Tag Archives: Revolutionz Coaching

MEC 10 km: Personal best!!!

Soooo, hey, I sort of, kind of, totally raced my butt off yesterday morning! Hehe 😀

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Beyond a couple tweets, I pretty much kept my participation in the Mountain Equipment Co-op 10 km race hush-hush. I didn’t want to put a huge amount of pressure on myself, I didn’t want extra stresses on my brain, or to feel like I’d be less if I didn’t meet my goals. This race wasn’t necessarily supposed to be about getting a great time, but more about getting my body, belly, blood sugars and brain used to racing again. My goals were simple: Run hard. Don’t give up.

I thought it was a good plan. Coach NZ thought it was a good plan. My competitiveness, however, did not. Saturday night I pulled out my race pace calculator, just out of curiosity, you know, to see what kind of pace I’d have to go to get 55 minutes, 54, 53, 52 – all of which seemed doable. That’s when I knew this would be more than just a hyped-up training run! That’s when I knew I’d be full-on racing!

The MEC race was a super small event with just 86 of us running the 10 km portion. And because it was only $15, there was no souvenir shirt, no medal, no swag, which I was totally okay with. But there was also no timing chip system. Instead, there was a big clock (that was started for the half marathoners) with volunteers jotting down the bib numbers of the runners as they crossed the finish next to the time on the clock. Everyone had the same start time regardless of where they were positioned in the cue. Not exactly the most accurate system, which is why I’m going with my Garmin time.

The route was an out-and-back, which I’m not generally a fan of, but along the dykes of the Steveston waterfront, it was freaking gorgeous! I had the water next to me, the mountains in front of me, and airplanes flying not so high above as they descended towards YVR.

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From MEC

I started out too strong, but had settled in by the second kilometre. By the fourth kilometre, I was struggling with a stitch in my side, and the group I had been running with pulled forward. “Don’t give up.” I focused on the rhythmic sounds of Beastie Boys in my ears, and started gaining speed again, reeling in a couple of the early speedsters. “Keep going. Push.” I ran past the 5 km turnaround. FREAK! “Don’t give up.” My feet were starting to burn up. “Keep going.” Just 2 km left to go. “You can do this. Come on, faster!” Oh no! I did the math wrong. There were still 3 km to go. FRIDGE! “Don’t give up.” I spotted the blue shirt of a girl I’d been eying for a few kilometres now, I wanted to pass her, I was so close, I was practically next to her, just a couple more steps. “Go! Go! Go!” We passed by a group of volunteers, they cheered, hooted and hollered. The blue shirt girl surged ahead, but my legs suddenly became elephant legs. “Don’t give up… keep going… you can do this… forget the watch… forget the time… just run… dammit, run!”

With about 600 metres to go, I spotted Big Ring and Little Ring, and suddenly my legs were like those of cheetah. I surged, I sprinted, I pumped my arms, I gave it my all! And when I crossed that finish line, my gawd, my legs could hardly hold me up they were shaking so bad! And those, my dear blog-reading friends, are legs that got me a PERSONAL BEST!!!

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The volunteers were awesome; super loud cheers and mega-watt smiles!

TODAY’S RACE:

  • BG before: 9.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: Vega pre-workout energizer (16g) with bolus and BG correction 20 minutes prior
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Average pace: 5:34 min/km
  • Time: 55:40!!!
  • BG after: 5.4

My previous PB 56:01 – 21 seconds faster today! Wahoo!

speed DEMONS!!!

Finally, thanks to Coach NZ, I’ve got a running definition I can relate to.

Cadence: Run like a kid.

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Seeing as how that’s half of my running mantra – “Run like a kid. Finish with a smile.” – you’d think I’d actually like running speed intervals. But no, that definition is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. Speed sucks – large!

Back when I started Coach NZ’s program, she warned me I’d have to get over my hate for speed. If I wanted to be faster, she said, I had to embrace runs that involved high cadence and speed repeats. I couldn’t just go through the motions, I had to put solid effort in.

Up until today, however, I think I was somewhat lackadaisical when it came to building up my speed capacity. Sure I ran those runs, sure I tried, but if I’m gonna be honest, I could have tried harder, I could have performed better. But there were always excuses. I hid behind the fear of past injuries, or not understanding the cadence terminology, or the fact I was just coming back, I wasn’t ready. But not anymore. No more excuses.

So what changed? What made me want to give my all today?

New inspiration.

My Canadian-turned-Brit girlfriend ran her first marathon this past weekend in Rome (I know, right!). Not only did she cross that finish line, she crossed it with a super respectable time of 3:44:07; top 10 per cent of women and top 22 per cent overall! Holy fast feet batchick! And this chick, she suffered major feet blisters for a good portion of her training, and sports bra chafing leading up to race day. She could have just phoned in the race, no one would have faulted her that, but she didn’t. She gave it her all.

