Category Archives: Training

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A world of blank

I went for a run in the snow.

You wouldn’t know.

I went for a run in the buckets down pouring rain.

You wouldn’t know.

I did speed intervals in the pitch black darkness of the night.

You wouldn’t know.

I did hill repeats – charging past bright Christmas lights, over icy patches, huffing, puffing, icicles for sweat in my eyes, pushing the limits, not caving in to the devil on my shoulder, not giving up.

You wouldn’t know.

I ran. I ran with friends. I ran by myself. I ran in the day. I ran in the night.

You wouldn’t know.

Because, you see, I took pictures, a lot of pictures, I documented the pain, the determination, the joy, but, my friends, I am beyond irritated to report technology hates me. That devil on my shoulder got her revenge after all. The memory card, deleted. Don’t know how. Don’t know when. All I know is the past two weeks worth of photos, GONE.

No pictures.

No visual memories.

Just words…

Chasing the carrot

I’d forgotten what it was like to have a carrot.

Two years of training solo. Two years of doing speed intervals on my own. It was good for getting my mind in the right frame of competitive running, pushing myself to the limit and not prematurely kacking out. But, there is something to be said for the carrot.

Tonight was proof.

My study gals and I did our first set of speed intervals along a straight dirt track, pretty much out and back. All out over the course of 30s; 45s; 1:00; 1:15; 1:30; 1:45; 2:00; 2:00; 1:45; 1:30; 1:15; 1:00; 45s: 30s with a 1:15 ‘ish’ walk break between each.

There’s a few speedy girls in this group, like, super speedy. And I was perfectly fine, or so I kept telling myself, to let them go their pace. I knew what my pace should be and I was going to keep to my pace. Note the operative word “was.” As is usually my style, those competitive juices had me surging after those girls, trying to keep up. When I felt myself slowing, I heard the Kiwi voice of Coach NZ speaking to my feet: “quick fast turnover.” When I felt like I wanted to puke, I sucked in my diaphragm and squared my shoulders. When I heard my breathing get loud and asthma-esque, I tried to channel my inner yogi, but then remembered I have no inner yogi, so I got louder instead.

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Chasing the carrot.

In the end, my legs were not as speedy as some, but they weren’t that far behind. And looking at Dear Garmin, wow, I blew some of those times out of the water… for me that is 😉 My normal speed interval pace is 4:30 min/km, tonight, based on the program, I was to be aiming for 4:50 min/km with the 30s sprints up to 20 seconds faster and the 2 minute sprints up to 20 seconds slower. Look at these results:

45s: 3:49 min/km
1:00: 3:52 min/km
1:15: 4:03 min/km
1:30: 4:21 min/km
1:45: 4:43 min/km
2:00: 4:38 min/km
2:00: 4:51 min/km
1:45: 4:40 min/km
1:30: 4:41 min/km
1:15: 4:38 min/km
1:00: 4:17 min/km
45s: 4:10 min/km
30s: 3:55 min/km

(Note: the first 30s is missing because I, erm, kinda stopped my watch instead of lapped it. Oops.)

Carrot, indeed 🙂

TONIGHT’S SPEED INTERVALS:
5:45 p.m. BG before: 5.2
Temp. basal: -50% 1 hour
Carbs: 1/2 banana, no bolus
Time: 1:09:19
Distance: 8.3 km
Average interval pace: 4:12 min/km
7:30 p.m. BG after: 7.4
Temp. basal: +50% 1 hour
Carbs: 1/4c almonds

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Speedies!!!

Ps. I think it’s high time I brought out the ol’ proper camera so I can ACTUALLY get in-focus photos!

Chasing lows not miles

You know that old adage, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? That’s exactly what my last long run emulated.

I had plans to run the Seawall; it was the perfect distance. From Waterfront Station to Granville Island is 19 km start to finish. I woke up first thing, dressed in my short shorts and tank top, grabbed my fuel belt and hopped on the Skytrain.

The weather was perfect in New West. It was grey, not too cold, not too warm. But in Vancouver, it was a completely different book. It was black clouds, biblical rains, gusting winds, and cold, man, it was blow-you-over cold. I stood in the shelter of the Convention Centre, waiting, hoping, praying for the rains to subside.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

10 minutes; 20 minutes; 30; 40. What the? It was not stopping.

