a few beats per minute. I knew the two 10 oz bottles of GU brew I brought would not be enough.  I still felt alright so I kept pushing the pace.  I think the locals thought I was a bit nuts.  Who the hell was the skinny white chick with the pig tails and day glow yellow shoes running through town like a madwoman??
The shoes definitely got some looks.  No matter, I chugged along looking for shade wherever I could find it.  G and I did an out and back route along the Main Street.  G had enough just over 45 minutes in so we made our way back to the resort.  I found another shaded road that ran parallel to the resort. I ran long there until I hit construction.  I found that despite the heat, I was still able to push the pace.
I was supposed to run 4:43's but I found myself running closer to 4:30's because I felt so good.  Once I got back onto the resort grounds it was like running into a wall of heat. I looked at my Garmin and saw just over 12km.  I figured there was no way I was going to make another 9km, it was just too hot.   I ran around to the side entrance and saw G sitting there waiting for me with a nice cold bottle of water.  He filled up my bottles and off I went to do another loop or two.  I figured if I got 15km in that would be enough.  On my second little loop I realized I'd be closer to 16km.  Even better.  As I rounded the bend back towards the entrance, I literally had sweat dripping off my elbows as I ran.  I was drenched.  But I felt great.  Sure it was tough but I didn't mind.  I think if I had had a clear path to run on vs having to do loops I might have stuck it out for the full 21km.  But breakfast was calling as was a nice cold shower.  Definitely not a bad way to start our vacation.  The best part:  I could spend the rest of the day "recovering" on the beach.
Add caption

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Playlist Thursday: Up the Tempo

These next few weeks of Playlist Thursday posts are going to be good ones!  Pavement Runner has come up with some awesome themes.  I really love this weeks theme.  Those of you that know me, know how much I love to run fast.  There are a group of songs on my ipod geared specifically towards picking up the pace and they really do help me kick it in to overdrive.

The "Rules" of Playlist Thursday:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old.
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever floats yer boat.

And whatever you do, don't forget to head over to Pavement Runner's blog to check out the other participants posts!

Something Old
Artist: Red Hot Chili Peppers
TitleHigher Ground

NotableThis song goes way back.  Steve Wonder did it first and then the Chili Peppers took it and spiced it up.  Gets me every time.  Who's rockin' the air bass with me on this one?
Quotable: "World, keep on turnin' cause it won't be too long."

Something New
Artist: Tegan and Sara
Title:  Closer
NotableThe twins from Calgary have a new record out that is very different from their previous release.  They've headed in a much more danceable direction and I like it.  I like the beat of this a lot.
Quotable: "Here comes the rush before we touch, come a little closer."

Something to Consider
Artist:  Arctic Monkeys
Title:  Brianstorm
Notable: Pretty much every single song on this album makes me want to run fast.  This one is a fairly new addition to my playlist.  Definitely gets the legs pumping. 
Quotable: "Brian, top marks for not tryin', so kind of you to bless us with your effortlessness"

What do you think?  Will any of these get you running faster?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Yellow Birds First Flight

Only two more sleeps until I can run in a tank top and shorts.  YES!  I cannot even begin to tell you how. flipping. excited I am.  This winter has sucked the big one.  The only thing that would have made it worse was if we had a ton of snow.  Thankfully we haven't had too much.  It's just been grey, cold and generally miserable.  I need to see the sun and bask in it's warmth.   But for now, it's two more days of cold and grey.   Yeah yeah, I know, I'll shut up now.

Despite the grey skies outside, things have been looking up.  I had another really good A.R.T session yesterday morning and that, coupled with the 90 minute hot yoga session I did on Sunday has really helped to loosen everything up.  On Monday, I even managed to do 3 sets of 8 reps of squats with no knee issues.  I used a much lighter weight than normal (65lbs vs 80lbs) and I felt great.  No pain, nothing.  WOOHOO.   The only pain I felt was in my glutes the next day.  Proof that I actually used my butt muscles!  Yeah!

