Sunday, February 24, 2013

Much better!

"We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities." Ralph Waldo Emerson

My own voyage included a little extra recovery over the last few weeks, but all important workouts are getting done. I'm also continuing with the cross-training...spinning and yoga! I also went snowshoeing again, it was beautiful out and I did more climbing than running. Plus, I got a new strength program at the gym. I like changing things up every once in a while and I look forward to officially trying it this week. 

Today, I set out to test myself...I had 26km on the program and I am no longer in the Aerobic base training phase, but have entered the Aerobic capacity phase. This phase is designed to help me increase the pace at which I can run aerobically. So I'm expected to run at the high end of my aerobic zone. I was aiming for 6m40s/km (which is 10 to 15 seconds faster than during aerobic base training). The roads and sidewalks were slushy and there were lots of puddles (I felt like I was running the steeplechase)...along with some wet snow. Let's just say that, despite the fact that I wore my Kinvara trail shoes, which at least don't have holes in the sole like my A5' feet were soaking wet within a few kilometers!

Regardless, I had slept well and although I didn't eat lots of carbs last night, I felt good and managed to run my 26K at a 6m39s/km pace! That felt really good...I was very proud of myself!

Next Sunday is our Pentathlon...the weather is supposed to be really nice! We're all getting pretty excited and I'm looking forward to this experience as a family :) I'll tell you all about it when we return!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

A 10K race report...and caution.

“Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy - the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.”   - Eric Hoffer

Let me start with today's 10K race for which I may have expended too much hope and expectation. As you all know, I've been training harder lately. Granted, I'm training for a half-marathon, not a 10K, but I've been running a lot and generally feeling good about my running. I dared to hope, and maybe even to expect (a little), that today would be the day that I finally run a sub-one hour 10K. I was excited that my daughter would be running with me the same 10K as me :) ...the weather was cold and windy, not ideal, and we quickly noted that there was a major hill that we would have to climb twice as it was two loops. However, there was also the downhill which would hopefully even things out. My niece was also running with us and since the race starts with the major hill, I knew it was best that I let the two young'uns run together and I stepped back a bit (they were too close to the front for my pace).

Before the race with my niece, myself and my daughter.

As I was stepping back, I notice these two young  men that just looked fast behind me, so I stepped behind them too. There was an older man behind them and he said, "There's some room here" and I said, "Thanks, I just thought they looked fast, so I decided to come back here" and he replies, "Yeah, myself I usually take about 50 minutes." So I smiled and slowly backed away some more :) This happens to be a very competitive race with lots of groups from different clubs, so there are many very fast runners of different ages.  

We take off and as expected that first hill is tough...and people are passing me on both sides. Even with the downhills, I never really felt comfortable and on the second climb of the major hill at the 6th K I know I really slowed down. However, I was really proud that I never once walked and we're talking over 1km of climbing after 5K of running. Yay me! I then noticed that the second bow on my shoelaces had become undone (this has never happened to me before, even in training), I felt it hitting my other shoe, but I kept hoping it wouldn't come completely untied. No such luck, my shoelace comes completely undone and I have to step to the side, remove my gloves, retie my shoe and then put my gloves back on as I start running again. I'm sure it only took like 10 seconds, but really?! Now?! 

I manage to really sprint in the last Km as it was the downhill part of that crazy hill! Oh well, I guess I'll still be chasing that sub-one hour time 1h01m06! Yup...not today.

Yes, I'm disappointed...but, although it seems counter-intuitive, I still feel proud of myself. I think my disappointment was partly due to the fact that I feel like I'm working so hard and now I'm a little worried that I still might not reach my half-marathon goal. Regardless, the plan is to just keep doing what the program says and hope that it all works out. If not, well I guess I'll just have to try again.

