Thursday, August 26, 2010

Digital Distractions

Back in June I posted about how I'd started running without my iPod. Just to recap, I used to be a devoted iPod listener when running. The only time I ran without it was at races because of the sheer number of people. Otherwise, it was an essential part of my running gear. I felt like the bionic woman as I strapped on my iPod, Garmin, RoadID bracelet, phone... the list just kept on getting longer!

But not anymore.

Interestingly enough, there's an article in today's Globe and Mail about the dangers of being too plugged in. The study's authors say that using digital devices to distract or entertain yourself during every waking moment may lead to brain fatigue and impair the brain's ability to process and store memories. I particularly liked this quote:

But all things being equal, Prof. Ratey said, he would prefer to see people do their workouts away from their devices: “There is more bang for your buck doing it outside, for your mood and working memory.”

I agree with this 100%. Most people think they'll hate exercising if they don't have something to help pass the time. I used to be the same way. Just try going iPod/Blackberry/mp3-free for a week while exercising and see how you feel after. Who knows, you might not go back!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The surprise run

On Tuesday morning I woke up early. An hour and a half early. Ugh. I didn't mean to, but I did. Needless to say, my sleep pattern is all screwed up right now. Anyhow, I figured that since I was already up that I might as well go for a run. It was actually nice out, as opposed to the three previous days of monsoon-like rain. I quietly gathered my gear without disturbing the sleeping husband, got dressed, and headed out the door.

I'd actually scrapped my run the night before as my husband had just returned from a 5-day bachelor party in Las Vegas. I wanted to spend the time with him. I missed him while he was gone! I had planned to run on Monday morning, but couldn't convince myself to go out in the pouring rain.

The run I had scrapped was a 5K recovery run. I have a habit of running these too hard, of going overboard and generally not listening to my cranky muscles and tendons. So I figured Tuesday morning was a good time to run that recovery run and actually mean it.

That run was a great run. I was in the zone, happy as a clam, had zero pain or crankiness, and actually followed my prescribed 7 min/km pace. I still get the warm fuzzies thinking about that run!

There were several small victories on this run: I didn't stop to walk at all (I never used to, but since coming back from injury, I've needed to) and the hills seemed easy (always my weak point). I felt so good at the end! It was really gratifying to realize that the training, hard work and hours that I'm putting into my running is actually starting to pay off.

It's added motivation to continue to follow my training plan and not to get sucked into doing too much too soon.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Look at this cute little guy! He was just hanging out in the middle of the path on Saturday morning. I tried to herd him back onto the grass but he didn't want to go.

I hope he didn't get smooshed by the bikes. He was TINY!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting into a routine

I've started following my 10K training plan. I adapted a Hal Higdon Plan for intermediates and cut it down a bit. Originally the plan called for 5 days of running, 1 day of cross-training and 1 day of rest. Well, I know I'm nowhere near ready to run that often.

I met the criteria for the plan, which included having been a runner for a year or two and completed a number of races, including a 10K. That sure sounds like me!

Last week I ran a total of 14K, which included a wonderful 6K run on Sunday afternoon. We had torrential rain and thunderstorms all day long. We finally had a break during the late afternoon, so I quickly threw on my gear and headed out. The paths were empty, there was little wind and it was just beautiful. The rain and storms held off long enough for me to get my run in while staying dry!

The coolest part of the run was all the neat smells along the way... weird, I know. Near our house, it smelled like wet concrete, while along the route there were all kinds of wet vegetation smells. It was really neat.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Butt Hurts!

I had my last physio session last night. She worked my butt and hips pretty good... so good that they're still sore today.

The great news—sore butt aside—is that I am now going to physio on an as-needed basis. This means that I can go see her whenever I want for the little aches and pains that build up in my back. I also have to start doing massages every 4-6 weeks.

It's so time to celebrate! It seemed like just yesterday that I was holed up on the couch in pain with no relief in sight.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Is it fall yet?

Seriously. This heat and humidity can take a hike. We've had crazy humidity again this week, culminating in some serious thunderstorms on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. As you guessed, my Tuesday run got canned.

I really can't afford to cancel too many runs, as I really need to work on getting my fitness level back up in order to start training for that 10K in early October. Right now 5Ks are still challenging. Uhoh. But at the same time, I'm actually looking forward to running some longer distances again!

And so, I barely woke up to my alarm this morning and rolled out of bed to run before the day's heat set in. I ran at 6:30 a.m. in 20C... 28C with the humidity. Blech. Thankfully there's some relief in sight for the weekend. Hooray!

Either way, the weather here - hot or cold - is better than it was down in the 'States two weeks ago. I was visiting friends in Northern Maryland and it was ridiculously hot. I was up at 6 am to run one morning and it felt like I was running in hot soup. I had to take walk breaks in order to actually get my breath back. When I got back to the cabin, my gear was sopping wet. The weather was so disgusting that I couldn't bring myself to run again two days later. It's too bad I can't find the historical weather for that run... I'd love to put it in with the run info. I bet it'd be a record for me.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

This time I mean it

Husband and I rejoined WeightWatchers last week. I know I've talked about it before, but this time I'm serious.

I've put on about 20 pounds in the last year and he's put on even more. His downfall is the bad eating habits his colleagues encourage, while my problem is snacking. I haven't gained it all in one shot, but 5 pounds here and there... Christmas, Hawaii, Easter, my trip to Baltimore two weeks ago...

I lost 3 pounds last week. Hooray! I want to get back down to my goal weight of 145 lbs. so that running will be easier. I've got a 10K to train for which should help, and I'd really like to aim for a new personal best. I also want to be able to fit into my running clothes and everyday clothes. There's a bunch of stuff I can't fit into right now, especially my camo skirts which I'm DYING to wear out on a run.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

National Capital 5K Race Report

On Saturday I ran the National Capital 5K. I ran this race last year and really enjoyed it, so I decided to run it again this year. Seems like a pretty good reason, don't you think?

This race was one of many events organized on Saturday by Somersault - a local running/triathlon event organizer. There were about 100 people or so in the 5K, but over 1,200 participating in the day's events, which ranged from the 5K to an Olympic distance Triathlon.

Saturday morning's weather was perfect! No wind, clear and about 10C when I left the house. My friend Jen and I headed down to the race together. We parked at Brookfield High School, about a 10 minute walk to the race start. We picked up our kits and I rushed back to the car to drop off our stuff, as there was no on-site bag check. I really have to make that suggestion next year, as there's no on-site parking and I ended up doing the trek to/from the car twice. Hey, at least it was a good warm-up!

The race started promptly at 8:30. A lot of runners started out too fast and this course will make you pay. Knowing that, I started further back in the pack and tried to hold my pace and avoided weaving if possible. It's pretty much all downhill on the way out and all uphill on the way back. I saw one woman pushing her kid in a running stroller... a very ambitious undertaking on that course! This year's route was adjusted slightly due to construction at the turnaround point. Organizers added in a little jut out halfway along the course. I wasn't a fan, but there wasn't much they could do.

The course itself is quite narrow, as it follows a bike path along the scenic Rideau River. A good portion of the run is through a forest. I really like the route as it's entertaining to run and I don't get bored easily.

Overall, I had a good run. I felt strong on the hills, which is what I'd trained for. I didn't improve my best time on the course, but conquering the hills was a really rewarding experience. I managed to pass quite a few people in the 2nd half of the race, including the woman with the kid in the stroller, who faded quite a bit in the second half.

I finished in 33:35, 9/12 in my AG. The 10K winner finished just ahead of me. Man he was fast.

My next race is the Fall Colours 10K. I might sign up for the Army Run 5K, but I haven't decided yet.