Normally, rain isn’t a huge issue for me , I mean, it’s a challenge getting out into it, but once you’re out there, it’s usually pretty decent and oftentimes quite fun – IF you’re dressed for it. Recall: short shorts, tank top. I did NOT want to be slogging through puddles for 19 km, shivering, miserable.

At 60 minutes, I cut my losses, grabbed a hot tea and boarded the train for home. Miserable.

The whole ride, I could see glimmers of blue sky trying to peak out from the grey towards New West, towards Richmond, even in Burnaby. But I didn’t want to run in those locales, I didn’t want to battle traffic, exhaust fumes, lights and other nuisances, I just wanted the beauty of Vancouver’s waterfront.

When I got home, it was crystal blue sky – both in New West, and, if the webcams were accurate, Vancouver too! No black sky, no rain, not even a droplet of evidence of the earlier storm – it was full sun, blue sky.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Most people probably would have continued to cut their losses, slogged through a run in an area they hadn’t intended running, or forgone the run entirely, but not me, nope. I wolfed down a PB and banana sandwich, kissed my Rings goodbye and hopped back on that skytrain 🙂

Look at that sun!

Look at that sun!

And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!

And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!

I’d love to say it was a wonderful run, that it was worth the effort of three Skytrain trips, but annoyingly, that was not the case. I had two huge impediments bringing me down.

First, I was completely overdressed. Despite the webcam showing blue sky, I hadn’t forgotten that cold breeze of the hour earlier, and thought surely it couldn’t have warmed up that significantly. I was wrong. Dressed in two running shirts and knickers, I was completely overheating. I ended up taking off one shirt and tying it around my fuel belt. Still, my legs were on fire the entire distance.

The shirt didn't stay on long... and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!

The shirt didn’t stay on long… and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!

Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed unless I switched my route to Wreck Beach instead.

Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed, unless, of course, I switched my route to Wreck Beach!

Secondly, my blood sugars. Like most long runs lately, I was chasing lows the entire time. Eating every 20 minutes trying to prevent bottoming out rather than elevating my energy scores, which, in the end, had me heavy footed, turtle-paced, lethargic. I know it was diabetes getting in my way, but there was still that inner demon berating, hating, judging me.

Stop. Before you consider chastising me for those thoughts, think about it, think about something you truly enjoy doing, maybe it’s running, and think about how you would feel if you consistently failed in your efforts, or consistently had something holding you back from being at your best. Think about it. How would you feel? I know I don’t do this for a living, but I do do it for gratification and endorphins. If I’m not getting either, what’s the point?

19 KM DETAILS:
1:30 p.m. BG before: 6.3
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Carbs: 2 dried apricots
Distance: 19.17 km
Average pace: 5:54 min/km
Time: 1:53:13
Fuel: @20 minutes, BG 5.7: 3 shot blocks
          @40 minutes, BG 4.3: 3 shot blocks, 2 dried apricots
(At this point, I turned basal insulin off, which I never do.)
          @60 minutes, BG 4.2: 2 shot blocks, 4 dried apricots
          @80 minutes, BG 4.6:
(I didn’t eat anything, starting to feel ill, saw they were coming up, took chances)
3:30 p.m. BG after: 5.7

Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.

Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.

Grouse Grind: Three years in the making

It was a climb three years and one week in the making.

Last week, my feet, my legs, my glutes, my head, my heart finally returned to the Grouse Grind! Oh what a feeling!

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Three years ago, I had set a personal best of 56:38 and then clobbered that time three weeks later with 55:30!!! It was a glorious, muddy, sweat-stinging eye, Grouse Grind climbing season. One that I had been working towards for years; ever since mine and Big Ring’s first date/non-date in 2005. One that I was so super proud of.

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Pooped on the Grind 2011.

I had no realization, that summer, it would take three more years for my return.

Two years ago, I was yoga-ball pregnant. I did go to the Grouse Grind that year as part of mine and Big Ring’s annual Canada Day climbing anniversary, but sent Big Ring off on his own while I rode the gondola up.

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Last year, it was our first summer with Little Ring and we hadn’t yet discovered the wonders of babysitters. No Grind for either of us.

But two weeks ago, at the start of our two-week, stay-at-home vacation, Big Ring popped the question: Want to do the Grind? Instantly a combination of excitement and fear filled my belly. What if I totally sucked? What if it took me more than an hour? What if I was one of those annoying criers at the first quarter? Or was subjected to a bout of diarrhea like that one time in my early climbing days? (I still feel bad for the wedding party that came into the washroom while I was in there!)

