Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #6

Well this week is just flying by.  That's good, because that means we're only 4 weeks or so away from Spring.  Let's hope Mother Nature realizes that sooner rather than later.  I could use a little warmth in my life.  I'm hoping that G bring some sunshine & warmer temps with him when he comes back from Mexico City.

It's Thinking Out Loud Thursday and once again I'm linking up with Amanda over at Running With Spoons for some random fun.

This week has been an odd mix of busy and slow if that makes any sense.  If you work in advertising you know exactly what I mean.  It's a whole lot of hurry up and wait.  Anyway, my brain has been busy processing work related things so there haven't been a whole lot of random thoughts running around up there.  However, there are a few things that got me excited this week (sorry pervs, this is not THAT kind of blog)

1.  Tonight is the season premier of Vikings (cue excited squeals). Unfortunately it's on at 10:00 pm which is way past my bedtime.  Thank goodness for PVR's.

2.  Due to the urging of my friend Caitlin, I have recently started watching True Detectives.   Yet another show that is going to become an obsession.  Matthew McConaughey is a-ma-zing.

3. As I mentioned in yesterdays post, I'm racing on Sunday.  I wasn't terribly excited about it but now that I realize just how many of my "blends" & Daily Mile pals are doing it, I'm actually looking forward to it.  If you see me and my crazy hair (tucked under a purple toque sadly), come and say hi!

4.  The ongoing quest to heal my knees continues.   This week has been particularly uncomfortable for me which has worried me a lot,  knowing that I am going into a race on Sunday.  I feel like I am only getting so far with my mobility work so I took the plunge and went to see a Chiropractor who does Graston.  Graston is a technique that uses steel tools to work the muscles.  The practitioner drags the steel tool across the affected areas to help release the scar tissue / knots.  OMFG. It hurts like hell.  Probably because muscles are bumpier than a dirt road.  This is not good.  A normal muscle should be smooth.  Mine have ruts and bumps like nobody's business.  My hamstrings were like a washboard.  I'd rather have my abs described that way, not my hamstrings.  The good part is that she thinks Graston will help sort that out.  The bad-ish part is that we don't know if that's actually the cause of my knee pain.  She did mention she is a bit worried about my meniscus on my left knee.  She said I could potentially have meniscal derangement (this made me feel a bit deranged).  She did say that of all the things that were to go wrong with your meniscus, this is the easiest one to treat.  So I have to see her once a week for the next 8 weeks. 
Graston torture tools - Source
5.  On a musical tangent:  I'm loving Sam Roberts new album: Lo-Fantasy.  The songs have a great summertime vibe to them.  I downloaded the deluxe album because it gets you a bunch of remixed tracks as well.  I love "extras" on an album so I almost always get the deluxe version.

6.  I was expecting some news from the B.A.A soon about corrals etc so when I saw an email from them yesterday I got excited.  Turns out it was an announcement about procedures for this year's race.  I had been wondering how things would be handled and yesterday I got my answer.  Basically you are not allowed to bring a bag with you to the start.  In previous years you've gotten a bag that you can stash your post race clothes in and anything else you want to have with you.  You drop it off at the assigned bus according to your bib number and then you head off to the start line.  Not this year.  This year you bring that bag to Boston Common where you catch the bus and you drop it off there.  You also have to go BACK there (it's about a half mile walk) and pick it up after the race instead of the old way where as soon as you crossed the finish line you made your way towards the  the bus with your corresponding bib number so you could get your bag.   The B.A.A. will be providing all runners with this stylish heat retaining poncho.  I suspect that this new procedure will definitely streamline the finish line process so it will be less congested.   I'm not too fussed about it.  I'm goo with whatever it takes to make things safer for everyone. 