The real test for me would be when I hit the road for my run groups Tuesday Tempo session.  My training plan had me slated to run 13km with 10 of it at 4:35/km's.  Tough considering I hadn't done any speed work in about 10 days.  I figured I was going to suck some serious wind.  My PT had taped both my knees up so I was feeling really good about letting loose.  In fact, I was absolutely chomping at the bit to go out and run fast.  I wasn't going to be stupid about it obviously.  If I didn't feel great, I wasn't going to push it.  But if I felt good, then I was going to let the dogs out.

I was also going to be taking these babies on their maiden voyage outside.

The Yellow Birds
I got to the community centre early and a dynamic warm up and then started my 3km warm up.  My plan was to get back close to when the club left so I wasn't standing around too long.  I started out slowly resisting the urge to push the pace.  My knees felt a little weird but I think that was due to the tape.  My right one was bothering me a bit so I started thinking about taking the tape off when I got back.  But once I hit my turn around point, it had stopped and I didn't think about it again.  I got back about 10 minutes before we were scheduled to leave.  Most of the group had arrived and I made sure I stretched and tried to keep limber because I knew that as soon as we started, it was hammer time.  I had hoped that at least one of the fast guys was going to be there so I could have someone to chase and sure enough, Steve was there.  On these runs, he's always in front of me by about 300m or so which is perfect.  It's close enough that I never lose the motivation to keep up the chase.   I figured the first 2km would be the test for me.  If I felt alright in those 2km then I was going to give 'er.  That 2km came and went and I felt amazing.  Well, as amazing as you can feel when you're pushing the pace.  My legs felt strong, my footing was sure and I was confident in my stride.  The Yellow Birds were flying.  I felt great until about 10km in, then I really started to feel fatigued.  The lactic acid was starting to build up in my legs and any uphills I hit became a bit of a challenge.  Guess that's what happens when you take 10 days off running.  I shut the whining down and focused on working through the hurt.   Pushing the limits just a bit farther.  With 500m left, I really pushed the pace, hitting 4:05 km's.  I was hoping to sneak under an hour for just over 13km but I didn't quite make it.  I was close.  The Yellow Birds had an excellent maiden voyage.

It's official.  I'm back. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Bouncing Back & The Burger Recipe

I don't want to jinx myself but I'm going to put it out there anyway.  I'm back baby.  At least I *think* I am.  Yesterday was long run day.  After taking over a week off running, going through some A.R.T, knee taping and working on strengthening my hips, I was jonesing to get out.  I was just like a kid at Christmas.  I couldn't wait to get to bed on Friday night so I could get up Saturday morning and run.

Thursday I had some A.R.T work done on my quads.  It wasn't pretty but I couldn't believe the difference it made.  To make sure I stayed limber, I went to a hot yoga class on Thursday night.  I woke up Friday morning feeling like a million bucks.  I had NO knee pain when I went up and down the stairs.   WOOHOO!  Bring on Saturday.

Saturday morning was really chilly.  I layered up, opting to wear my Zoot thermal compression capris, along with my compression calf sleeves, topped with a pair of New Balance wind stopper tights.  I figured the compression capris would help keep my knees somewhat in alignment.  Definitely a good call.  I did my prescribed exercises as a warm up before I headed out the door.  As soon as I hit the pavement, I started smiling.  It took me a little while to get into a groove.  My legs didn't start to feel good until about 6km in.  My pace was steady.  I certainly didn't have it in me to push the pace and that was ok as my goal pace for today's run was 5:12 km's.  My plan was to do the 29km that I skipped last week.  I had my phone with me in case I decided I needed to cut the run short and had to call in the sag wagon.

yeah, it was THAT flipping cold.
 I'm happy to say, that didn't happen.  There were a few unpleasant moments but they came and went fairly quickly.  I actually felt really good until about 20km and then the fatigue started to set in.   My hamstrings were especially tired.  Probably because they were actually working for a change, ha ha.  I did the same route I did 2 weeks ago.  When I mapped it out, it said it was almost 31km but when I ran it, I actually had to add on to make it 30km so I figured if I did the same route, minus the add on, I'd probably come in close to 29km.  The closer I got to home, the more I realized that my Garmin must have malfunctioned or lost it's signal on that previous run because I was actually going to be over 30km.  Sure enough as I got up to the house, my Garmin ticked over to 30.21km without me even doing the add on!  WTH??  So of course, I had to go back and re-map the route that I actually ran two Saturdays ago.  Turns out I actually ran 32.65km.  Guess that's one 20 miler in the bag!

