Success!! 

Two months ago, I started tracking what I ate with My Fitness Pal.  My husband and I had both gained weight, or more accurately, were not losing weight, and he wanted to start eating better and exercising more to see if it would help his chronic kidney disease.  So together we decided to put an end to our big dinners and wine during the week.  We started eating more protein and veggies at dinner and minimized the carbs – ie. no pasta, no bread – and less deep fried foods.  We also stopped having dessert every night – no more Halloween chocolate, no cookies after dinner, etc.  Wine is only on Friday and Saturday night now.

After a few weeks husband started noticing a difference and with me tracking my calories and trying to adjust my macros, I started seeing subtle differences in the way my clothes fit.  He is running more during the week when the kids are at school and I am back on track with my running as well.

Now, I won’t lie, the nasty stomach flu I had over New Years’ certainly did help with the weight loss but surprisingly, the weight is staying off and well, I am pretty excited about that.

Since starting the healthy eating plan and tracking my diet, I have now lost 10 lbs.  I can’t remember the last time I was this weight – well, yes actually, it was before I got pregnant with my 3rd child.  My clothes fit better and I feel better.  We both do.

He says I don’t need to track my food intake anymore, but I can’t deny that it has become a habit for me now and the scientist in me is enjoying the process.   I can’t wait to see how the next few months shape up!

 

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!

 

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?

  

October Run Report and Goalification

Day 2 – National Blog Posting Month

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October was a pretty spectacular running month for me. After a summer plagued with injury I was able to make a comeback and completed my first half marathon. It wasn’t fast but I crossed the finish line at 2:37:17 which was three minutes faster than my goal time of 2:40.

Currently I have no plans for my next race. For someone who swore she’d never enter a race, the fact that I have nothing planned honestly feels strange. Never thought I’d ever say that.

My running goals now are to change my long runs to 10:1 intervals – 10 minutes of running then 1 minute of walking. I would also really like to phase out the walking altogether on my regular runs. I’m also going to start running hill repeats once a week provided no new injuries arise. In the past, hills have always led to some sort of injury so I will keep on eye on that.  I have a weight goal as well which is totally silly, but there you have it. It’s the last on my list so it’s not terribly important but I have a number in my head and I would like to reach it. It is likely an unrealistic goal given that I am also doing some weight training and not really being very strict with my diet. One has to live, right?

I can’t wait to see what November brings!

Ready. 

I think I’m ready for the half marathon in a couple of weeks. 

This was my last long training run. My friend joined me for the first 7 km and I continued on as she turned back. 

I tried a gel for the first time. It was gross. I then tried a gummy energy chew and it was much more palatable.  I’m glad I used this run to figure that out. 

  
I feel like I’m capable of anything. I can’t wait for the race! 

On Strength.

I know it’s been a while that I’ve written when I can’t remember what my last post was about. There’s been a lot going on, all of it good for the most part.

Daughter got her cast off and is on the mend. Most days I think she forgets about the elbow injury but she has been careful not to test it on the monkey bars (thanks in large part to the Orthopedic surgeon who told her not to go near them for a few weeks).

I’ve been a slammed at work… again.  My colleague had a family emergency quite suddenly and we’ve had to juggle her practice.  Thankfully there was a replacement doctor coming in for some vacation time so that has eased the burden this week.  I often feel I am asked to cover for my colleagues more than they cover for me and it’s been like that for years.  I work more than they do so it makes sense, I guess.  Still, it’s annoying and not likely to change unless I also reduce my hours, which isn’t going to happen anytime soon.  I nod politely and tell them I’ll do what I can but inside I can’t help but feel resentful. I know this is something that can’t continue because it will eat away at me. I just want things to be equal and I fear it’s never going to be.

Running is going well. I signed up for a 15k race and it’s coming up this weekend.  Of course I am nervous about it; I worry I’ll fall flat on my face and not finish even though I ran 18k two weeks ago, my furthest run to date.  The last 2k were very hard and I walked a lot so I know I was pushing myself but I felt I needed to in order to feel more confident about the upcoming race. I’ve been tapering since then and haven’t run more than 5-7 km and taking more rest days.  I ran 87.5 km during the month of May. My total for the year so far is 381 km.  I am not sure I’ll reach my goal of running 1000 km in 2015 but I do know that I will run a half marathon.

I also started strength training at home on the suggestion of my chiropractor and Pilates coach.  I’ve been doing upper and lower body free weights and have noticed a significant difference in my stamina already after just a month.  During my last run a few days ago, I was able to run up a very large hill without any walking.  That’s not something I could have done a month ago.  What an exhilarating feeling!  I have to say it’s also pretty cool seeing the changes in my muscles.  I already had pretty strong arms thanks to carrying toddlers around for the past 6 years almost non-stop.  My main weakness has been in my glutes so I learned how to do dead lifts and started incorporating those a couple of times a week into my routine.  Core strength is incredibly important as well and planking has helped.  My FB running group has a daily elbow plank challenge going on this month and my time has already increased by almost 25 seconds in just a week.  I’ve also been biking to and from work at least once a week as well.  I have a mountain bike, it’s pretty heavy and not terribly efficient so it’s a good workout, especially when I’m riding along the trail and have to climb the hills.

