Monday, November 30, 2009

November was a good month

A very good month for me on the running front. I had the new personal best in the 5K at the Cookie Run. I've also been following a training plan that I built for myself.

The goals of the training are to increase my mileage to 20-25 miles per week (that's 32-40km a week for the metric folks) and to run four times a week. Now I can't do this all at once, so Novemeber was just mileage building. This past week I ran 27km, which is a new weekly mileage record. And for the month of November, I ran just over 101km. That number is huge for me! It beats my old mileage high by 20km.

December should deliver a new mileage record, too... providing all goes as planned. I increase by 2km again this week (8/8/13) then a break next week (5/5/10). After that I'm moving to the 4 runs a week phase for 4 weeks, with no mileage increases planned. I might be able to add mileage at the end if I'm feeling okay, but for now the plan is to tackle one phase of training at a time.

I also plan to run the Running Room's Resolution Run on December 31st. Hopefully it'll be warmer than the -25C we had last year!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Superior Scribbler Awards!


These are the rules:
- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass the award on to five most deserving bloggers.
-Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom s/he has received the award.
-Each Superior Scribbler must display on his/her blog, and like to the Scholastic Scribe, which explains the award.
-Each blogger who wins the Superior Scribbler award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. linky list. That way, they'll be able to keep up to date on everyone who receives this prestigious honour.
- Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

I received this award from my friend Sadie, who has a wonderful and inspirational blog about all the random thoughts she has about life, love, exercise and weightloss.

Some of the blogs I read regularly and consider to be interesting, valuable and inspiring are the following:
Second Ferment - All about the wine scene in Ottawa and the writer's wine adventures. She's on a bit of a forced hiatus right now (babies do that) but I love her witty writing style.
West Side Action - The author writes about all kinds of random things he notices in the downtown core of Ottawa, in addition to major issues facing the city, especially those affecting Centretown and the West side of the city inside the Greenbelt.
Tired Mama Running - a teammate of mine on our Miles Game writes this blog. She's preparing to run the Boston Marathon in 2010. She just qualified again on a challenging marathon she didn't even train seriously for. Wow.
Lori's Footprints - Lori's another teammate of mine and I love reading her race reports and how she faces the challenges of running.
Cathartic Creativity - Dawn is a friend of mine through a private messageboard. She began painting as an outlet to handle stress and her work is just amazing. She's also a very talented photographer.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bring on winter!

I'm looking forward to getting out running tonight. I didn't want to yesterday, that's for sure. I got the flu shot on Monday night and both my husband and I felt awful yesterday. Not to mention that I ended up working 8-6, even though all I wanted to do was cozy up on the couch with a blanket.

I knew my body was telling me it needed a rest, so I dutifully bumped my runs by a day. This week I'm running 8/8/11 and have a couple more 3 run weeks until I plateau at 28K/week for most of December and divide up the mileage into 4 runs per week... just as the weather starts to get cold and snowy.

But I have to admit, I'm a masochist. I love winter running, especially in snowstorms. Snowstorms are actually one my favourites, because I get to see who all in this city just as crazy as me! There's some strange extra endorphin rush that I get when I run in crazy weather.

Another great part about the weather turning cold is the fact that it's easier to dress for my runs. Lately it's been between 7 and 10 degrees during my runs. Normally that's an ideal temperature! But then there's been a lot of wind and either rain or sun. It's tough to figure out what to wear, which usually means I end up freezing when running into the wind or toasty when the wind's at my back.

Bring on winter!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The inspiration for my blog name

The song that inspired the name of the blog is called 'Racing Like A Pro' by the National. I always mishear the lyrics (as do most people)... but given that this blog is about me, involves writing and, not to mention that, I spend most of my day writing. The National is an amazing band that I wish more people would appreciate.

Speaking of writing, today I get to work from home in order to be able to write without the constant interruptions at the office. But, this also means I get to run at midday, in the beautiful, sunny, warm weather!

Listen to it in iTunes!

You're pink you're young you're middle-class
they say it doesn't matter
fifteen blue shirts and womanly hands
you're shooting up the ladder

Your mind is racing like a pro, now
oh my god it doesn't mean a lot to you
one time you were a glowing young ruffian
oh my god it was a million years ago

Sometimes you get up and bake a cake or something
sometimes you stay in bed
sometimes you go la di da di da di da da
til your eyes roll back into your head

Your mind is racing like a pro, now
oh my god it doesn't mean a lot to you
one time you were a glowing young ruffian
oh my god it was a million years ago

you're dumbstruck baby
you're dumbstruck baby now you know
you're dumbstruck baby
you're dumbstruck baby now you know

Your mind is racing like a pro, now
oh my god it doesn't mean a lot to you
one time you were a glowing young ruffian
oh my god it was a million years ago

you're dumbstruck baby
you're dumbstruck baby now you know
you're dumbstruck baby
you're dumbstruck baby now you know
you're dumbstruck baby

Sunday, November 15, 2009

RWOL Games - Motivation to the Max

Runners World Online (otherwise known as RWOL) is the place to go to if you have a question on anything and everything related to running. The beginners forum is welcoming, while the Letters vs. Opinions is entertaining. You can ask for advice on the most mudane running issue... from which brand of running skirt is better to the issue of skyrocketing race fees.