I’d gone for a run early that morning, which was a bit of an excuse, but I wanted fresh legs for my first climb back, and so I suggested we hold off a couple days.

And then there was Dear Physio and his evil acupuncture needles. It was unadvisable, he told me, to put my glutes through such strenuous activity one day after the procedure. He told me to play it by ear and see how I felt in a few days. A few days passed and my glutes were still giving me grief. By Monday, I’d had enough. I told Big Ring to get out his grind-climbing clothes – we were going to climb the Grouse Grind!

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Can you feel the excitement?

Let me tell you, it was a GOOD climb. I didn’t score another personal best, I wasn’t expecting that, but I did keep the bright orange of Big Ring’s jersey in my vision past the first two quarters – normally he’s gone long before the second quarter!!! And my gawd, I was so happy to be back in this element. Climbing the stairs, the rocks, using my feet, my hands, the instant sweat crystalizing over my skin, the huffing and the puffing, the strain, the wobbly legs, the push to move those legs faster, the strip of sun peaking through the trees telling me my time was nearing its end, the smile of Big Ring with his camera waiting at the top, and the post-Grind mud tan – the best kind of tan around.

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Just about done!

There were familiar bouts of uneasiness in my stomach, the same I get when I push myself hard on a run, but there were no thoughts of quitting, no thoughts of stopping, no thoughts of pausing. I learned, long ago, when it came to the Grouse Grind, it’s best to keep moving – always – no matter how slow or laboured that movement may be (hello points of crawling!) because the second you stop, whether it be to catch your breath, or take a sip of water, you’re already thinking about the next stop and the one after that. Your pace and your push suffer.

Now why the heck can’t I have that same frame of mind when running???

140721Grind4
Until next time…

This is me listening

When the running community tells you don’t run, you don’t run.

Our community is a pretty hardcore community. We run in all weather, super hot, humid temperatures, torrential downpours, snow, sleet, hail; we run in the wee hours of the morning and the late hours of the evening; we run when we’re miserable; we run when we’re sad; we run when we’re hurting, physical pain shooting through all regions of our body, and we’re still out there. And when we’re sick, eyes watering, stuffy nose, sore throat sick, we run.

But the chest, that’s another story.

I’ve known the rule for years: anything below the neck, stay home. But sometimes, I need a reminder. Like, you know, after battling a persistent cold for a month, and already missing out on a week of running due to said cold, and being miserable, stuck inside, feeling frumpy, worrying about the missed mileage, and knowing that a good run will make me feel better. At least, mentally.

But there’s this cough. This persistent hacking, core convulsing, green phlegmy cough.  Stupid cough.

I had every intention of running today. 90 minutes. 16 km give or take. The weather was supposed to be beautiful. I was excited. I could feel the endorphins last night getting ready to shoot happy goodness through my veins. I wasn’t even thinking about the cough until Big Ring started questioning whether it wise I do it, concern written all over his face every time he asked “Are you sure you should be running?”

Ugh.

To ease his concern, I went to my running community, which consists of high achieving runners, veteran runners, favourite runners, super smart runners, so sure they would side with me. They did not. Sixteen comments on Facebook, three on Twitter – all but one said no 😦

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Just a few of the coments

Like I said, when the running community says no, you listen. Strength training it was.

GIVEAWAY UPDATE: The drumroll please… The winners of the four-pack of 50 sheet Diabetic Dabs are…

Dab winners

Johanna B and Jennifer please email me your addresses and I will get the Dabs in the mail ASAP.

Singing Lamb Chops

“This is the cold that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend, some people started sneezing, and I caught their ugly germs, and they’ll continue infecting me because…”

THEY’RE NASTY EVIL JERK FACES!!!

I kid you not, I have had a cold for over a month. But not a continuous cold, no, not a typical cold, no, a sadistic freaking evil cold. This cold is toying with me, making me believe I’ve kicked it the curb, giving me a few days reprieve, only to full on attack again, and again, and again.

140318sick
Jerk face germs!

I was first infected at the end of February. I clearly remember, it was a Monday afternoon, I was driving home, when suddenly I felt that telltale sign of my throat swelling and a lump every time I swallowed. I hoped it was dry air, but by the evening, I knew it was a cold.

I didn’t overly complain. I was lucky. I mean, I hadn’t had a proper cold in almost a year (I came down with a case of sniffles that lasted all of three days in September, but nothing major) despite the fact that our lofthold has hosted the cold and flu germs on average every three to four weeks since Little Ring started daycare. So, I figured, I could handle this cold.