And by golly, if she can do that, surely I can suck up a few (that feel like a bijillion!) speed repeats.

TONIGHT’S SPEED:

  • 5:45 p.m. BG before: 6.9
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 1/2 apple, 17 grams, no bolus
  • Distance: 5.66 km
  • Speed repeats: 8×200 metres
  • Best pace: 3:24 min/km
  • Time: 37 minutes
  • 6:45 p.m. BG after: 8.8
  • Post-run bolus: 1.25 units

But gawd, do I ever hate them speed DEMONS? Hate them!

Strength training…with love

Who needs chocolates? Who needs flowers? Who even needs Tiffany’s*? Not me, not when I’ve got the two very best loves of my life, every day of my life … yep, I’m all romantic like that 😉

However, that Coach NZ, she’s all hardcore. No days off for Valentine’s Day, oh no, today we were back at it with strength training, but she did note it was strength training with love day!

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TODAY’S STRENGTH:

  • 2 p.m. BG before: 6.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • 3 sets 12 lunges
  • 3 sets squats
  • 3 sets calf raises
  • 3 sets 10 pushups
  • 3 sets straight planks (45 seconds each)
  • 2 sets side planks (60 seconds each)
  • 2 sets 30 airplane/swimming thingamabob
  • 3 sets 30 clam shells (both sides)
  • 3 sets 16 leg raises
  • 2:30 p.m. BG after: 5.0

Yep, there was love alright!

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Laughing squats

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We do pushups together in this family.

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And when mama needs a little added encouragement with her pushups, the boy is right there.

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“Look Mama, I can do the side planks too!”

And a post-workout, Valentine’s reward by way of America’s Test Kitchen recipe for chewy brownies = yu-um!!!

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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

* Don’t get me wrong, Tiffany’s is always nice :D*

Planks, they do a body good

What Pilates, evil crunches, and straight diet couldn’t do for me, Coach NZ and Little Ring have! A series of events have recently occurred leading me to believe those two are serious miracle workers!

(1) CALL THE DOCTOR:

Princess: “I think I need to see the doctor?”
Big Ring: “Why?”
Princess: “I think something’s wrong with my belly; it doesn’t feel right.”
Big Ring: “What do you mean?”
Princess: “Feel it. It’s hard.”
With his hand on my stomach, he gave me a questionable look, not understanding my fear at all.
Princess: “It’s never been hard before, it’s always been soft. This is NOT normal!!!”

(2) THERE WILL BE BLOOD:

For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling to insert infusions in my stomach, which has almost always been my go-to site for the infusions and before that the daily injections. I’ve been fighting to find a comfortable spot, I’ve been jabbing veins, which smarts like bloody hell, and I’ve got so many droplets of blood squirting up it looks like I’ve got the ebola of the belly! But last week was the tipper – I went through four infusions – FOUR!!! – in just two days! (Normally, one lasts 3-4 days.) I’d insert them and it would seriously feel as though I had a knife twisting back and forth in my belly. And one of them practically erupted under the skin – shooting blood like a canon when I pulled it out. I nearly went through a roll of toilet paper trying to clot the bloody thing!

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Blood in the canula, never a good thing.

I couldn’t figure it out. What the hell was going on? Aside from when I was pregnant and my belly was stretched taut, I’ve never had a problem with my stomach for infusions – never. And then, four in one week – these suckers are NOT cheap!

(3) MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL:

I’d been staring at my belly – for like the thousandth time in the mirror in recent weeks – wondering what was going on, trying to figure it out. For the life of me I didn’t understand why it was not softening, why it was not becoming the pre-pregnancy Buddha wish pot it had always been. I analyzed the last bits of pregnancy, by way of stretched skin, still hanging at the lower part of the abdomen; the section from the belly button to the rib cage; the rib cage to the breast bone. (I think I’ve got my anatomy right :)) It was in the latter two that I saw something, something I had never seen before.

Princess: “Big Ring! Big Ring! Come quick!”
Big Ring: “What? What?”
Princess: “I need you to look at something… look at my stomach… what do you see?”
He paused. His eyes moved up and down the area in question. Then he smiled.
Big Ring: “I see a flat stomach! You’re getting a four pack!”

Uh what? I spent hundreds of dollars on Pilates, I’ve done hundreds of much-hated crunches, I used to run five times a week, I used to eat nothing but health, and always – ALWAYS! – I had a soft midsection. And yet, three months of strength training with Coach NZ (and her little sidekick Little Ring whose giggles keeping me going) have changed that. A twice-a-week, half-hour circuit of lunges, squats, planks, side planks, airplanes, pushups, leg raises, and clam shells have started me down the path towards having my first ever four pack!!!