BTW, the three young pups who were with me (my daughter's bf did the 5K) all PR'd and my niece won the silver medal for her age group (she's 16). My daughter ran her 10K in 54m39s, my niece in 53m54s and my daughter's bf ran his 5K in 22m20s! That speedy crew was all waiting to cheer me in at the finish line :)

As for the caution part, I felt really tired this week and although last week was a recovery week, I decided to skip one of my runs this week. Plus, today I had 26K on the program, but after this morning's 10K I decided to leave it at that. I don't want to end up over-training, especially since my body is really not used to doing so much. Taking it just a bit easier this week felt right and hopefully, I'll be feeling stronger next week. I know that since I'm now past the mid-point of my training schedule that it's normal for me to feel tired, but I don't want to blow all this hard work by overdoing it. 

Have a great week everyone! Cheers!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The New Not-So-Normal!

“If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.” 

I'm not sure what would be considered "normal" for a woman like me, but I'm pretty sure I'm not average. I'll even dare say that sometimes, I can be pretty amazing! :) 

After close to four years of running, three of those using the running form taught to me by my physiotherapist (a running specialist), I am now very comfortable with the 180 steps per minute cadence and wearing my racers for all distances. 

So for 12 weeks now, I went from running three (sometimes four) days a week, with very few high mileage long running five or six days a week, with many high mileage long runs. My new "not-so-normal" has me feeling so much stronger. As I mentioned last week, I have always run my long runs using a 10/1 ratio. However, last week for the first time I ran my 16k non-stop. It went well and my pace was a bit faster. To be fair, I may still have had some prednisone in my system last week (which increases my pace a bit - sort of like Lance ;)). This week, my system is definitely back to normal and I decided to try running my 22k long run non-stop. I'm very proud of myself, because I did manage to run with very few walk breaks (only when taking a GU or once to put on my gloves). However, when I compare this 22k with the last one I did a few weeks ago using a 10/1 ratio (both without prednisone), my pace is only 1 second faster per km! I found this week's run more difficult mentally, as well as physically (no lingering pain however). Considering the fact that there is essentially no difference in pace, I have decided to stick with the 10/1 ratio for my long runs. Nonetheless, I'm super proud that I was able to do this...because not very long ago, I doubt that my body could have handled running so long with hardly any walk breaks. Plus, I will probably try again when the roads and sidewalks are clear! Because I can :)

Have a great week everyone!

*I'm not sure why this page is white?! Strange...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Welcome recovery week!

"Never lose sight of this important truth, that no one can be truly great until he has a gained knowledge of himself, a knowledge which can only be acquired by occasional retirement."
Johann Georg Von Zimmermann

After two intensive weeks of training, today begins a recovery week. Considering the fact that I am now dealing with the post-prednisone "down", let's just say that this recovery week is well timed. You will notice that I put a "Prednisone sucks" widget in my side-bar with the number of days I've been off prednisone tallied beneath the image. It's been almost two years since my longest number of days off prednisone, which was 143 days. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a nice long stretch. There are three things in life that I have a love/hate relationship with: Cars, computers and prednisone! All three, for different reasons, are valuable and necessary to me, but I wish they weren't :) 

Despite the fatigue, this week was another good week, which included a spinning class and a yoga class, plus lots of running. As mentioned, today was the start of a recovery week, so my long run was just 16km ;) Usually, I complete all my long runs using a 10 min. run/1 min. walk ratio. I have always used this method, and when coming back from an injury I would even go 5/1. However, my runs during the week are all done non-stop and are getting longer. I decided to try and complete my long run with only two one-minute walk breaks when it was time to take a GU. It actually went really well and I was super proud of myself. The difference in pace is less than 10 seconds per km and since the mileage was lower than the last few Sundays, it's not a huge difference. I may try it again next week for longer mileage and without the prednisone "down" and we'll see how it goes. I'm testing out this new fitter body and stronger mind :)

Today was a beautiful day for a run outside...still cold, but nothing like last week and the sun was shining brightly (temp felt was about 0°F and rising). There were lots of people out ice fishing and I couldn't help myself from stopping for a minute to take a photo :)
Winter in Québec!

Enjoy the Superbowl everyone! Even here in Québec, chicken wings were on display all week!