Thoughts on the Long Run

I should do this later.
Hmm… legs feel good at 1 km.
Should I start taking some water now?
Is that a red light up ahead?
Yes!!! Thank goodness for traffic lights.
Wow, it’s hot.
That felt like a fast kilometer; oh, no it wasn’t.
What’s that sharp stingy feeling in my leg?
Is it time to walk yet?
Holy fuck it’s hot.
Wow. 10 more kilometers to go.
Wait, how was that only 4 km?
I should have stayed home.
This is stupid.
Why did I think I could ever finish a half marathon?
Oh look, half way!
Let’s try that gel now. I hope it’s not gross.
Ew.. that was gross.
I have to walk now.
I should stop to rest.
It’s like hell right now.
This sucks.
This is hell.
Who thought this was a good idea?
This isn’t healthy.
Only two more kilometers to go.
I can do this.
That runner ahead is fast.
Why can’t I run that fast?
I wish I could run faster, I’d be done by now.
I have to walk again.
I have to do 16 km next week.
I hope it’s not this hot.
Oh, thank god, I’m done.

Long Run – Week 3

I am a day late in reporting in, but Monday got away from me.

I found a funny mole on my husband’s back over the weekend so that meant I had to get him in to see the Dermatologist on Monday morning to have it removed.  Thankfully, the dermatologist didn’t think it was bad but took it off anyway.

But back to Sunday.  I finally got out for my long run in the mid-afternoon.  I headed east for the first time in forever and ran out 3.5 km and back.  7 km done! The wind was in my face on the way out and to my back on the way home and somehow I ended up with a few negative split kilometers by the end.

Overall pace was a bit faster than the last two weeks and I felt it in my legs a bit. I have to remember to try to keep these longer runs slower!

Long Run – Week 2

Yesterday’s long run almost didn’t happen.

After a wonderful evening with my best friend and her partner, after eating prime rib and Yorkshire pudding and 3.5 bottles of wine among us, I woke up Sunday morning with a slight hangover and a tummy that was not happy about all the food. I hate to get graphic but I had a very upset tummy that morning, well actually, more like in the middle of the night, reminiscent of the stomach flu but thankfully no vomiting.

Remember, hubby and I have been on a healthy eating kick.  We have small dinners of protein and veggies, no dessert and no booze.  My system clearly didn’t appreciate the high fat and alcohol all at the same time.  So Sunday morning came and I was like, “Long run? Not a chance.”

Instead we took the kids out and ended up at an aquarium store. A couple of hours later, we came home with a companion for our mama crayfish, a new aquarium for the two and a fire eel!!!!

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Mama crayfish is the red/orange one. Royal blue crayfish is her new companion.  The rainbow pebbles were chosen by our daughter. 

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We found the eel hiding under this rock a few hours after putting him in the tank. He is a bottom dweller and likes to hide.  I think his little snout sticking out is super cute.

So it was around 5:30pm when we were done setting up the homes of our new family members and I decided it was now or never to run. So I suited up and forced myself to go out. I’m so glad I did. Though it was super slow, it felt great to be back out there pounding the pavement.  I didn’t increase the distance too much, I had planned 6.7 km (10% increase from last week), but finished at 6.5 km due to general fatigue.  Still, it’s in the books and I feel good about it overall.

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Monday Accountability

In an effort to blog more often I decided to make Mondays my accountability day, specifically in regards to the weekly long run. So, every Monday from now on, I will post about the long run I did the Sunday before.

Now, I am by no means a great runner but over the past two years I have seen the benefit of incorporating a weekly long run into my schedule.  One of my major goals for 2017 is to run more consistently (ideally injury free!) and maybe, just maybe run a spring half-marathon.

So yesterday was the first Sunday that I felt well enough to start the long runs again.  It was only 6 km but it was enough.  I started out slow and kept it slow – for me that’s a pace between 7:40-8:00 min/km. I was able to stick to my 1 km run: 100 m walk for most of run and only stopped to jog on the spot for a couple of traffic lights.

It was very cold, -9˚C without the wind, and with the wind, well if felt more like -15˚C. I bundled up with a balaclava, a toque and a fleece neck warmer.  I had winter running pants on underneath windbreaker track pants, a long sleeved winter running top with a short sleeve as well.  My fleece lined running jacket rounded out the outfit and I was off.

Overall it was a pretty decent run. I kept warm for the most part and the sun shining certainly helped.  I completed 6.1 km in 47:37 for an average pace of 7:43 min/km.  Not too bad for the first long run of 2017.


And best of all, the legs today feel great!

Starting From Scratch, Again

It’s been a while.

Let’s just say 2015 hasn’t been the greatest year for running.