My favourite part of RWOL: the games. Yes, games.

I've taken part in two monthly challenges and am an active member of the Miles Game. Players are placed on teams and you log your mileage weekly. The team earns points on how our mileage ranks among the other teams for the week. Then the team earns bragging rights if we win the quarter. My team has yet to win... but they are a wonderful bunch of people. We support each other through the highs and lows. And they are incredibly patient with me, the ever-so-eager novice runner.

My favourite game is about to start as well, and that's the Winter Running Contest. We get points based on the weather/temperature and the length of time spent running. I played last year and it was a huge motivator to get out for a run during a blizzard, or -25C weather. The promise of bad weather got me excited for running, which sounds strange, I know. But this contest was one of the biggest reasons why I made it through my first winter of running.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A new first

We runners often get caught up in personal bests or records, pace times, speedwork... all in the name of getting faster. It's easy to forget the fun part of running or to remember the little achievements.

In weight loss, we call it a non-scale victory... something we're proud of that's not the number on the scale. I think I could expand this to non-speed victory.

I passed a rollerblader last night. The guy had 4 wheels and I didn't... and I passed him, twice. Granted he wasn't going super-fast, but it was still a boost to the ego!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The News Gets Better

Turns out my gun time was actually 28.09! Woohoo! And I was 4th in my age group, which is huge for me. Yay!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cookie Run 5K Race Report

This morning I ran the Cookie Run 5K in support of the local Girl Guides. My goal for this race was to beat my old personal best (PB) of 30:08 from June. I really wanted break 30 minutes! I knew I could do it, as I've broken 30:00 in training and now I can hit it during everyday runs without really taxing myself. It was just a matter of by how much I would break it.

When I woke up it was cloudy, risk of flurries, -5C with the wind and I was really unsure as to what to wear, as the forecast called for it to warm up and for the sun to come up. I ended up wearing my my Sugoi Mid-Zero tights, a very light long-sleeve tech tee under my Sugoi Locust Jacket, along with a tech beanie and gloves. It ended up being the right decision.

Before the race I met up with two friends who were attempting a personal best in the 10K. They planned a 5:40/K pace (they run 10/:45 intervals). So as long as I was near them, I knew I would break 30 minutes. I warmed up a bit on the walk to the start and jogged a little before lining up.

The race started at 10 a.m., it was about 0C at that point with a slight wind. I turned on my Nike+ right as the horn sounded. There was a hill right after the start, which lasted about 500m and then a slight downhill. The rest of the course was pancake flat, minus a very tiny uphill just before 2K, and a downhill on a path at 4K. There were lots of kids and people of all ages and abilities. The course was on a closed road at our local research centre, so there was lots of room for everyone.

I tried to run the tangents as best I could, as there were lots of turns on the course. I took water at the 1.5K mark as my mouth felt cottony from my puffer (hooray for exercise-induced asthma) but didn't need it on the way back at 3.5K. The pace felt very comfortable and I felt as if I was going too slow. I knew this was a product of my speedwork over the last month, as I'd had this feeling in most of my runs recently. I resisted the urge to peek at my iPod, but I knew the race was going well because I was keeping pace with my friends.

At the 4K mark, I could feel my legs starting to get heavy. My head was clear, so I knew I had something left in the tank. I rounded the corner and saw the finish line. I started my sprint about 200m out and crossed the finish line in a blaze of glory!

The clock at the finish line wasn't working, but volunteers wrote down bib numbers and times. My iPod told me all I needed to know: 28.16! Woohoo! I beat my old personal best by 1:52!

I grabbed some water and girl guide cookies and used the walk back to the car as my cooldown. I'll likely be sore tomorrow... but I feel good knowing I left everything out on the course. I'm on such a high! My friends also beat their previous PB in the 10K by about 2 minutes. Congrats guys!

My next race is the Resolution Run 5K on New Years' Eve. Until then, I'll continue to work on building up my base. I start running 4x a week in December.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Getting to know yourself

A fellow runner, whose opinion I really respect, posted this on Runners World today:

"Get to know yourself as a runner better before making commitments you may regret."

I think it's so true. This comment was in response to a beginner's post stating that he'd been running for 3 weeks and he asked if it was to early to start training for a half-marathon in February.

I'd seen that the lottery for the 2010 NYC Marathon opened today, and I was so tempted to enter. But, I realized quickly that I was crazy. I've never run a marathon. Heck, I haven't even run a half marathon yet. And I'd be crazy to run my first marathon at the biggest marathon in the world. Talk about biting off more than I can chew.

Running is such an individual experience that what works for me may not work for you. And of course, vice-versa. I think a lot of it for runners, both novice and advanced alike, has to do with wanting to have your cake and to eat it while running. Everyone runs along a different path in the journey that is running. Enjoy that run to your goal and take it as you put one foot in front of the other.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Running on my wedding day

I got married a month ago. During the photos, all I wanted to do was go for a run. It was a beautiful afternoon, one that was perfect for a run! I'd skipped my run the day before due to lack of sleep, because I didn't want to get hurt. There were runners on the path nearby and seeing them gave me the itch to go for a run.

So I decided to get creative and I worked running into our wedding photos! It's such a huge part of who I am now, so I really wanted to capture it on one of the most important days of my life. My husband was such a good sport about it!