Ok folks, your turn!  Tell me something random!  
What are your thoughts on the new security measures at Boston?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

And So It Begins

I am a mere 5 days away from the first race of my season and normally I'm excited but this year I'm so not feeling it.   I'm blaming that entirely on the weather.  The Polar Vortex has made it's way back to Toronto so it is currently freezing.  That race day forecast I posted a couple of weeks ago....all lies.  I think I jinxed myself by doing that.  This is now what we are expecting on Sunday.


Enough already.

I had a great race last year, coming very close to breaking 1:30 without it even being on my radar to do so.  I also negative split the race by about 2 minutes.  I basically hauled a$$ for the last 7km, running as hard as I could.   I certainly don't expect a repeat of that performance this year, mainly because of the temperature.  I've been doing so much indoor training this year that running hard in the cold has become very difficult for me.   That being said, there is something about race day that makes just about anything possible.  I don't expect to come close to my Scotia PR but if I go sub 1:30, I'll be happy.  It will all depend on the wind, which right now is forecast as being 13kph out of the north east so it should be at my back on the way to the finish line.  But we all know how fickle the wind can be.  I'm convinced it blows in circles because almost every run I've done outside this year, it's been in my face no matter what direction I'm going.  

I always go into this race with no expectations because it's the first race of the season.  I treat it as a test to see where I'm at.  I feel like my training has been going well, even with all the treadmill miles.  It's definitely different than last year with the addition of all these extra miles on the bike, which I'm sure will have some benefit in regards to my running.  I thought for sure that Ming would have me doing a long-ish bike workout on Saturday but he's given me the option of a half hour run, half hour ride or half hour swim.  I'm thinking it's going to be a ride.  Just a really easy spin to get my legs moving. 

What I'm looking forward to the most is our post race brunch.  My friend Kiki and I are going for brunch after the race to start my birthday celebrations, because that's how I roll.  Start the celebrations early and celebrate for the entire week of my birthday, ha ha.   My birthday isn't until Monday but that's a minor detail.  After brunch we've been invited to our friend Carm's place to use the hot tub.  Perfect post race recovery!  So while I may not be terribly excited about racing in the cold, I at least have some fun things to look forward to afterwards!

Who else is racing this weekend?  Anyone else adjusting their race day expectations due to the Polar Vortex?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Finding Balance: #Mingsanity Week 7

One of the best parts about having a coach is the fact that they can push you that little bit more than you'd push yourself.  I know for a fact that if I was making up my own plan, I wouldn't be doing a lot of the bike workouts that Ming has me doing.  I probably would have just gotten time in the saddle without really doing anything even remotely structured during my ride.  I also know that I'd probably continue to push myself even when I needed a break.  Having someone to be accountable to and that looks for feedback on how I'm feeling, recovering etc has been amazing.   He's kept me in check and adjusted my workouts accordingly.  So sometimes a week that was supposed to be a high volume week, turns into a medium/high volume week because I'm not recovered enough.  That's what this past week was.  It was supposed to be a high volume week but I've been one tired and sore little lady so he dialed things back on the bike and focused more on the run.  Sure my legs are still tired, especially after yesterdays bike workout but I don't feel as sore as I did a couple of weeks ago.   

As usual I'm linking up with Krysten, Amanda & Erica to put my #Bestfoot forward.  So let's see how this week unfolded.

Monday:  Family Day!  Pool was closed so I went to hot yoga and did a 60 min ride.
Tuesday:  Decided to skip my morning ride and sleep in.  That would have been ride #3 in 3 days and I couldn't face getting back on the bike.  P.M.  run outside with WTP.  Was supposed to do 13km but the roads were so crappy I cut it short.  Didn't even get my tempo work done. 
Wednesday:  2500m swim. 
Thursday:  12.16km run on the treadmill with 4x1 mile repeats.  That was a sweat fest but I totally nailed it.  Followed by body weight circuit.  P.M.  80 minute ride that turned into a 70 minute ride. 
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  25.75km run with 10km at tempo pace.  Didn't nail the tempo piece due to high winds and icy patches on the sidewalk but I still got a good effort in and it was SO NICE OUT.  This was followed by a body weight circuit at the gym.