I missed most of the winter running due to family issues. My dad got sick and life got busy.  And I got lazy, let’s be perfectly honest. After the 1/2 marathon, one year ago today actually, I felt like I was in the best shape of my life. But that race really tired me out and physically my body needed a break even if my mind wouldn’t listen.  I got shin splints again and benched myself over Christmas. With my dad’s illness, it was hard to get motivated to run and when you don’t run regularly, the -17C temperatures certainly don’t invite you out.  So, I sat on my couch. I cross-stitched and ate what I wanted and gained back a few pounds.

Finally, I got some motivation and started running again in February or March, at this point it’s all a blur.  It was literally like starting from scratch.  Suddenly I was slow again and dealing with stupid aches and pains.  I had stopped the weight training as well and everything seemed harder.

Race-wise, I made the decision earlier in the year not to repeat any race I had done in 2015.  I planned all new races.  I did the Ride for Heart 5K, the Waterfront 10K, the  Womens’ 10K, the Beaches Jazz Run 5k and the Toronto 10-miler (16K).  None of these races were personal bests, or personal records for that matter.  I just went out and had fun. My training has sucked on and off all year.  Shin splints, groin aches, work-life, you name it there was a reason why I didn’t run regularly.

My weight has creeped up a bit this last month or so as I had to bench myself, yet again, due to wickedly painful posterior shin splints. It’s such a constant battle.  I took two weeks off before my last race, the Scotiabank 5k.  My shins felt okay and since I had started cross training on the stationary bike, I hadn’t lost any ground on my fitness.  Looking at the race photos, the weight gain is super obvious to me and it really bugs me. No one else would probably notice it but we are our own worst critics.

I decided today, on this 1 year anniversary of my first 1/2 marathon, that I will run that race again next year.  Come hell or high water.  I am going to do my utmost to keep up with cross-training and weights. Wish me luck!

 

A New Training Cycle

I’ve started training for a 16 km (10 mile) race.  It’s in mid-September and since the half-marathon last fall, I have really fallen off track with my cross training.  I don’t think I picked up a weight in 6 months and my running took the toll. Everything just felt harder to do and the muscles got soft.

After the three races I ran in June I felt like I was finally back on track, so I signed up for the 16km race.  I also started weight training again as part of my cross training.  We don’t have that many weights at home and I don’t have time to go to a gym (you know, full time job and 3 kids) so I have to work with what I’ve got.  Husband and I have talked for years about converting our garage to a gym and maybe one day we’ll do it.  In the meantime, I’m happy to use my free weights.  I know it isn’t a lot of weight but for what I need for it to do it’s working well.

This time around I am also going to make more of an effort to incorporate hill training and speed workouts.  Hill training  involves running up a hill  repeatedly (fun, right?).  My first session last week saw me do three hill repeats.  The hill is about 200 m long and I have no idea what the incline is but it felt steep.  I’ve heard the hills should be 400 m long but again, working with what’s in my neighborhood.  Every week I will try to add 1-2 more repeats.

As for the speed workouts, this is a warm up of 5 min followed by 7-8 sets of 1 min sprint and 2 min recovery periods, ending with a 5 min cool down.  Ideally I would like to see these runs clocking in around 7 min/km or less.  This time last year I was running pretty consistently under 7 min/km except on the long runs.  I know my body can do it, it just needs to remember how and that’s why I think the weights will help.

Last week I had a specialized physical exam as part of my training for a new part-time job at a medical facility.  This included an exercise stress test and body fat analysis.  It was very interesting being on the other side of the examination table.  They calculated my BMI at 23.1 with a 28% body fat composition.  I was pretty happy with those numbers, even though I know they don’t mean a hell of a lot.  Still, the message I got was that running is working for me. I’m back in a good space with running and I hope it keeps up.

Changes.

It’s been a while!

Hard to believe it’s almost the end of June. There’s been a lot going on in my world, most of it pretty good.

My dad is on the mend from his kidney stone issues and has remained pretty stable with respect to his memory and the Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Two rounds of infection, two general anesthetics, mild delerium and his memory testing was the same!  Unbelievable really. The thing with AD is that the patient kind of remains oblivious to the reality around him.  He recognizes that his memory has declined but he doesn’t understand anymore the impact it has on everyone else, his wife especially.  If there is any blessing with AD it is that the patient loses their higher executive, frontal lobe functioning early.  It is quite the opposite for the family.  My mom is a strong woman though and she is managing pretty well; she goes to her weekly support group, my brother works from their place once a week and she visits the kids when it gets too much.  I wish there was more I could do for her and for my dad.

As for me,  I’ve done two races this month with decent results, given how awful the winter was with my running.  I have another 10K race this weekend and I am not expecting to do any better than 1:15 but that’s okay.  It’s an opportunity to have some fun, run on the highway and get a cool T-shirt and medal!

