Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Kudos to my unsung hero

I owe my husband an endless supply of kudos. He really is awesome. He makes meals sometimes when I'm out on a run, or he'll do some chores around the house.

See, he doesn't run and has no interest in running. But he's learning all the running lingo, plans and details just as if he were a runner. When I changed my schedule this week, he asked me if I was running 8K on Tuesday. He realized that I was going to combine Monday and Tuesday's planned runs into a total of 8K on Tuesday. I thought it was amazing that he knew that... when he doesn't run and has no real need to know the intricacies of a runner's schedule and tendencies.

He's also very good at kicking my sad little butt out the door when it's really cold out. Yesterday I kept putting off the 8K run in the hopes that the wind would die down. By 6 p.m. it was still -28C with the wind. He kept hounding me to go running... so I did! And it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. (The coldest weather I've run in is -25C).

And, best of all? He picked up my race kit for the Resolution Run on New Year's Eve.

I love my husband. He's great.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Prize idiot - Long run edition

I was so excited to get out for my run today. Yesterday we had tons of freezing rain, so no running for me. I was dying to try out my new Garmin.

I'd prepped my old shoes the other day for winter running - I'd added the customary 9 screws in each shoe. I'm a big fan of screw shoes: they're cheap ($1 for a box of screws at the dollar store) and easy to do. And if they break, the screws are cheap to replace. I picked up 3/4 inch screws since I figured that might be a better length than the 1/2 inch ones I used last winter. My fellow blogger described the wonders of the screw shoe in a recent post.

Today's run was promising: cloudy and just below freezing for the first time in weeks. Thank God for warmer weather. I wore my screw shoes and the walk to my start of my run reaffirmed the fact I needed them. The sidewalks were still really icy and somewhat treacherous.

Then I reached the path. It was clear! A few puddles here and there, but just wet. What??? By 2 km into the run, I knew the screw shoes were a bad idea. I hadn't hit any long icy or snowy stretches. Ugh. Soon I'd realized the 3/4 inch screws were a bad idea, too. I could feel them poking through my Superfeet insoles. Soon the pointy ends were hitting the ball of my foot. The uphill or downhill stretches were even more painful, but the worst pain was reserved for when I landed on large rocks or pieces of salt. OUCH!

By 8 km I had visions of bloodied socks running through my head. I stopped at this point to see if I could remove them by hand, but they'd migrated right into the shoe and the screw head was flush with the sole. I was out of ideas and decided to run home and deal with the pain. Too bad I don't run with a screwdriver in my pocket... though that could make for some interesting comments from passing runners.

And to make the run even more of a calamity, I'd stopped my Garmin at about 3 km to switch it from imperial to metric. I forgot to start it again and only realized this after I'd been running for 15 minutes more. Thankfully I'd also brought my Nike+ and it captured the time missing from the Garmin.

Today's run just wasn't meant to be. But, the good news is that: a) it's funny; and b) there were no bloodied socks, just a couple of blisters. Oh the wonders of trial and error. I was so happy to get home!

Friday, December 25, 2009

A very runny Christmas

It was a good Christmas for me. My family and friends were very good to me, especially on the running front.

Hubby got me something I've wanted for a very long time: a Garmin 305, including heart rate monitor. Woohoo! I'm so excited to have more accurate data on my runs, especially distance. It'll be interesting to compare the data to what my dear Nike+ has delivered over the past 2 years. Though I'll likely keep on using the Nike+, too, given that I'm addicted to the challenges and website.

My parents were awesome and got me a new pair of running shoes... my trusty Asics 1140s. The new pair will be my shoes for clear conditions, while I'll be installing screws into my old pair for icy/snowy conditions. I love the colour, too!

My brother gave me a gift certificate to a sports store, while I did get a bit of money to spend on gear.

I was very blessed this year with non-running gifts, such as perfume and a new jewelery box. Life is good. Now it's time to work off the turkey dinner!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The "other" milestone

I've been eagerly anticipating this milestone for awhile.

I've been watching the number of miles run on my Nike+ profile slowly creep towards 1000. It's been moving faster since I started running more often and longer distances.

On Thursday I hit 1000 kilometres on the Nike+ site. I'm a bit of a nerd that way, but it was pretty satisfying to see the number change over and the colour scheme change on the website. Now it's a spiffy blue colour. It'll likely stay that way for awhile as the next level on the site is at 2500km. It took me 2 years to hit 1000 and I expect it'll likely take me another year to run 1500km.