Sunday:  Skipped my swim to watch the hockey game and opted to do my ride while watching the game.  1h 30 minutes turned into 1h 45 minutes.  It was a tough bike workout too as he had me doing power sets. 

I struggled a lot with motivation this week.  Especially later on in the week.  The weather really has gotten the better of me.  I literally dreaded my Thursday morning treadmill workout and I NEVER dread workouts.  I was so thankful that this weekend turned out to be as beautiful as it was.  It was a welcome reprieve!  Unfortunately we're heading back into a cold snap, which totally sucks because I'm racing this weekend.  Yup, it's the first race of the season for me, which means that this week of workouts is all really easy, thank goodness.  But it's supposed to be -11 or something stupid like that come race day.  Not sure how well these legs of mine will perform in the cold, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Totals for this week:

Swim:  2500m
Bike:  97.01km
Run: 46.27km

Total time:  10:05.  Not too bad but that's probably because I skipped a ride, a swim and shortened a run, ha ha. 

How was your week of training? 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #5 - Favourites!

I love that Thursday is here already.  Thank you short work week.  One more day of crazy and then it's the weekend again!  YAY.  I've got a few random thoughts for you today but I'm going to dice things up a bit and share some of my favourite random thought posts from my readers.  I almost wanted to call this "Confessions" because that's what some of these seem to be, ha ha.   As per usual, I'm linking up with Amanda and bunch of other like-minded folks so don't forget to head on over to her blog and check out her post as well as all the others!

1.  This little thing has been my saving grace over the last few weeks.  I haven't really gotten into it here but I've been having knee problems since late November, early December.  My PT suspects it's because of my tight calves, achilles, feet and general lack of mobility in my ankles.  She's given me stretches and mobility work to do along with the instruction that I roll my feet on this sucker 4-5 days a week.  There are no words to describe just how much it hurts.  But, amazingly, it seems to be helping with my knee pain.

2.  I have become addicted to these.  It's a Caramel Flan Latte with whipped cream.  So incredibly bad for me.  Thank goodness they are only around for a limited time because I don't think my waistline could take it.  

3.  I discovered that the Running Room is now carrying Salted Caramel Gu.  I did a little happy dance in the middle of the store when I saw that.  I was tempted to buy a whole box but stopped myself at just 3.  I still have a bunch of chocolate outrage & peanut better that I have to get through.   Hmmm I wonder what they would taste like all mixed together?? 

Now on to my favourites from the last few weeks.

4.  Sara at Life Between the Miles only wears socks when working out.  I think if I lived somewhere that was even remotely warm all year round, I'd only wear socks when working out.

5.  If I lived in San Francisco, I'd be Pavement Runner's best good running buddy.   True story.

6.  Many of you enjoy watching reality TV.  Kristy at Runaway Bridal Planner loves Heartland, which is a Canadian show. And pretty much all of you love Game of Thrones just as much as I do.

7.  Michelle over at 3 Cheap Runners, saves her favourite coloured Saucony's for "special" runs so the mileage doesn't get too high on them.  That is TOTALLY something I would do.  Favourite shoes always bring good run mojo!

Ok folks, your turn!  Tell me something random!!  
Who else has a Starbucks problem?

Monday, February 17, 2014

#Mingsanity Week 6 + 9 Weeks to Boston 2014

Happy Monday!  It's a holiday here in Ontario so I've got another day to catch up and decompress from my whirlwind weekend.  I'm also going to take advantage of the extra day off to get to a hot yoga class and do some food prep to get me through this week.  It also means I'm missing a swim because all the pools are closed.  But that's ok.  I need to recover from yesterday's brutal swim.   It's been a long time since I struggled like I did yesterday but I guess that's what happens when you do a hilly 28km run followed by a mid-day weight workout that involved chin ups and box jumps.  I need to remember that I'm almost 43 and I don't recover as quickly as I used to, ha ha.