Pretty good come back run!
I spent most of Saturday afternoon horizontal on the couch.  I am happy to say that my knees were actually feeling pretty good even after 30km.  My calves on the other hand, really need some work.  Good thing I've got another PT appointment scheduled Tuesday morning and I'm thinking I may actually head to a hot yoga class this afternoon.

A couple of you have asked for my Umami burger recipe.  I thought I had it nailed but I still feel like there is something missing.  Despite that, I'm going to share it anyway.  I may try using fish sauce in place of the anchovy paste next time I make them.  That might be the missing ingredient.  And I may add a just bit more garlic powder.  If make them and decide to add / subtract anything, let me know how they turn out!

Umami Burgers

1.5 lbs of extra lean ground beef (I think that's how much I had, not 100% sure though)
1/3 of a large sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 of a portobello mushrooms, finely chopped & sauteed
1/4 cup of ground flax seeds
1 egg
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp of anchovy paste
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
a pinch of salt
pepper to taste

Mix everything together and form into patties.  Toss on the grill or in the frying pan and cook to desired done-ness.  I like mine medium rare.

This recipe made 7 decent sized patties that I wrapped up and froze. 


Do you have a favourite burger recipe?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I've Been Nominated for What?

You have to love the support of the blogging community, really.  Especially us runner/bloggers.  On Wednesday I was nominated for a Liebster award by Ty over at Seeking Boston Marathon.  I've heard of this award but had no idea what on earth it was.  To quote Ty,  "a Liebster award is for upcoming bloggers with less than 200 followers to help raise interest in their blog and connect with other like-minded bloggers."


It's a lot like the top 10 lists that bloggers have been tagging other bloggers in.  Or, if you remember the days of a thing called letter writing (wow, I sound like I'm about 90), then it's kind of like a chain letter but a lot more entertaining and interactive.

The Rules:

Each nominated person must post 11 things about themselves.
Answer the questions that the nominator set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people you've nominated.
Nominate 11 people and link them to your post.
Go to their page and tell them and most importantly, NO TAG BACKS!    

So without further ado, here are 11 random things about me:

1.  I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in drawing and photography but I haven't drawn anything in years and I take more pictures with my phone than I do with my camera.
2.  I work as a producer at a commercial photography studio.  So I suppose I've still managed to stay in my field, ha ha.
3.  I am somewhat obsessive about recycling paper.  We go through so much paper here that I make a point of taking any "junk" or used paper and printing something on the other side.  All of my billings are done on recycled paper, ha ha. 
4.  I really got into running when I went through a major break up.  That was almost 15 years ago. 
5.  I have a hard time sitting still for too long.  Unless I'm lying in the sun. 
6.  I have a penchant for online shopping, especially on ebay.  It's a bit ridiculous. 
7.  I want to eat, drink and cycle my way across Italy with G.
8.  I've done 2 Ironmans.
9.  I wish I could sing but I'm completely tone deaf.  Unfortunately for those around me, that doesn't really stop me.
10.  G and I met at a Running Room marathon clinic 12 years ago.  Where has that time gone???
11.  I have been known to do a pretty mean Robot on the dance floor.  I know there is video evidence of this somewhere, I've seen it and it still makes me laugh. 