Goodbye Buddha. Hello abs of steel 😀

The Grinch, er, Coach

In the spirit of Christmas, and because I do so love caroling (much to Big Ring’s chagrin), and because, following my first aqua jogging session in nearly a year, I was inspired, I’ve decided to treat you all with a carol of my own.

Here’s to you Coach NZ 😉

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You’re an evil one, Mrs. Coach.
You really are a boss,
While your accent is cuddly as a bear, charming as a debonair,
It doesn’t fool me, because I know
You’re just a sweat-loving Kiwi with a stinky brown peel!

You’re a monster, Mrs. Coach,
Your heart’s an empty gear,
Your brain is full of speed intervals,
You’ve got killer pushups and nasty tricep dips in your soul,
Mrs. Coach,
I wouldn’t touch you with a thirty nine and a half foot pole!

You’re a vile one, Mrs. Coach.
You have pace bunnies in your smile.
You have all the New Zealand tenderness of a seasick crocodile,
Mrs. Coach,
Given a choice between the two of you, I’d take the crocodile!

You’re a foul one, Mrs. Coach.
You’re a nasty, wasty drill sergeant
Your heart is full of unwashed cycling socks
Your soul is full of chlorinated gunk.
Mrs. Coach.

The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote:
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Oh wait, that was me, following that AJ session.

My gawd, the woman nearly killed me. I did mention this was my first time back in the pool since that fateful evening back in March when I announced to my dear coach I was preggers (in the deep end no less.. k, maybe I got a bit of evilness in me too ;)) and I was super nervous as hell. I mean what if I couldn’t do it, what if I needed a “gulp” floating device, what if I got through one set and passed out from sheer exhaustion? What if…

But Coach NZ, she wasn’t paying any mind to those nerves. Oh no. First thing she says to me when she walks into the change room: “I’m gonna make you work tonight,” all sweet sounding with that New Zealand accent of hers, but I could see the evilness glinting from her eyes!

And work we did. It was 45 minutes of speed repeats, two sets of 15 pushups at the end of the pool, a bijillion calf raises, and a set of 15 tricep dips on the pool stairs. There were lunges, and hops, and deep end repeats, and yes, a whole helluva lot of huffing and puffing, gasping for air, silently pleading for the pool to somehow decrease in size, all while trying my best not to take in the germ-infested waters. (Note: to the annoying girl who shouted out for all to hear she had lost her nail, I nearly lost my lunch all over you!)

And all the while Coach NZ, making it look as easy as 1-2-3, was running along side me making sure my form was perfect, making sure my legs were cycling, not flipping, making sure I didn’t give up.

Yes, she’s an evil one alright, but she’s the kind of evil I need. And you know what that means: Aqua jogging is back in the princess mix 🙂

The plan

“Remember it’s supposed to be challenging.”

Those were the words I got in an email my first day of strength training, and my gawd, was it ever – it was freaking grueling! I was huffing and puffing through the lunges, holding my breath for the planks (so sure that would make them go faster), and cursing anything and everything around me while fighting gravity through pushups.

For those of you who’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know I’m not about core or strength. Every time I’ve embarked on an abdominal regime, I’ve quit practically seconds in; I absolutely hate the gym, pretty much refuse to go; and sure I did pilates twice a week for more than a year, but I grumbled throughout the entire experience. But, as I mentioned in my last post, this time (with regards to my running) is different.

Meet Coach NZ (formerly known as favourite ironchickie):

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Photos sourced from Coach NZ’s website at www.revolutionzcoaching.com

Coach NZ, the mastermind behind Revolutionz Coaching, has over 10 years of triathlon racing experience from sprints to ironmans, and she was the one, no doubt in my mind, who brought me back from near running death. She was the one who convinced me, after I was diagnosed with stress fractures in both ankles – three months before my second marathon!!! – to put aside my fears of the pool (drowning and germs) and embrace aqua running. Instead of training on pavement, Coach NZ convinced me to train in the water. And I’ll tell you, when I was finally given the go ahead to get back out there, I was a 5,000 times better runner (read: faster) than I was pre-aqua running.

So yeah, I’m all about putting my faith in this chick, which is why she was the one I reached out to when trying to figure out how to start back running post pregnancy.

Coach NZ’s plan for me: No injuries!

It’s going to be a slow go, she said. No 10ks, half marathons, or marathons right off the hop here, oh no, it’s more like learning to run all over again. And you must incorporate strength and core into your program, she said. Ugh. When I heard those words, I scrunched up my face, I grumbled at the notion of running just 4 minutes on, 1 minute off times 3, and I complained to high heaven about having to do squats and planks three times a week.

And yet, because I trust this chick, I am running those extremely short distances (no need for a Garmin here) and I am taking on the walking lunges, side planks, single-leg calf raises… cursing all the way 😉

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Heck, even Little Ring’s getting in on the action, timing me through my planks 🙂

If this means a life of running with no injuries, I’m in.