I'm well into my training and I have to be honest, I've forgotten just how perpetually tired your legs feel when you're training for long distance triathlon.  I haven't felt this way since Ironman training.  All my long runs as of late have been started on very tired legs.  But I suppose that once I'm properly tapered for Boston, my fresh legs will be capable of awesome things.  At least that's what I'm hoping.   Speaking of Boston, we are a mere 9 weeks away.  9 weeks!  This time last year I had already done two 20 milers and this year I'm not doing my first 20 miler until mid March.   By the time I got to Boston last year I had five 20 milers under my belt.  This year I will only have two.  That makes me a bit uneasy but G reminded me that I've been putting a lot of miles on the bike as well so that will also help me. 

This week was supposed to be a high volume week but Ming diced things up a bit because I was still recovering from the previous week's beat down.  Thankfully he gave me easy bike workouts during the week so I could recover from my tough run sessions. 

As usual I'll be linking up with Krysten, Amanda & Erica to put my #Bestfoot forward this week.  This is how week 6 of #Mingsanity broke down:

Monday:  2200m swim
Tuesday:  13km run with 10km at tempo pace + weights in a.m.  Evening workout:  90 minute easy ride on the trainer.
Wednesday:  2350m swim
Thursday:  80 minute easy trainer ride in a.m.  Evening workout 11.63km with 5x1200m repeats on 4:45.  One for each piece of pizza I had a lunch.  Not good.  I definitely felt that on my run.  Body weight circuit after the run.
Friday:  OFF.  I had the option to swim but sleep seemed like a much better idea.
Saturday:  28km run with 2x8km at tempo pace.  Coach Ming said if I was going to run hills then I should just run that effort and not be concerned with hitting my pace times so that's what I did.  This was followed by weights.  The run pretty much killed me.

Sunday:  2600m swim, followed by a 90 minute ride with 45 minutes at 160w.  Couldn't hold that at all.  Legs were so tired. 

Totals for the week:

Swim: 7150m
Bike:  143km
Run:  53km

Total time:  12 hours 48 minutes.  Here we go into part time job territory again. 

This week is a medium volume week so I should be able to get a bit more recovery in and then I'm on to a low volume week to get me ready for the Chilly Half.  I am hoping that the weather holds out and I can re-join my run group on Tuesday.  These babies are going to need to be taken for a spin. 

How was your week of training?  Did you put your #Bestfoot forward this week?

Friday, February 14, 2014

All You Need Is Love

Wiser words were never spoken (or sung in this case).  Love IS all we need to live a happy and fulfilling life.  What I'd like to know is WHY do we (and when I say we, I mean us women) have such a hard time giving ourselves the love we deserve?  We have no problem when it comes to loving our kids, our spouse our friends and our families.  But when it comes to ourselves we become our own worst critics. 

I started thinking about this last night as I got into the shower after my run.  I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and immediately focused on my belly.  I have a small pot belly.  Sometimes it's nice and flat (like once a month), sometimes (more often than not) there's a bump that turns into a roll that sticks out over the top of my shorts or pants.  I immediately grabbed it and thought "ugh, so gross".  But then I stopped myself.  I had read Lauren Fleshman's blog about keeping it real earlier that day and I thought "You know what...who cares if I have a pot belly?"  It is what it is.  Lauren has a point.  We put too much focus on trying fit into societies definition of "perfect".   We lose sight of what our bodies are actually capable of doing as women (like giving birth-whoa!)  We are fighting a losing battle when we do this.  We will never be happy.   So I asked myself:  Does it affect what my body is able to do?  NoDo people that know me care that I have a bumpy belly?  NoDoes G love me any less because of this?  No. 

So why should I care? 

I shouldn't.  What I should do is show myself the same love that I show others.   Unconditional love.

I am perfectly imperfect and I have made the decision to LOVE that, pot belly and all.

