Monday, February 29, 2016

Farewell February & Belated Blogiversary Contest

I don't know about you but there is something about the month of February that I really don't like.  I think the winter blahs officially kick in come February.  You've passed the hustle and bustle of the Holidays and in January you're generally pretty excited because you have all these awesome New Years goals.  Then February comes around and the excitement of your goals has worn off, and the weather is cold and grey. Yup the February Funk is a real thing.   G and I normally go away somewhere hot in February for that specific reason.  But this year we opted to do a training camp that my coach was heading up and that wasn't happening until late March so we have suffered through it this month  Although, in all fairness, G just came back from DUBAI for work and I stayed here. I suppose I could have gone with him but he would be working all day and then socializing with work people AFTER his work day ended so I'd be left to my own devices.  Not so much fun (not to mention the 13 hour flight - kill me now).  Needless to say, I'm happy that we're at the end of February.  Less than one month until we leave for Clermont!  I can't wait to see the sun and bask in the heat!!  WOOHOO!

Anyway, I just realized yesterday that I somehow managed to miss my 5 year Blogiversary on February 20th!  WTH??  I should probably have it marked in my calendar so I don't forget next year, ha ha.  Yes, I've been rambling on about running and triathlon for the last 5 years.  Not hard to do when it's something you're passionate about!

So in honor of hitting the 5 year mark, I thought I'd do a little giveaway.   The awesome folks at Momentum Jewelry have given me a 40% off discount code and YOU have the chance to win it!  They have so many awesome designs to choose from AND they currently have two special motivate wraps that are available for $10 each as part of their #ShareTheSpark campaign.

Entry is as simple 1, 2, 3 - just go to the Rafflecopter widget below and start clicking!

Contest is open to residents of Canada and the U.S.  Contest starts tomorrow and closes next Monday March 8th at midnight!  Winner will be chosen by a random draw and announced on Wednesday March 9th!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, February 28, 2016

#OperationTop5 week 8: Another Week, Another Detour

One step forward, three steps back seems to be the theme of my life these last few weeks.  I am beginning to think the Universe is trying to tell me something.  It's definitely testing my patience.  I finish my run rehab, I get sick so I miss almost a week of training.  Just as I start to ramp things up, I ended up aggravating my piriformis muscle in my right glut on Wednesday night at the gym. It was plain stupidity on my part and I should know better.  I didn't do a proper warm up before I started my weight workout.  I swear my brain still thinks I'm 25 when in reality I'm pushing 45.  I did some upper body and then went to do legs.  I was doing a single leg squat to deadlift and it was during the squat where I felt it seize up.  All I could think was CRAAAPPPPP.  It hurt to walk.  I finished up my workout with only upper body work and went home, iced, gently stretched and took some anti inflammatories before I went to bed.  I felt somewhat better in the morning but it was still sore when I walked up stairs.  I skipped my run on Thursday morning and went for a massage on Thursday night.  My SI joint on my right side was also fairly stuck so she released that.  Friday I went to my ART / chiro guy and he did some ART on my hip and glut.  I iced some more.  He told me to take Saturday off.  I was supposed to do my FTP test.  My coach said no way, take the rest.  Saturday I was quite sore and really frustrated.  There were some tears.  I always tend to go down the worst case scenario road so of course I was envisioning my entire season going down the toilet.

I felt a bit better when I got up this morning.  My coach said I could swim so I hit the pool with my Masters club and did my longest swim since my last Ironman in 2008.  I swam 3600m (200m short of an Ironman distance swim!)  I actually felt really good.  My lower back was a bit sore afterwards but I felt looser.  It didn't hurt to walk up the stairs any more.  I spent a few hours doing some meal prep (made some banana bread, because, snacking priorities of course!), and managed to sneak in an episode of Breaking Bad while G was downstairs on the bike, hehe.