Fortis ego sum.

I am strong.

In the Zone

Yesterday I set out for a long run. Had planned 10km but with the new shoes (Asics Gel Nimbus) and better eating this week, I felt pretty good and flirted with the idea of pushing my body and going longer. I signed up for a 10km race which is happening in a few weeks so this would likely be that last long run until then. 

I’ve been to two Pilates sessions in the past couple of weeks and got some great tips on how to loosen up my hip joints. I did a lot of dancing as a child and was always taught to “tuck in”. I suppose I never really forgot that because apparently it’s what is causing a lot of my issues. My SI joints are locked up and I am working hard to unlock them.  My instructor also suggested a few minor changes to how I run and I’ve been trying to incorporate those techniques. Overall I have been running with consciously tightening my core which in turns causes me to lock up my hip joints. That has got to change. 

So during the early stages of my run yesterday, between 3-9km, I felt amazing. I felt like I was flying and my hips felt great. I almost felt like I was meditating.  By 10km though, I started getting tired and felt the SI joint acting up. I made a few adjustments and was surprised how it actually did help ease up the discomfort. 

Before I knew it I was home and finished my longest run to date. 

 
I was also able to finally test out my two-bottle water belt. It felt a little awkward initially but I soon got used to it and was so glad to have my hands free.  I’ll definitely be using it for the race. 

  
This morning my legs certainly noticed the subtle differences I incorporated in my run. My quads are sore but in that good way. Nothing a little foam rolling won’t cure. 

Anyone who says running doesn’t work to lose weight or get fit clearly didn’t test their body. 

 

The Agony of Accomplishment

I hurt today.

I knew it would hurt to get out of bed the moment I stretched out my legs.

My left knee at the fibula where the IT band inserts.

Both calf muscles and the Achilles’ tendons.

The right lateral thigh along the entire length of the IT band.

My deep, deep core muscles.

They were all mad at me for what I put them through yesterday.

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After a self-imposed rest of 3 days due to inclement weather and a broken furnace, I set out for a long run. I’ve been increasing my distance by 1 km every 2 weeks, so this week had me facing 13 km. With all the snow that fell I knew that only the major streets’ sidewalks would be clear enough to run on so I headed out and ran to the office. I tried to take it easy as this was supposed to be a LSD but after each kilometer clicked by it became clear that I was running at my 5km pace. (I can hardly believe I can even say that!). I reached the office and kept going for another 1.5 km. By the time I had to turn back I was getting pretty tired. I briefly considered hopping on transit but remembered I didn’t bring my wallet or any loose change. I allowed myself a few extra 100 meter walk breaks and thank goodness for traffic lights. I was able to catch my breath and stretch out the legs.

I made it home and felt like collapsing. My legs were jello and I was dripping in sweat. I drank a lot of water and made a cheese omelet even before I got all my gear off. I was starving. I stretched afterwards but obviously not enough considering how my legs felt this morning. A few hours later the dreaded migraine came on with a vengeance; a sign that I will need a water belt and gels for my next long run. I think I am going to wait another week before increasing my distance again. My legs definitely need a break. For the next few weeks I will stick to 5-10 km and work on getting my 5 km pace even faster.

Oh and just for fun here’s a shot of me as I ran by a storefront window. I’m pretty sure this was around 9 km. I’m surprised I’m not completely hunched forward!

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A Great Start

I mentioned previously that I joined another blogger in a 1000km running challenge. We are going to try to run 1000km in 2015. Breaking that down means that I would have to average about 80km per month.  That seemed a lot to me, especially with the on and off injuries I had in 2013.

Well let me say that January has been a fantastic month for running.  I have incorporated weighted quad sets (20 lbs) on the off days and have noticed a huge difference in the strength of my legs.  The knee doesn’t ache anymore and the shin splints are gone.  My speed has improved as well.

The first half of January saw me running a series of 5km runs (from work to home).  One of my goals this year was to run 5km in 30 minutes. I haven’t quite gotten there yet but the last few 5km runs I have broken my own personal best record twice, in the same week!

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I’ve only done two long slow distance runs this month.  The first was the 11.1 km a few weeks ago.  Yesterday was the second.  My online running group suggested that I try to incorporate one LSD per week to help me reach my goal of the sub-30 minute 5km. I didn’t tell them this but one of my other goals for the year is to run a half-marathon distance.  Again, I’m not signing up for any races so there isn’t really a time constraint, other than I have 11 months to reach this distance.

So while the kids and I were visiting my in-laws, I took advantage of the extra childcare and set out on a long run in a city that isn’t all that familiar to me.  I mapped out a 10km route but got a bit distracted by the scenery (million dollar homes along the waterfront).  It was really cold and my cheeks were frozen by the half-way point.  I wanted to quit several times.  I needed a few extra walk breaks, not for my legs, but for my breathing and thank goodness for traffic lights.  The ability to catch my breath made it easier to keep going.  It was a very mentally challenging experience and one I am proud of accomplishing.

photo(32)That final run of January took me very close to 80 km.  Didn’t quite make it but that’s okay.  I’m just happy I can run pain-free again.

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