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!

 

‘SUP!

Almost 4 years ago to the day, me and 3 other women took a Stand-Up Paddleboard (herein, SUP) lesson.  I had no idea what this meant.  Two of the women had done it before I think and when I was invited I thought, “Sure, why not.”

I had the best time.  For someone who doesn’t swim much and really isn’t a very strong swimmer, it was a bit scary being out on the lake but with my life jacket and tethered to the board, I felt pretty safe.  I fell off a lot that day.  But I also stayed on longer than I ever thought and I totally loved it.

Then three years went by and although I had fleeting thoughts of renting a board or even buying one, it just never happened.  Last summer, while on vacation with my family, one of my girlfriends came up for a few days to the cottage we were renting and brought her SUP board.  I got on, fell off a few times, then found my footing and loved it all over again.

Most of the last year I kept telling my husband on and off that I wanted to get a board, or at least rent a board for our cottage vacation this summer.

Why rent when you can buy?

And that’s what I did. I don’t feel too guilty about it as my birthday is in a few weeks. 😉

Husband went to the local SUP store with our daughter yesterday afternoon and scoped the scene, talked with the shop owner and then after work we went back.

I am the proud owner of an inflatable SUP board.

This is what it looks like inflated.

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I am so excited!!! Hoping to take it out later after work today.

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.

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.   

  

1000 km in 2016

At the beginning of 2015, a fellow blogger asked me to join her in a running challenge. We were going to run 1000 km in 2015. 

Well today I got a message from Nike+ informing me that I didn’t quite reach my goal. I improved upon the 600+ km I ran in 2014.

 

I haven’t run in two weeks. I won’t belabour the reasons why, if you’ve been reading my blog you know why. I plan to get back out there this weekend.  My body and mind need it. 

I will try to get closer to the 1000 km goal in 2016. 

What are your goals for this new year?

  

Long Sunday

Day 29 – National Blog Posting Month

I miss my laptop. 😔 How utterly ridiculous is that? 

After I finished the cleanup yesterday following the birthday party, I went to bed. It was 9:30pm and I’m fairly certain I was asleep before 10pm.  Baby woke up at 4am for a drink and then slept again until 7am. Overall I feel like I got a pretty decent nights sleep but who wants to go to bed at 9:30pm every night? I’d never watch another movie or get to cross stitch again! 

Hmm … 

I clearly needed the rest. I woke up feeling pretty good and decided it was time for a long run. I haven run more than 5-6km in over a month. 

Since the half-marathon I’ve really slowed down. I suppose that is to be expected after putting ones body through that kind of stress. I also stopped doing weights and other core work at home and it has all taken its toll. Now with the holidays approaching and the gingerbread lattes and candy cane hot chocolates and the gingerbread decorating parties, I am going to have to compensate for the debauchery with running and getting back on track with my own weight training. 

I hope today is the start. 

I have switched up my run/walk intervals and have been trying 10/1s with some success. My pace has slowed but that’s probably more due to the increase in time running than anything else. I hope I can work on that over the winter. 

  
   
Overall it was a decent run. I kept to the 10/1 intervals for the first 5 km then afterwards I needed more frequent walk breaks.  I finished strong though, so that shows u had some gas in the tank left. 

Now to resist having a piece of birthday cake. 😏

Required Rest

Day 22 – National Blog Posting Month

Well it’s been almost another week since I’ve run. I guess my body really did need the rest. Haven’t really been needing to run despite feeling kind of gross with my clothes feeling tighter this week. Meh. Whatever. Honestly, I really shouldn’t complain and I know that. 

Anyway, my girlfriend texted me yesterday to see if I was running today and we made the plans for an easy 5 km run. It was a gorgeous morning and a bit cool so I was happy to wear my new bright running jacket. Little did I know that I would be clashing with the new shoes too.  

We set out doing 10:1 intervals and our pace was pretty good. As we started out second set my friends knee starting bugging her so we slowed to a jog then walked. Our plan for 5 km fell short as we were only able to do 3.55 km and the last kilometer we had to walk. Honestly I was fine with that. It was nice to catch up and talk without feeling like I was going to throw up as I normally run alone so don’t usually need to talk to someone. 

It’s pretty clear to me that my. Indy has been telling me to slow it down since the half marathon so I’m going to listen and take it easy.  I could use more time to work on my cross stitching anyway. 

MInd/Matter

Day 15 – National Blog Posting Month

I haven’t run in a week. After the half-marathon I didn’t take a break, I just kept going. I ran 10 km a week later and my body started tell me to slow down. Of course, I didn’t listen.  The nagging ache in my calves didn’t let up. The nagging ache in my SI joint started nagging me more. The writing was on the wall.  I needed a rest.

So, for the past week I rested.  I laid off the weights and got on the stationary bike once for 35 minutes. Last night, for the first time in 8 days, I did some upper body weights. I plan on a short 3-5 km run this afternoon.  A week off the running may not be enough physically for my body to rest but my mind needs to get back out there.

When I run I think. Sometimes I think about a recent patient and go over the history, physical exam and lab findings and think of other diagnoses that might have eluded me at the time.  Often I just process my day so that I can leave it on the pavement and start fresh tomorrow. More often than not, it’s a chance for me to have quiet time to reflect on everything and nothing. I guess you could say it’s a form of therapy.

Mind over matter.

Thoughts in Ten on Tuesday. 

Day 3 – National Blog Posting Month.

Recovering from a half-marathon is taking longer than I thought.

Why are those last 6-7 lbs so damn elusive?

Daylight savings time is stupid.

Stress leads to the dark side.

It’s flu season. No, the flu shot will not make you sick.

I dream of Halloween chocolate, which likely explains the second thought above.

I forget what it feels like to sleep in. I worry I will never be able to do it again.

Years tick by and I still wonder, what if?

I really need to start reading books again.

It’s spring in November.