I'm going to have a hot bath tonight and take a Robaxacet before I go to bed.  I'm hoping that tomorrow, I'm close to 100%.  Monday is my official rest day so even if I feel good, I'll still take the day off.   I go back to see my Chiro on Tuesday morning and we'll re-asses everything.  I am keeping my fingers crossed I'm on the up and up.  I'm scheduled to race in less than 4 weeks so I'd really like to be able to do that!

Despite my little detour this week, I still got a few workouts in so I'm linking up with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap.

Monday:  OFF

Tuesday:  45 minute ride

Wednesday:  3000m swim in a.m. 50 minute weight workout in p.m.

Thursday:  OFF

Friday:  2000m swim

Saturday:  OFF

Sunday:  3600m swim.  I SO wish I was able to run today because it was 14 degrees celsius and sunny.  It's the end of February.  That is NOT normal.

Total time:  4h 30 minutes

I have to say I was very happy to see the end of this past week.  It sucked.  Work was irritating, the weather was crappy (until today) and I was just generally cranky.  Such is life.  I'm happy to see the end of February, it's definitely my least favourite month.  On the positive side, I'm heading into my birthday week this week so there will be CAKE.  And dinner with friends.  YAY!

And.......I have a little contest happening on the blog tomorrow to celebrate a few things so make sure you swing by tomorrow to check it out!

That's a wrap!

How was your week?  Have you done something silly that resulted in an injury?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tuesdays on the Run: Favourite Medals

Oh hey Tuesday!

Today I'm linking up with Marcia, Patty and Erica for Tuesdays on the Run.  Today's topic is Favourite Medals.  I've raced so much I have a ton of medals.  It's a little crazy really.   And I can confidently say that many of them have a lot of great significance to me.  But for the sake of keeping things short and sweet, I'm going to list my top 5 in chronological order.

1) Boston 2003.  This was my first Boston Marathon and my third marathon.  It was probably one of the worst races of my life.  It was super hot, I was over trained and I went out way too fast at the start.  But I didn't know any better.  I finished but not without a lot of tears and a lot of walking.  If there's one thing I took away from this race it's that I'm mentally a lot stronger than I give myself credit for.  

2)  Ironman Lake Placid: 2006.  This was my first Ironman.  It was such an amazing day.  I raced with G and a couple of friends.  Both my family and G's family came to cheer us on as well as a bunch of our friends.  I couldn't have asked for a more memorable day.  

3) Boston 2013.   This race will go down in history as one of the most tragic events in sporting history.  I will never forget it not only for that but because it was an absolutely perfect day for me race wise.  I set my current marathon P.R and had the best race of my life.  It was perfectly executed from start to finish.  I went from celebrating to mourning in the span of a couple of hours.   And what a difference 10 years makes in terms of the bling issued! 

4) Scotiabank Half Marathon 2013:  This was my second big A race of 2013.  My goal was to break 1:30.  My training went so well, I knew I could do it, the question would be by how much.  I went on to run a 1:27:11 which netted me 3rd place Masters female and 21st female overall.  This was a HUGE deal because it was the biggest race I had made the podium on.   Again, it was another race that was almost perfectly executed.  And I think I was smiling the entire time, haha.

5)  IM Luxembourg 70.3:  This was to be mine and G's 10th wedding anniversary race.  Because that's what we like to do.  5 weeks out from the race, he had a bike crash and separated his shoulder so he couldn't race.  I toyed with the idea of not racing, right up to just before race day.  But, I had trained hard and it was going to be my first half Ironman in almost 10 years so I wanted to see what I was capable of.  I knew G would be out on the course cheering me on.  I went on to have an absolutely amazing race.  I loved every second of it.  Racing in Europe is such an incredible experience.  I squeaked into the top 10 in a really competitive European field, which completely surprised me.  It was the perfect way to start our European vacation.  The only thing better would have been to have G out on the course as well but I know we'll venture over to Europe to race again at some point.  