 Happy Valentine's Day! 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #4

Helloooo Thursday!  This week has just flown by which is weird because it's not like I've been insanely busy.   I'm actually ok with these winter days flying by.  It just means that Spring will be here before I know it. 

Since it's Thursday and it's time for some Thinking Out Loud, I'm sharing a few things that have been on my mind for the last week.  And of course I'll be linking up with Amanda to spread the randomness around.

1.  I can't get enough of the Olympics...when I get to watch it.  I'm cursing Facebook and twitter for ruining the surprise of things though.  There's nothing more annoying than logging on to Facebook and seeing that stupid "trending" news feed filled with Olympic medal news.  Talk about spoiling the surprise.  I know I could choose to not log into Facebook, but let's be real people, that's not going to happen.

2. Not only am I irritated with winter but so is my skin.  My hands can't handle these freezing cold temps.  I have had more cracked, dry skin and broken nails this winter than I can ever remember having.  Thank goodness for this:

 3.  Not So Fun Fact:  I have run on the treadmill 7 times in the last 6 weeks.  That is more than once a week.  Last winter I think I ran on the treadmill a total of 3 times. So not cool.

4.  I'm embarrassed to say that this jar is almost finished and I only bought it a couple of weeks ago.  I clearly have a problem.

5. I heard a rumour that it was supposed to warm up so I checked Accuweather and this is what I found.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't do a happy dance when I saw this.  I know it can change but this is giving me hope that the crap is coming to an end!!!

6.  I'm SO looking forward to getting together with these two ladies this weekend.  We've been friends since grade ONE.  That's oh, only 36 years.  Geez I'm old.  It's been far too long since I've seen either of them so I can't wait!

Kim & Eileen my two best buds from grade one!  Taken at my wedding almost 10 years ago.  I'm pretty sure this was the last time that all 3 of us were together. 
 7.  I have my first race of the year in 17 days (The Chilly Half Marathon).  I'm hoping the above pictured forecast holds true.

8.  One random thing most readers don't know about me:  I'm a huge Ebay shopper.  It's ridiculous how much of my stuff comes from Ebay.  For New Year's I vowed that I wasn't going to buy anything from Ebay for the entire month of January.  It's now February 13th and I'm proud to say that I have not bought a single thing.  I think our upcoming European adventure is what's keeping my credit card firmly planted in my wallet.   Priorities, baby.

Your turn!  Tell me something random!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Embracing the Suck Part Two: How To Get Faster

I'm calling this Embracing the Suck Part Two because in part one, I talk about doing something that you hate.  Something that makes you uncomfortable.  For me that was running in the snow.  I hate it.  So you can imagine how much I'm loving this winter.  But anyway, that's where my mind was when I started this post.  I think the same thing can be said for speed work.  A lot of people hate it because it makes them uncomfortable.  It hurts.  Plain and simple.  It's not a necessary thing in every runners life, some people are content to just go out and run and that's awesome.  But there are those of us who are looking to improve our pace so speed work becomes a necessary evil.  I've also been asked by several folks how I managed to drop my times as much as I have in the past couple of years so I'm going to let you in my secrets.

If you had told me when I started running 15 years ago that I would be a whole lot faster at almost 43 than I was when I was in my 30's, well, I would have said you should go hang out with our crack smoking Mayor.  But here I am, pushing 43 and laying down times that I could have only dreamed of when I started running.  How is that even possible? you may wonder.  Aren't you supposed to slow down when you get older?  Oh I'm sure that's going to happen to me at some point, probably sooner than I would like.  For now I'll focus on the 4 key things I did to get me to where I am now but I will do so with a warning:


It is not easy.  It will hurt.  I'll let you in on a little secret:  It's all in your head.  Seriously.  Your brain will tell you to stop long before your body is ready to quit.   Once you learn to talk yourself back from that ledge and learn to work through that pain, you'll be able to gut out pretty much any work out.  This was my biggest obstacle for the longest time.  I was always afraid I was going to "blow up".  G always told me that sometimes that's going to happen but, you'll never know what you're truly capable of if you don't test your limits.  If you blow up, you blow up.  Chalk it up to a learning experience.   Learn to work outside your comfort zone and learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Key Point #1:  Train your brain to embrace the pain.

