Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Musings - bullet style

"The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain."
Kahlil Gibran

  • Monday: I did start prednisone...only two more days to go! Lungs are gradually feeling better and better.
  • Tuesday: Climbed Mont St-Hilaire with a girlfriend in the morning and then we spent the afternoon at Spa St-Hilaire. Absolutely wonderful day!
  • Wednesday: 8.1km run with intervals...felt really good.
  • Thursday: wu on tm and then some plyo-strength-ab workout. I felt tired and was thinking that I need to start eating more snacks.
  • Friday: 11km run in the pouring rain (included two longer intervals). I was soaking least it wasn't cold out. I actually don't mind the rain so much, but I felt quite heavy by the time I was done. My clothes were hanging on me. Overall, felt really good.
  • Sunday: 11.5km run at LSD pace using a 10:1 ratio. Stomach issues and very tired (had barely slept the night before)...YET, I still felt strong and happy to be out there. 
My running has been going so well the last few weeks. I am feeling strong and truly enjoying myself and looking forward to getting out there. Here are a few things I really love about my new training program:
  • Running by time instead of km's allows me to plan ahead better.
  • Not having a specific number of km's to run stresses me less and allows me to focus on the suggested pace. Which means I'm not constantly trying to push it in, but allowing my body to enjoy getting into a nice rhythm. 
  • Running by time also means that the long runs are not going to be as long as they were with my previous program. This may actually be better for me. We'll see.
  • Both of my runs during the week include intervals. One has speedier intervals, the second has marathon race pace intervals. They are well spaced and I feel strong doing them.
  • This program includes four runs a week...and I only do three. However I do at least two sessions of cross-training. This seems to be working really well for me...and I like the idea of regularly going for a bike ride or a trek on the mountain.
My program includes a half-marathon distance in two weeks. As mentioned, if all goes well during that 21.1k, I will register for the Montreal Marathon, which occurs on September 25th. 

Congrats to everyone who ran the Seattle Rock 'n Roll!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lac Brome race report. A first...hopefully the last.

"Adversity is a stimulus."
James Broughton 

Ready to go...feeling hopeful!
The weather was absolutely perfect for running. Sunny, with a nice breeze and not too hot. The course was also in a beautiful setting. The race was extremely well organized and everything went smoothly, from registration to the shuttle to the start line. 
I love the tech shirt. Very simple and fits super comfortably.

The story: Yesterday, I was at a get-together at a friend's home and someone there happened to be a runner. She had heard about this race and mentioned that it was extremely hilly (I think she assumed that I knew this). This worried me a lot a bit because my lungs are not doing so well these days after their bout with allergies. However, I figured it wasn't worth getting too worked up over. If it takes longer and I don't get a PR, so be it. This is actually part of my training program, so the point is just to get it done. Right...?

How did it go you ask? My legs felt great, no pain and they were feeling strong. My lungs...not so much. Yes, it was a very hilly course.
This is an example of the course (in reverse). Constant up and down like that...
But every uphill had its downhill and allowed us to recuperate quite well. Although there was this one hill at the 5K mark which was probably half a mile long. I actually had to walk for a small part of it because my lungs were screaming at me, "What do you think you're doing crazy lady"! Still, even that hill had a nice long downhill after. The problem is that no matter how much I got to recuperate, I had to beg my lungs to help me get up each of the many hills. So, no PR for me. Actually, I ended up with a time of 1h:04m:07s after which I promptly had a minor asthma attack (coughed pretty much non-stop for 5-10 minutes). That is a FIRST! I'd never had a coughing fit after one of my races...may it be the last! Tomorrow, there is a huge chance that I will be on prednisone again for at least 10 days*. 

That's actually what I'm most frustrated about. I have a tendency to keep pushing off starting the prednisone and hoping I'll improve without it. However, if I had started last Monday, like I knew I should, I would have rocked that 10K (especially since I would have been on a prednisone high ;))...yeah, that's probably considered cheating, but it's not like I'd be stealing anyone's medal :)

Speaking of which...interestingly, there was no medal at this race, but the snack was duck sausage, which was delicious. There was also beer, but I didn't taste it (in my defence, I was still coughing sporadically and it didn't seem like a good idea at the time).
It was much better than it looks :)
One very cool thing is that I met up with a bunch of Daily Mile friends after the race...people who live in my area and that I met through DM. Loved that! :)

Am I disappointed? Yes. Will I get over it? Of course. I have absolutely no pain following this intense hill workout and I feel ready to increase my mileage! Three more weeks of training and if all continues to go well, I will be registering for the Montreal Marathon...I'm feeling optimistic (hope I didn't just jinx it :).

So the stats for my race...if you're interested:
Time: 1h04m07s
Pace: 6:24m/K 
Category: 24/48 (right in the middle - not so bad really)
Gender: 396/599
Overall: 781/1035


 *I also will probably have to start getting my Xolair injections again. We had tried to stop and see how I would do, but my lungs haven't been going so great over the last few months.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mont St-Hilaire...lovely trails!

"Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift."
Albert Einstein 

What a wonderful morning on the mountain. My BIL and I spent the morning climbing Mont St-Hilaire...great cross-training and just so beautiful. Here, let me show you...
Beautiful day...

By the lake

Getting technical.

It's the climb...

Top of the world"ish" :)

If there was no smog, you could see the Olympic Stadium in Montreal off in the distance.

You can't really tell, but there are a bunch of students on the other "peak".