Questions that Seeking Boston Marathon posted for me to answer:

1)  What's the one thing that people would be most surprised to learn about you that has nothing to do with running (riding, or biking?) - I used to be petrified of open water swimming yet I managed to do 2 Ironman's and several other triathlons.  
2)  What's the best race you ever ran and why? In recent memory, I'd say it has to be Around the Bay 30km last year.  I paced myself perfectly for once and actually managed a negative split.  
3)  What's the furthest you've traveled to participate in a race?  All the way to Zurich, Switzerland for an Ironman.
4)  Who were you most happy to see as a spectator in a race?  G of course.  I always look for him.
5)  Do you think you've had your best race yet?  If I can get these weak hips of mine sorted out, then I think I'll be capable of some good races this year.  So no, I don't think I've had my best race yet.
6)  What's your favorite indulgence after a race or long run?  After a race:  A good burger, fries and a pint of good beer.  After a long run:  pancakes smothered in berries and real maple syrup.
7)  What song would you be most embarrassed about if others found it's on your ipod?  Party Rock by LMFAO
8)  What's your favorite shoe or shoe brand?  Mizuno!
9)  What's your most embarrassing run moment?  Running off course at last year's Mississauga Marathon.  d'oh.
10) When did you start running?  April 1998.
11) What's your perfect Saturday night?  Sitting on the couch with G watching either a movie or a new episode of Top Gear & enjoying a glass of wine.  Yeah, I'm old.  So what.  

And the nominations are....
Yo Momma Runs
Mom on Empty
Lift Teach Love Run
Noshing on Asphalt
Rebecca Roams
Sneakers and Fingerpaints
Fit Knight
Thinking Out Loud
Running for Autism
Jogging Jawa
Diary of Dashing Fashionista

Yeah ok some of these folks have more than 200 followers but, I'm curious to read their answers.

Now my questions for them!

1.  Speed work:  Love it or loathe it?
2.  How did you get into running?
3.  What is your one guilty pleasure?
4.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
5.  Do you have a bucket list?  If so what's #1 on it?
6.  What piece of gear could you NOT live without?
7.  Do you have a bad habit you want to break?
8.  What is your go to pre race meal?
9.  Do you prefer to run in cold or the heat?
10.  What do you love about running?
11.  Are you a solo runner or do you run with a group?

Looking forward to reading all your answers!  Thanks to Ty for the nomination! 

Friday, February 1, 2013

2013 Goals: One Month Check In

Right, so it's February 1st.  Who's still chasing their New Year's Resolutions?  Who still remembers what their New Year's Resolutions were?  Because I am slightly OCD, I actually typed mine out and printed it off.  It is now taped to my office wall as a nice little daily reminder of the 23 things I resolved to do or work on.  I promised myself that I'd do a check in every month to see where I was at with my list and since it's February 1st, it's time for an assessment.

Let's take a look at what's been done so far shall we??

#23:  Get back in the pool on a regular basis:  CHECK.  My swim mileage for January totaled a whopping 23,950m.  That's almost 24km of swimming.  I have managed to stick to my 3 days a week plan.

#21: Stay Consistent: I was consistent until last week when my knees told me to get lost. Good news is that I am almost 100% and I didn't really miss too much in terms of mileage.  I'll be testing out the legs on a long run tomorrow. 

#17:  Stretch:  CHECK.  I've even made it to a couple of hot yoga classes!  That definitely has to be something I do on a semi regular basis. 

#15:  Get on the Computrainer at least once a week:  CHECK.  I was on it 4 times last week.  That has to be record. 

#13:  Get my running coach certification:  The wheels have been put in motion.

#11:  Take out the trash in my diet and get back to clean eats:  DONE.  I've actually started to shrink a bit and my abs are coming along nicely.  Amazing how that all works.

#5:  Remember that the foam roller is my friend:  Um yeah, hard not to forget.  I've just engaged in a long term affair with mine.  He gets me into all sorts of compromising positions.

#3:  Keep doing my rehab exercises:  I had been doing everything for my ankle issues now I have to add hip exercises to my routine. 

#1:  Maintain an attitude of gratitude even when the going gets tough.  Despite my minor setback last week, I kept reminding myself that things could always be worse.  

I think I'm doing fairly well in the goal getting department.  It was great to log on to Instagram yesterday and see all the #goalgetter2013 posts as well!  I caught up on a couple of the ladies blogs yesterday and there's been some excellent progress made!   In case you missed my post last month, here are the list of ladies that are hosting the challenge.

How are you doing with your New Year's Resolutions?  Have you added anything else to your list?