I'm not going lie, this is not an easy thing to do on your own.   It was all too easy for me to start out hard and then when the going got really tough, I'd ease off to my "safe place".  That's why I decided to join a run group.  I took the opportunity to run with faster runners and hang on for dear life for fear of being left behind.  There's something so primal about not wanting to be left behind, not wanting to be at the back of the pack.  Your survival instincts kick in and your sense of pain gets dulled.  Tunnel vision takes over.  At least that's what happens to me.  It's like all rational thought leaves and you go on autopilot.  That is actually something I strive for when I'm racing.  Rational thought will tell you to stop.  Instinct tells you to keep going.

Key Point #2:  Run with someone faster and learn to hang on. 

The other thing I did was race a LOT.  Maybe it's just my competitive nature but I have a very hard time entering a race and NOT racing it to a certain extent.  Unless of course I'm there to pace someone.  I find in a race situation you are less apt to throw in the virtual towel and call it quits.  I also find that you're able to dig a lot deeper and find that little bit extra that you might not be able to find in training.   The more you do it, the better you will get at learning how far you can push.  There is also a fine line with this too though.  You need to make sure you get adequate recovery (both physical and mental) between races or you will burn out. 

Key Point #3:  Get out and Race OFTEN

The really big thing that helped me get faster was losing weight.  I know many people struggle with this and there is a tipping point.  If you lose too much weight you'll lose power and strength which is no bueno.  And, you have to have the weight to lose in the first place.  I wasn't terribly overweight but I wasn't at my ideal racing weight either.  I figured I had between 5-10lbs to lose.  I ended up losing just over 20lbs and have since put back roughly 5-7lbs, and I'm going to guess that a fair bit of it is muscle.  At 5ft 5in and 125lbs, I think I'm pretty close to my ideal weight.  Amby Burfoot wrote an excellent article about weight loss and how it affects your running.  You can read the entire article here.  Basically, you can go 2 seconds per mile faster for every pound lost.  "Weight loss boosts maximal aerobic capacity.  The less weight you carry around, the more miles per gallon you get from your oxygen.  And because losing a few pounds makes running easier, you should be able to increase your workout distance and speed.  So losing weight helps you train harder." (Amby Burfoot, Runners World 2007) I can definitely attest to this.  Once I dropped the weight, my times started to drop and I was able to push myself that much harder in training.   How did I lose the weight?  Mainly by changing my diet.  I cut out the processed junk and focused on eating REAL food.  Not only did it help me lose the weight, it also helped me to recover better. 

Key Point #4:   Small changes in your diet can result in big changes in your waistline and your running.  

Well there you go folks.  4 things to consider if you're looking to P.R in your next race.

Is there anything else you'd add to this list?  What has worked for you?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Begin the Build: #Mingsanity Week 5

Every week, it seems that Ming is kicking it up a notch with my training.  I figured I'd ease back into things this week but clearly he had other plans for me.  Last Sunday kinda wiped me out so I ended up sleeping in on Monday and skipping my swim.  I think it was the hot yoga.   That and the fact that I was actually working until just after 10:00 pm.  So I started my week of workouts on Tuesday with a couple of doozies, a 10km run with 8km at tempo pace (4:15's) and then the real killer was my bike workout that night:  70 minutes with 40 of it at 160-180w.  I had to have a lie down after.

That was the highlight of my week.  And this was only a medium volume week.  I can't even imagine what my high volume week will be like.  As usual I'm linking up with  Krysten, Amanda & Erica to put my #Bestfoot forward and recap my week of workouts.