I suffered the cold through work. I suffered it through an exam. I suffered it through the weekend. And by Monday, I was feeling better, good to go. But then BAM, Friday comes – I’m on holidays – and suddenly I’ve got a cough, then I’ve got a sore throat, then I’m losing my voice – what the???

I started to complain.

I suffered through a race with that cold. I suffered through the Oscars with that cold. I suffered through my holidays with that cold. It wasn’t until the following Friday that I finally started feeling decent again, my voice had stopped cracking, I could once again give the characters in Little Ring’s books super awesome voices, I could get through more than one sentence without requiring a cough drop.

Thank goodness, I thought. After that, surely I was due a solid run of health. But nope, that bloody cold was NOT done with me. Last Thursday, I again started to feel the swelling of my lungs, the dryness of my mouth, the filling of green mucousy phlegm in my throat. I thought maybe it was allergies; surely it couldn’t be another cold, not even a week after getting over the last one, I mean, that would just be freaking evil.

Welcome to evil. Full fledged cold. Phlegm. Cough. Crackly voice. Runny nose. Cold.

Either my immune system has suddenly gone completely down the pooper, or this cold is freaking relentless. It’s bloody well starting to piss me off!

TODAY’S INTERVALS (with cold)

  • 4 p.m. BG before: 7.9
  • Carbs: none
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (1 hour)
  • Distance:
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Intervals: 10′ warmup with 4 x 30s sprints; 400m (4:32 min/km) 800m (4:39 min/km) 1000m (5:04 min/km) 800m (5:03 min/km) 400m (4:31 min/km)
  • 5 p.m. BG after: 7.2
  • Temp. basal: +30 per cent (0.5 hour)

My phone battery died which means no pictures from today’s intervals, but last week’s pic (which I did not post on the blog) depicts my continued thoughts on interval training:

140311intervals
I know they’re good for me, but seriously, they’re almost as evil as the cold!

Ps. I did not keep proper pace of between 4:00-4:15 min/km. Stupid cold 😦

What was I thinking???

I don’t like the same-old, same-old running routes. I don’t like out-and-back running routes. I don’t like running in temperatures below zero. But more than any of that, I do NOT like running the treadmill!

What was I thinking?

After work Tuesday I headed to my moms fully intending on going for a 7 km run through the country. The days are starting to get longer, and even though it was freak nasty cold out, there were bright sun rays peaking through the hazed-over clouds; it seemed a perfect recipe for a late afternoon run.

But, there were obstacles. I’ve been struggling with serious belly issues for about a week now, and when I got out of my car, ohmygawd!!! I swear to you I was nearly knocked  halfway into the farm fields like an old rag doll, the wind was so freaking fierce – and cold! Bloody hell it was cold. Not Onterrible cold, but super freaking numb-your-face cold! I did NOT want to be stuck in that for 40 minutes.

Oh hey now, I thought, moms has a treadmill. Surely I could whip out a much warmer run on that no problem.

What was I thinking?

First, it took me a freaking half hour to figure out how to turn the bloody thing on (moms wasn’t yet home) and then probably another half hour to figure out the functions on the screen and the conversion between my min/km running pace to the treadmill’s min/mile speed. When I was finally good to go (with a rerun of Gilmore Girls on in the distance (the impromptu Harvard visit)) I thought okay, I can do this.

HOLY FREAKING HELL! I nearly fell off the bloody thing right off the hop… it’s been a long while since I was last on a treadmill. Okay, I thought, we’ll work up to my 5:00-5:15 min/km pace. Five minutes that felt like an hour passed; 10 minutes that felt like five hours past; 15, 20 minutes and I was done. I turned that sucker off, cursing my weakness, thinking what the frick, I can’t just do 21 minutes and call it quits, but I wasn’t getting back on that machine, no siree.

So, with my body covered in sweat, before I could change my mind, I quickly pulled on the two more running shirts, the arm warmers, the fleece, and the ear warmers I had packed, and headed outdoors.

What was I thinking?

Are you freaking kidding me? Why the hell didn’t I just do the outdoor run to begin with? Ugh. I ran a total of 4 km outside (with a Garmin that did not want to pick the satellites up until the last half kilometre!) and 2.07 miles inside.

And I walked away with a fresh renewed hate-on for the treadmill!

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This is where I belong, cold and all!