Do you have a favourite race medal?  What is it and why is it your favourite?
Head on over to the link up to check out some more awesome bling! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

#OperationTop5 Week 7: Can't Catch a Break

Well, I had an awesome week of training lined up this past week.  I finished my rehab program on Monday and was all set to start building my run mileage up when BOOM! A not so pleasant sinus cold smacked me up the side of the head.   Normally it doesn't take me that long to get over a cold but this one hung around for the better part of a week.  I didn't do a single thing until Friday morning when I went back to the pool.   Even then I didn't push it.  I still felt a bit wiped out during the day on Friday but I had a solid nights sleep that night and Saturday morning I woke up feeling almost 100% better.

So suffice to say this week was pretty uneventful since I spent most of it sick.  I managed to get another blog post up this week (wahoo!) and I also got totally hooked on Breaking Bad.   It only took me until the end of Season Two, haha.   Now I absolutely need to know how it all pans out!

We've had spectacular weather this past weekend.  It was 11 degrees celsius yesterday and 8 when I went out for my run today.  It was a nice little taste of spring but that's going to change this week.  It's back to winter.  Boo.  Only one more month until we're off to Florida!

Anyway, I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap!

Monday:  7.3km run - the end of my rehab running!

Tuesday:  Sick

Wednesday:  Sick

Thursday:   Felt better but not better enough to work out.

Friday:  Went back to the pool!   2100m done!

Saturday:  Finally back to 100%.  Went to the gym and did 60 minutes of strength work with my trainer, then I got on the bike and did a 2 hour ride.

Sunday:  3100m swim followed by my first "long" run.  8.6km in the books!

This is the face of a very happy lady!
My coach has my entire next month mapped out and next week I've got another FTP test on the bike.  Oh boy.  That's essentially 20 minutes of going as hard as possible on the bike.  Not really enjoyable but coach wants to test my power again to see if I've made any improvements over the last 8 weeks so we shall see!

Anyway, that's my not so exciting week!

How was your week?  Have you watched Breaking Bad?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Eating for Recovery

I remember when I started running, I just wanted to go, go go all the time.  I knew nothing about recovery or how to take it easy.  When I started doing triathlons, I quickly learned the hard way that you can't go, go, go all the time.  You need that time to recover.  So I would take one day a week off completely.  That formula worked for me for years.  As I started to push myself more (i.e discovered tempo workouts and training with power) I found that I'd have to watch how my workouts were scheduled.  I'd generally have two "fully loaded" days a week (weights, run & bike) followed by a swim day.  The swim days could also be pretty hard and there were times where I completely caved.  Now I judge my effort by how I'm feeling when I get in the water.  It doesn't always make my swim coach happy but the swim is the shortest event so whether I swim 1:45's or 1:47's doesn't matter to me.  Yes, that difference could cost me a position overall but honestly, I'd rather focus my efforts on being the best I can be on the bike and the run.

The things I incorporate into my recovery routine have changed as I've gotten older.  I've added a few new things because I need to maximize my recovery.  It would be easy to say "well dial things back"  but that's not really me.  It's easier for me to incorporate more recovery strategies into my life vs. dialing things back in training.  Yes, I'm a hard head.  I fully admit it. 

I've spoken about recovery tools before but lately I've been focusing on using my nutrition to aid in my recovery.  Training produces an inflammatory response in the body.  Time heals the inflammation but there are things you can eat that help speed along the healing process.


Protein repairs exercise induced muscle damage and helps to reduce the response from the stress hormone cortisol.  In order for it to be really effective, experts say it should be consumed within 30 minutes post workout and in combination with carbohydrates, usually within a 3:1 to 4:1 ratio. And you don't need more than 20 grams of protein.   After really hard workouts I tend to use a recovery beverage as that is the most convenient thing for me to get into my system quickly.  Most of the ones I like have a mix of carbs and protein.  I like the GU Brew Recovery and Genuine Health's Active Recover.


Re-hydrating after a workout and then continuing to STAY hydrated is just as important and getting in a protein / carbohydrate mix post workout.  I have failed at this more times than I care to admit.  I am a big sweater on the bike and I don't know that I actually take in enough fluid to replenish what I sweat out, especially on my long indoor rides.  I'm definitely trying to work on this.