I know that I'm above and beyond 1000 (I have 27kms in lost runs thanks to some bugs in the software) but I'm a sucker for the instant gratification, even if it's a colour change on a website. It's the little things that count...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Free Schwag

Woohoo! I won free custom armwarmers from Sugoi this afternoon! I answered a question on Incredible Jane's twitter feed and won a free pair. This is a perfect ending to this week... more on that later.

Now you all know I love armwarmers. I really do. And now I get a custom pair. I'll be sure to post a pic when I get them.

Unfortunately it's a little too cold here right now to wear them with just a singlet or tank, like Kara Goucher. But these will totally come in handy come Spring!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Someone asked me the other day why I cut back a run to 3K. I realized that I was so focused on the numbers that I forgot to explain exactly what I did and why.

I used to run 8K on Tuesdays and in order to add an extra day of running, I split the distance into two runs. Because I'm now running 2 days back-to-back, one day should be shorter than the other. This is especially important because I need to slowly expose my muscles to the concept of running 2 days in a row, without a rest period in between.

While I deal with that, I won't be increasing my mileage or doing any speedwork. This is a really conservative approach, intended to avoid injury. I'll maintain the 4x a week and a long run of 13K.

Why? The rule of thumb for runners is that too much too soon (TMTS) will result in an injury. Almost every kind of injury is caused by this in some way shape or form... whether it's too fast, too far, too long. In the end, it's all too much, too soon.

The 3K run on Monday felt good. But, short. I was just getting into a groove and then it was over! Tuesday's 5K was good. It felt like more of a workout than a run around the block. My legs were a little cranky halfway through, and the mainly up-hill route didn't help either.

Now I feel like I should be running again tonight. I must be patient!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A week of milestones

This week I'll hit quite a few milestones. I'm pretty excited about them because it really drives home the fact that careful, measured training can pay off.

Tonight I'll mark the first milestone: the beginning of the second phase of my pre-half marathon training. This week I begin running four times a week. It doesn't sound like a big deal, I know. But, it's such a huge step for me. I tried to do this back in September, but it was just too much too soon. Now I'm ready to make the jump. For the next four weeks I will maintain my mileage at 28K a week. I'll run 3K on Mondays, 5K on Tuesdays, 7K on Thursdays and 13K on Saturdays. I just need to remember to slow down. I've been running my long runs too fast, even though my perceived effort is consistent. I always end up feeling like I could've gone faster.. but that's a post for another day.

I'm really looking forward to tonight's run. It's supposed to be warm (I love how warm is a relative term in the winter months!) at -3C, with some snow. I love running in downtown Ottawa at this time of year. The Christmas lights are lit and it feels so cheery and festive. I always come back from my runs in a good mood.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Races Races Races

I took advantage of race entry discounts and registered for a number of Somersault races in 2010. I really enjoyed their races this year, so I figured I'd run the same events next year!

Registering early for races can be a bit of a gamble, but it's totally worth it. With Somersault, I saved $25 off the race-day entry price. And by registering early for the other races, I saved 20% off the entry fee and I got a free change of entry. That means that if plans change and I can't run the race, I can switch to a different race without paying extra. Talk about handy!

So, next year's race calendar looks like this:
02/19 - Winterman 10K
05/30 - Ottawa HM
06/19 - Emilie's Run 5K
07/31 - National Captial 5K.

I'm hoping that all the work I'm putting into my HM will pay off on my 5K time in June. Then I get another month to work on my speed again.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am a wimp

We were hit with a snowstorm yesterday. The winds howled and we got about 20cm of snow. I love running in the snow. But, this time? Not so much.

What did I do? I stayed in. I bailed on my piddly little 5K run. My legs have been very cranky lately and I've been sleeping poorly. I knew based on my last run that to run again in two days was pushing it. I have no motivation right now, whether it's running or everything else. The headaches, poor sleep, lack of motivation and not enjoying running are all signs of over-training. It's key that, as a runner, you listen to your body.

So, I took a break. And now I'm looking at the freshly plowed sidewalks with envy. Saturday's 10K long run can't come soon enough!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

2010 is coming up fast

I can't believe it's December already. This year has gone by so fast! It doesn't really feel like December, thanks to our unseasonably warm weather and lack of snow.

Naturally at this time of year we runners start to look back on the year and we also start setting goals for the coming year. I'll save those exercises for later posts. But I do have some good news.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a Sugoi Brand Champion. It's a program that the company developed to support elite and not-so elite athletes alike. We have a blog where we can post our race reports and share our stories. I even met two other champions at a race earlier this year, as our exclusive brand champion logo-ed gear was a dead giveaway!

Speaking of gear, one of the perks of the program is the discount on gear! I love that part because gear is so expensive, especially the nice stuff.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Sugoi stating that all curent Brand Champions were automatically renewed for the coming year! Woohoo!