Bird sanctuary on the way down.

A wonderful morning!
Thanks to my BIL for joining me and taking all these great pics.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Upcoming 10K race!

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” 
Vincent Van Gogh

This coming Sunday I will be running a 10K race as part of my training for my eventual marathon. It's actually suggested on my training schedule and I decided to register. I'm quite excited, because the only time I ever ran a 10K race was in May was my first ever race...and I had been running for less than a year. At the time, I ran my 10K in 60m44s. This time, I would really really like to break 1 hour. However, I do know that just because I've got more running experience doesn't mean that much...anything can happen. But, I would be so thrilled. Wish me luck :)


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fiery quads - Feeling strong!

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

Charles Darwin

After my not so great run last Monday, the rest of the week was really good. First of all, I now have a treadmill. A friend sold it to me for a very good price and I'm super excited. I have the best set-up...check it out!
It's in the sun room (still under construction), which allows me to feel like I'm outside. When I open the windows, I feel a nice breeze. Perfect!

So many things have gone right this week with my training. I'm really enjoying running by time instead of Kms. For some reason, I don't find myself stressing about how many Kms I still have to go. I know exactly for how long I will be running and it makes it easier for me to plan my runs. This week, I started my plyometrics/abs/strength workout, which I'll be doing once a week (explains the fiery quads). I also got out on my bike once and the weather was perfect. We had a really great week weather-wise. 

For today's run, I ended up doing 10K, as the plan was 70 minutes at LSD pace. Should be 7:25min/km, but was 7:04min/km (not so far off)...I took a gel before starting and I know it helped keep me from fading. The whole run felt really good. Speaking of gels, I tasted the banana/strawberry Gu and I really liked it a lot. Finally, the Fort is now open, which means a bathroom and fresh water at the half-way point. Yay!

I need to start taking pictures again when I go for runs or bike rides, I've been forgetting the camera. Today, despite the achy quads, I often had a smile on my face as I was running. It has been a while since I've felt so good out there...what a great feeling! The quads feel tight, but's a good ache :)

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Why I run...

"Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself."  

Harvey Fierstein

This morning, the plan was to have breakfast, make a few short phone calls for work and then go for my run. On the program, I had a 55 minute run at a slow and steady pace.

First the whine: I'm tired these days, because I have spring allergies and I am not sleeping well. I'm also 52 years old and I think I may sometimes be experiencing my own personal mini heat waves. So, I kept procrastinating, and just couldn't get enthusiastic about going for my run. I wasn't feeling it physically, even though mentally, I was actually excited about my new program. I seriously felt like I just didn't have the energy for it. Finally, I just got ready and got myself out there.

The run: When you wait, it's much warmer outside. So it was hot and humid when I got out there at noon. The suggested pace was actually quite slow (7:25 min/Km) but, it wasn't that easy with the humidity. I pretty much talked myself through it and did manage to enjoy the view, but not so much the run.

The reward: When I got home, I removed my shoes and socks and soaked my feet in ice cold water. Then I took my shower and honestly couldn't believe how much better I felt. I love that post-run feeling. My energy level is higher, I smile to myself and just feel so good. Then I remembered...

That's why I run! 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Learning from experience.

"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."  
Willa Cather

After registering for the marathon twice and running the half both times...I want to do things differently this time. The Montreal Marathon is on September 25th this year, that gives me 16 weeks to train for it. However, as mentioned in my last post, I do not plan on registering for this marathon until I have gone more than two months without an injury. Luckily, the Montreal Marathon is not one of those that fills up within days. If I don't feel ready, no stress, I can register for the half.

I'm also going to try a different type of training program, not that there's anything wrong with the one I was following but, it was 5 days a week which is too much for me. This time, I will run for a certain amount of time, instead of for a certain number of kilometers. I will continue to use the 10/1 ratio on long runs, because that works for me. Also, this program is 4 days a week, I'll probably do 3 most weeks, and cross-train on two other days, taking one day of full rest. 

The last two half-marathons I did, I was coming back from an injury and didn't have much mileage the 6 to 8 weeks leading up to race day. Yet, my time remained consistent across the 4 halfs I've done. Yes, I probably could have improved a bit, but it's not like I did worse than the both times I managed to train properly. I find that very interesting. Both times, I biked and did strength training to compensate and so I guess I was in pretty good shape. Still, I'm intrigued and I've learned an important lesson. Just do what feels right, don't push the mileage unnecessarily, which is why I'm switching to time instead of Ks...and I will listen to my body!

For example, today I ran 11K. The old program suggested 13K, but as I was running, I realized that I was still tired from my half last weekend and I decided to turn around early. Also, at one point I was feeling pressure under my middle toes. I was wearing my injinji's and the sock seemed to have bunched up. Normally, I would tough it out to avoid stopping during a long run, today, I stopped (twice) and fixed the sock...and then felt much better as I continued my run and avoided causing pain and possibly a silly injury.

This time, I will not put unnecessary pressure on myself, because I know for a fact that:
Even if I don't get every run in I'll be fine.
If I stop early sometimes, I'll be fine.
If I take bathroom or sock or shoe or clothes or fueling breaks, I'll be fine.
If I choose to cross-train some days instead of run, I'll be fine.
If I choose to do a bit more sometimes, I'll be fine.
This time, I hope to enjoy the process fully, trust my judgement and believe!

Thanks for your wonderful support and encouragement!