Anti Inflammatory Foods:

Cherries:   There's been a lot of talk about how tart cherries are great for recovery.  Cherries in general are great, the darker the better.  Antioxidants called anthocyanins give cherries their dark colour and are also responsible for aiding in muscle recovery after strenuous exercise because they help reduce swelling in exhausted muscles.  Another added benefit?  These little morsels contain the hormone melatonin, which the body produces naturally to control sleep and wake cycles.   Additional melatonin is thought to improve sleep quality.  I can attest to that as I've eaten my favourite chocolate cherry "ice cream" just before bed and I when I do, I sleep like a baby.  And we all know how important sleep is for recovery as well! 

Turmeric:  A well known spice used in curries, the active inflammatory fighting component in turmeric is curcumin.   You can take it as a supplement or you can cook with it.  It's not very well absorbed so it has been suggested to take it with black pepper.  I usually take 450-900mg / day depending on what sort of workout I'm doing.  You can also add turmeric powder to your smoothie.  It is an acquired taste and I find using ginger with it gives it some zing.  It will also make your smoothie bright yellow.   This is a smoothie recipe that I make on occasion.  It's also good if you're feeling a bit run down.

1 cup pineapple
1 to 1.5 cups of liquid depending on how thick you want it - I use cashew milk but coconut water would be nice!
the juice of a lime
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 inch of grated ginger
a dash of black pepper
sweetener of choice if desired

Toss everything in the blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

Those are just a few of the things I've added to my recovery routine.   I also take fish oil on a daily basis and up the dosage after a very hard workout. 

What's your favourite recovery food?  Do you use a recovery beverage?  If so, what is it?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

OperationTop5: Week 6 - If It's Not One Thing It's Another

Happy Valentines Day!

I had a lovely laid back day with the hubs.  We swam, met a friend for brunch and then did a bit of shopping.  I treated myself to some of my favourite bath products from Lush.  And of course G got me flowers.   Nice and low key, just the way I like it.

Once again, another week went by and I had every intention of finishing at least ONE of my drafted posts but alas, I did not.  It just didn't happen.  Work was busy, I had a couple of late days and then had to fit workouts in after work.  I don't have a lot of time in the evenings as it stands and when I have to get a workout in, I can forget about doing anything else in the evening.   Such is life.   It's Family Day tomorrow so I have the day off.  We don't have any plans so I am planning on doing some meal prep and I'm going to finish at least 2 blog posts.  That's the goal!

I had an easier week scheduled this week that became even easier because I got an ear infection.  Yup.  An ear infection.  I have sinus problems and this time of year, my ears get very itchy and dry.  So much so that I actually scratch them in the middle of the night when I'm asleep.  Which always wakes me up.  Apparently I ended up scratching my ear canal which ended up getting infected.  It was brutally painful.  I got antibiotics and ear drops but couldn't find my ear plugs so I ended up missing my Wednesday morning swim.  Since hubby was up I opted to switch my Thursday morning gym workout to Wednesday.  It was a good call, as the gym was totally empty.  I had the squat rack all to myself.  Winning!

Once again I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for their Weekly Wrap.

Monday:  DAY OFF

Tuesday:  4.3km run

Wednesday:  50 minute strength workout

Thursday:  8km run - PAIN FREE!  p.m. - 75 minute bike ride.  Got back on this awesome machine after getting re-fit last weekend.  Oh how I've missed him!

Friday: a.m.:  2400m swim, p.m. 5.85km run.

Saturday:  60 minute strength session, followed by 90 minutes of hard work on trainer.

Sunday:  3300m swim in the a.m. and then a 6.68km run in the p.m.  It was a cold one but absolutely beautiful out.

Total time:  8h and 58 minutes.

I have one more run and then I'm finished my physio rehab run program.  It's been two months of building things back up.  I'm looking forward to being able to run more than 8km!

How was your week?  What did you do for Valentines Day?