Monday:  Slept in!
Tuesday:  10km run in a.m. + weights , 70 minute bike in p.m.
Wednesday:  2150m swim
Thursday:  12km run with 6x1km intervals a.m. + weights, 75 minute bike in p.m.
Friday:  Off
Saturday:  22km run with 2x6km at 4:10 kms - couldn't do this.  It was so cold out my legs just didn't want to work.  They were also really tired.  I ran hard where I could.   Then hit the gym and did weights.
Sunday:  Skipped my swim as we were out late.  80 minute bike with 2x30 min sets: first one between 120-140w, second one at 150-170w.  Ming gave me the option to do this as a recovery ride depending on how my legs felt. I was fine with the first set but there was no way I could hit watts for the second set.  Everything was just sore and tired.   I had a massage yesterday afternoon and I left feeling much better (thank you David, you rock).

Totals for the week:

Swim: 2150m (ouch)
Bike:  79.11km
Run:  44.51km

Total hours including weights:  8h 25 minutes.  That's what happens when you skip two swims, ha ha.

One thing that did finally happen this week was was that I finally got my Vectors working.  Well the guys at my bike shop did.  They didn't install them properly the first time so G took my bike back on Saturday along with my Garmin and had them re-install and calibrate them.  The first thing I noticed was the massive discrepancy in power.  My Garmin reads roughly 15w higher than the computrainer. Not sure exactly what that means but Ming said that now all my workouts will be based around the power reading from my Vectors.   

There is also now more data in Garmin Connect than I know what to do with.  I guess all that matters is that Ming knows what to do with it at this point.

This week was supposed to be a high volume week but Ming has adjusted my schedule slightly and made this week a medium/high volume week probably because I found last week so tough.  My bike rides this week are longer in duration but easier in intensity which I think will help me recover a bit more and be ready for my actual high volume week next week. 

How are you doing with your training?  Tell me how you put your #Bestfoot forward this week!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #3

Oh hey Thursday.  Nice to see you!  You know what that means's time for some Thinking Out Loud.   I'm linking up with Amanda for some more fun random thoughts this week.

1.  I'm officially waving the white flag.  This winter has broken me.  I just want to crawl under the covers and hibernate until spring.  Cool?  Wake me up when the snow is gone.  Thanks.

2.  I finally saw the Game of Thrones Season 4 preview.  OMG, I cannot wait.  I'm such a nerd I marked the season premier date in my calendar.  While I'm at it, I might as well admit that I did the same thing with the Vikings season premier.  I clearly have a thing for long haired men in armour.

3.  Remember last week when I said I was so excited to be getting these babies installed?  Well, do you think I've actually been able to get them to work?  No.  That would just be too easy.  I have no patience for things that don't work the first time you try them so I'm going back to my bike shop on Saturday and getting them to re-install them and calibrate them.  TECHNOLOGY FAIL.

4.  I have yet another favourite food item (did I mention that I love food?) I discovered the BEST savoury pie place.   Well I didn't really discover it.  I read about it in the paper and then one of my bosses checked it out and said it was really good.  It's right by my house so I stopped by after work last week and picked up a pie for dinner + 4 other frozen ones.  I got the braised beef rib.  Now I'm not normally a savoury pie kinda gal. I usually prefer mine sweet.  But when my boss was cooking his, the smell of butter and spices that wafted down the studio hallway was a-ma-zing.  I thought about it for days.  So I decided I had to go and investigate.  I was not disappointed.   These guys use local (where possible) and organic ingredients in all their pies.  And they use a whole lot of butter as that crust was the. best. thing. I've had in AGES.  So good and so flaky and probably about 1000 calories.  But once in a while, that's a-ok with me.

5.  I just got accepted as an ambassador for The Mermaid Club.   What is the Mermaid Club you ask? To quote Helena, the founder, it is an online community of "Badass women" inspiring other women (and men) to live happy, healthy and active lifestyles:  to #livelifemakewaves  In Helena's words, "living life is the key to happiness and making waves is what we Mermaids do when we embrace life."  I couldn't agree with her more so I was thrilled when she chose me to be one of her ambassadors.  I've now been introduced to a bunch of other like-minded women across the globe that are also ambassadors.  SO cool.