I’m starting a new part-time job next month in addition to my family practice.  It is an opportunity I sought out and I am excited about. It is an opportunity to grow as a physician, learn about a different model of care and will be a great change of scenery for me.   I’ll be a lot busier, working 5 days a week (instead of 4) but I think I’m up for the challenge.  The future of primary care in my province is looking hazy right now and I am a little worried. We have been without a contract with our Government for over two years and they are planning on implementing change to how primary care is delivered without consulting the front line workers, ie me!  I felt it was time to start looking at other opportunities where my work is actually appreciated.

I’ve missed the blog.  I hope you missed me too.

 

Life and a new pet.

It’s been a while. Work has been exceptionally busy at times. There was a stretch for a few weeks where I wasn’t getting home until well after 6pm. The busy pace is good but when it slows down it seems to really slow down. Like, snail’s pace slow. So slow that I’ve gone out for mid-day runs during the week.

My running comeback has been slow. I still struggle at times with shin splints and am pretty convinced it’s shoe related but just haven’t found the time to get new shoes. I’ve been wearing an older pair which is much better than my current new-ish pair but it’s not ideal. Unfortunately the old shoe isn’t made anymore, I don’t think, so I will have to spend some time trying on new brands and well, there just isn’t enough time right now.

Remember that sourdough starter? Well it’s still going! I’ve made several loaves of bread and have figured out what works and what doesn’t but making just bread all the time is getting boring.  Husband found me a recipe for saltine crackers.

  
They were so good, they rocked!! 😉

Yesterday I tried the Joy of Cooking’s recipe for pretzels. A little bit time consuming and laborious but well worth the final product.


We also have a new pet.

A mouse.

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Have I mentioned we also have a snake? He’s a ball python. We’ve had him for about 10 years now. My husband rescued him from his nephew.  He eats live mice.  Daughter is coming to the age where she understands that the snake eats and what he eats is live mice. Well one day over a month ago, she was particularly smitten with one particular mouse. She begged her daddy not to feed him to the snake.

When I got home from work that night, it was late and the kids were already in bed.  I was surprised to see that there was a mouse still alive.  Husband told me that daughter wanted to keep it, so if she woke up the next morning and still asked about the mouse, he would let her keep it.  First thing the next morning, she woke up and asked him if he saved the mouse.  How could he refuse her? Late that day, the $2.99 mouse was living in a swanky one bedroom apartment worth $75.00.  Almost two months later, he is alive and well and thriving.  Daughter takes excellent care of him.  She cleans out his cage every 2 weeks when the stink gets bad, she is responsible for feeding him and making sure he has enough water.  She has turned into a wonderful mouse mother.

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This mother couldn’t be more proud.

The mouse’s name is Speck.  Even the cat is tolerating him.

Reminder

I’ve been in a running slump. I’ve mentioned it before. I’ve only been running about once a week. I don’t know if I’m lacking motivation or what, but I just haven’t been enjoying the little bit of running I’ve been doing. That’s probably because it’s so few and far between and my muscles and joints are saying, “Woah there, honey. What are you doing to us?”

So after saying all week that I was going to go for a run today, or tomorrow, I finally made it happen. It wasn’t pretty and it was slow but I did it. 

I wore a specific race T-shirt to remind my legs that they have gone the distance and they still can. 

I just hope the next time I run isn’t another week from now.   

  

In a Funk.

It’s the middle of January and I’ve run a whopping 18 km.  If I am to meet my goal of running 1000 km this year, I need to be running minimum 20 km per week! I’ve been struggling finding the time and motivation to run. The office has been exceptionally busy thanks to the two weeks off I took over the holidays.  And with the drama the holidays had for me, I didn’t feel particularly rested.  I hardly ran much at all in December (28.5 km) and that inactivity seems to have seeped into this first month of the year.

I acknowledged yesterday that I’m in a running slump. Almost daily I get emails about upcoming races in my area.  I haven’t signed up for anything yet but I think I need to in order to get out of this funk I’m in.  I am also annoyed with my body.  I just can’t seem to go any long stretch of time without an injury, not to mention I feel that after two years of running, I should be able to run more then 3-4 km at a steady pace without walking.  Perhaps that’s too much to ask for?

I also seemed to have lost something when I left Instagram and subsequently deleted my profile.  I lost that connection to other runners (to strangers, really) that I followed on Instagram.  And just saying that makes me angry.  I am angry with how I came to rely on those stupid notifications on my phone that someone liked my latest run photo. 

I wish I could abandon all of it and just go back to that insular quiet little life where no one knows what I’m doing unless they ask or I tell them. This constant need/desire to broadcast one’s life over the Internet and get instant gratification for it is narcissistic and I’m ashamed for allowing myself to get caught up in it. 

So yeah, I’m in a bit of a funk.