Monday, February 8, 2016

OperationTop5 Week 5: Excuse Me Ma'am Your Age is Showing

What. A. Week.  I had so many good intentions of finishing blog posts that I had started but alas, my mind was all over the place this week and I simply couldn't concentrate.  I'd like to say that I was focused on my training but I can't even say that.  Have you ever had one of those weeks where you feel like you're all over the place?  That was this past week for me.  I was alright at the beginning of the week but as the week went on, I got more and more scattered.  So strange.

I had been gearing up for a massive weekend of training but on Wednesday on my run in the pouring rain, I tried to jump a puddle, got a soaker while I was at it and ended up tweaking my adductor muscle a bit.  I didn't notice while I was running but afterwards it felt a bit tight.  Thursday I got up and did all my workouts (weights, run & bike in the evening) and I was fine.  Friday morning I got up to go to the pool.  It was stroke day so we were doing IM.  As soon as I did breastroke, I felt pain in my inner thigh.  Oh oh.  I swam 25m of breast stroke, switched to free and then stupidly tried it again for another 25m.  Nope.  Not happening.  So I swam free and back.  But I was so distraught and worried that I had really done something, that I left practice early, went home, grabbed my shorts and called my chiro guy to see if I could get in to seem him.  I got an appointment at lunch and he poked around a bit.  He said nothing was torn but there was a bit of fluid and a small bump.  He worked around the muscle a bit to release the tension and then gave me some mild acupuncture.  I was told to not run on Saturday but cycling and weights were ok as long as it didn't hurt and I had to ice after.  I had a 90 minute ride and an hour long session with my trainer so when I told my coach what happened, she said no ride, just do weights and rest up for Sunday.  SWEEEEEEET.

Lesson learned - Despite what your brain thinks, you're not a spry 20 year old, just run through the damn puddles.

I took my tri bike to get fit on Saturday and was fully expecting to be there for 2-3 hours.  I was pleasantly surprised when we were done in an hour and 15 minutes.  I am so much more comfortable on it now than I was.  I'm actually looking forward to getting back on that bike.  I'll be bringing it into rotation this week since I'm going to be racing on it at the end of March.   Having more free time on Saturday afternoon meant that I could actually get some food planning / prep in.

Sunday was my big training day.  Ignition Fitness was having their annual training day at Watts Up and since it was so close to my house I figured I'd go.  I had a swim in the morning and then Lauren had wanted me to re-do my Thursday run, which I did after swimming.  That was pretty much perfect.  Then I hopped on my bike and rode pretty darn hard for 2 hours.  Towards the end of the ride I could feel some soreness in my upper hamstring.  Once I got off the bike, it was really tight and sore.  So I got home and iced it and then stretched.  I saw my RMT last night and had a well deserved massage (I missed the Superbowl Halftime show - booo! but it was worth it).  Nothing too deep or painful for a change, just a good flush out of everything.  I feel so much better today.   I'm slowly learning that I can't push things like I used to. 

I'm linking up with Tricia and Holly for this weeks edition of the Weekly Wrap.  I'm a day late but better late than never!

Monday:  3km run

Tuesday:  OFF

Wednesday:  2900m swim + 5.36km run in the pouring rain

Thursday:  45 minute strength session, 7.67km run in a.m. and 1h 15 minute ride in p.m.

Friday:  1400m swim  - got out early because of my adductor

Saturday:  60 minute strength session with my trainer - holy core work.  I'm STILL sore.

Sunday:  2850m swim + 7.5km run in a.m, 2h ride in p.m.  followed by eating ALL. THE. FOOD.

I wish I could have run more this past week, the weather was absolutely amazing.  We broke a temperature record on Wednesday.  It got up to 15 degrees celsius in Toronto.  FIFTEEN!  Those are spring temperatures!  Sadly that is going to change this week.  By the weekend we're supposed to be in a deep freeze.  Guess I better start digging out my longer running socks and heavier tights.   Honestly I can't complain that it's just starting to get cold and it's MID February.  I always find February to be the worst month in terms of weather but this one has been alright so far! 

How was your week?  Did you watch the Superbowl last night?  I watched 5 minutes of it and that was about it.