6.  I just discovered this.  It's crack in a jar.  Sometimes I put it on toast.   Sometimes I put it on a banana but mostly I eat it out of the jar with a spoon.

7.  This stuff has been an amazing discovery for me.  I've been having knee issues (tendon inflammation mainly) so after one brutal treadmill workout a couple of weeks ago, I smeared this all over my knees and miraculously had NO knee pain for the rest of the day.  I love it so much I went out and bought a tub of it.  Oh the joys of getting older.

Your turn!  Tell me something random!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

5 Things I Love About Winter

Yes, you read that right.  I said Love and Winter in the same sentence!

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has bitched incessantly about how horrible the weather has been this winter - today being no exception.  I think that everyone in the northern hemisphere is feeling that same pain.  Since we're probably due for another 6 weeks of this crap, I figured I might as well try to look for the positives.  A list of negatives would be far too easy and I'm never one to back down from a challenge.  So let's get POSITIVE folks!!

5.  You don't need to go to the gym to lift weights, just go outside and shovel your driveway.  It's a full body workout.

4.  Missed leg day at the gym?  That's ok, just go for a run in the snow.  It will work all the muscles you never knew you had.  You may just decide that leg day is overrated. 

3.  Hot chocolate is a great recovery drink if you make it with chocolate milk.  Then it becomes Double hot chocolate.  Or hot double chocolate.  And really, who doesn't want MORE chocolate?

2.  Extra hot epsom salt baths with some foamy bubble bath thrown in for good measure.

1.  FACT:  Running in the cold and snow makes you burn more calories.  So you can have some extra bacon with your post long run pancakes and not feel guilty.  That's a win / win if you ask me.

Is there anything you'd add to this list?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Nice & Easy: #Mingsanity Week 4

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end,  which is unfortunate because I was really enjoying my recovery week.  As expected, I was very tired.  That's usually what happens when your body has some down time after a few hard weeks.  I made sure I got to bed early every night during the week.  I was in bed usually before 9:00 pm and asleep before 9:30.  I need at least 7 hours of sleep a night in order to be a somewhat normally functioning & nice human being so that's what I aim for.

The tireds really hit me by mid week.  My Wednesday morning swim was crap and I had zero desire to be there.  But I went.  I didn't stay that long but it was better that nothing.  After that, my workouts and energy level continued to improve.  By Saturday I was feeling pretty good other than my super tight legs.   That still didn't stop me from cranking out a 17km run with 10km at tempo pace (4:15/kms!).  Certainly not a workout I would have given myself on an easy week but that's why I have a coach, to push me just that little bit harder.   I'm happy to say I nailed it. 

This week I start to build again.  This next cycle is going to be a doozy.  I've got a medium volume week this week and then two high volume weeks.  Oh boy.  But let's look at this past week shall we?  I'm linking up with Kat & Krysten once again.

Monday: 2000m swim
Tuesday: 11km run with 3km at 4:05/km's, 50 minute bike + weights
Wednesday:  1750m swim
Thursday:  10km run with 2km at sub 4:00/min km's + weights + 45 minute easy spin
Friday: OFF
Saturday:  17km with 10km at tempo pace + weights (this was the highlight of my week as I got to run OUTSIDE).
Sunday:  60 minute ride, 3000m swim, 90 minutes of hot yoga.

Totals for the week:

Swim:  6750m
Bike:  86.55km
Run:  38.26km

Time:  11h 22 minutes.  Still almost like a part time job.   I was supposed to swim this morning but I ended up having to work late last night so I opted to skip the swim and get some rest.  It's still early days, one missed swim ain't going to kill me.

How was your week of workouts? Put your #Bestfoot forward!