Hope you’re all doing well – marathon training season has begun in earnest for many of us with spring races looming on the horizon. Expect a lot of talk about that over the next 4 months. Until I get some news-worthy runs in here’s some of the random crap that’s been floating around in my head lately. Nothing conveys random like a list:
1. Snow. It has finally started snowing in Vancouver, BC. Yes, it’s January. Yes, we’re “up North.” But you need to understand that I live in the little pocket of Canada that doesn’t usually experience legitimate winters. There’s an ad on tv right now that has all sorts of “true Canadians love the cold” sentiments and I just can’t identify. Yes, I’ll wash my laundry in cold water, but if I can stay inside with a book instead proving my worth by walking outside without a jacket I’ll take it!
2. Sunday Run. Speaking of snow – I had to run in it on Sunday. Thankfully it wasn’t actually snowing, but it was freaking cold (again, bear in mind it was cold for here). I think it was about -5C/23F when we started. The bonus to the clear skies was that the sun popped out at the end to warm me up a bit. The problem with Vancouver snow is that it turns to slush fairly quickly. It was warmish on Saturday so the snow got quite lumpy. Which would have been fine had it not frozen over night. I had to constantly check my footing on my run so I wouldn’t slip and injure myself. The roads were fairly clear so I ran on them when I could, but wasn’t 100% comfortable running in the middle of the right hand lane. Between the potential threats of slipping, turning an ankle, and getting hit by a car (always remember that you can react faster than they can when it’s icy!) concentration was the key!
3. Jillian Michaels/Yoga/Spin/Indoor Running. Look! 4 bandwagons that I’m (probably hopefully) going to jump on. My run on Sunday made me realize one thing. I am weak. I’ve proven that I’m
stubborn mentally strong. However, my legs are only good at moving forward. My stability muscles are pretty darned weak. My legs just ache from working to keep my footing. It was like being on a balance board, but more dangerous. Obvious targets will be glutes and hips as they’ve given me issues in the past. But I need to work on overall cross-training too.
My plan is to do one of the Jillian Michaels workouts at least once a week. I think I’ll be starting with 30 Day Shred, but picked a couple of other ones too. Let me know if you have your favourites – keep in mind that I can’t do anything “jumpy” like pylo since we’re on the 2nd floor and my neighbours wouldn’t appreciate it. For yoga I went with Rodney Yee’s Yoga Conditioning For Athletes. It had decent reviews and I think I can convince Colin to do it with me. He balked at me getting the one titled “Essential Yoga For Inflexible People.” I’d probably do this one on Mondays so I can stretch out after my Sunday long run.
Spin. Ah, spin. I’ve heard nothing but favourable things, but have yet to try it out myself. I’m so intimidated by it! Probably because I haven’t been on a bike (of any sort) in over 15 years. I know I can’t fall over, but I hate being at the low end of the “suitable for all levels” description. Yet here I am seriously considering it because a local studio – that some of my running friends go to – is having a deal. 60% off an unlimited month, which is so good that I’d want to buy it even if I wasn’t interested in trying it out! Their Thursday 7pm spin/yoga class would fit in really well with my schedule. I still have a day to buy it so I need to stop waffling.
Lastly, there’s an indoor track that’s close by that I want to use to get in a 4th or 5th run per week. I’m terrible at going out with Spud. I’m terrible going out in inclement weather. I don’t run on my own at night in the dark. I know that I need to step up and get in as many additional runs as possible so this would be a nice option to have. The bonus, for me anyways, is that it’s not a treadmill run. I’m not sure how long the track is so I might end up feeling like a hamster, but I’ll just have to keep telling myself that it’s only 8km steady and it’s a run I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise.
4. Expanding Dinosaurs. Santa brought Spud some dinosaurs in his stocking that grow when placed in water. It took a couple of days, but it did get quite a bit bigger. It’s grossly slimy. And starting to shrink. Which is getting funnier by the day since it’s ridiculously disproportionate.
7. Cat Came Back. Spud has fallen in love with this Canadian National Film Board classic. If that song doesn’t get stuck in your head I don’t know what will. Please don’t curse my name if you find yourself humming it during a run.
8. Angel Food Cake. I made one. From scratch. Not only because I have a ton of eggs to use up, but because Colin bought me this for Christmas. Love. It.
Lack of imagination, creativity and concentration gets you bullet points
once again. Here are the random thoughts that need to escape from my brain:
Ø Less than 2 weeks until Hood to Coast! Lots to talk about tomorrow for my Team Nuun Tuesday post, but it’s insane how fast the time’s gone by.
Ø I did my first downhill run on Friday. Originally I was supposed to run a route with a friend that would have been pretty much identical to HTC, but the timing just didn’t work out and we didn’t want to be running it as it was getting dark. Between traffic, no sidewalks, and possible animal encounters it was probably for the best. Instead I did a solo run that, in part, saw me do 5km/3.1mi with a 1000ft elevation loss which is about half of what I’m expecting. I tried really hard to focus on technique and think I did fairly well. That said, however, I’m still feeling it now. The hunt for appropriate ice packs is on!
Ø Colin went out for his usual long run yesterday and remembered something cool about his bear-encounter a couple of weeks prior. There’s a section that he had to run through where the bears’ route went from tall grass, into a ditch, across the road, and then into the blueberry fields. When he was running he was actually going through the wet bear footprints! When I said that’s why we need a little camera to run with he mentioned (wisely) that the last thing he would be doing would be stopping there!
Ø I’ve discovered that waiting for something in the mail is like the old idiom “a watched pot never boils.” I’m quite certain that what we’re waiting for will arrive when I go out which, of course, means that I can’t pick it up until after 1pm the next day. It’s driving us nuts!
Ø We’re signing Spud up for playschool this fall! That means that I’ll get 2 days a week where I can do whatever I please for 2-1/2 hours. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be the mum that shows up before and after class in her running attire and will have to endure strange looks from other parents. Maybe I’ll have to make sure that I run at the start and have time to shower before pick up. I don’t want to be the smelly mum…
Ø Colin and Spud went to the local airshow this past weekend while I was at work. It’s a family tradition to spend a long, hot day around noisy airplanes and this year’s show didn’t fail. Not only were there the requisite planes in the air and on display, but there were also booths set up by local companies and law enforcement. Here’s the reason that prisoners should always be handcuffed:
- When deciding to do a race pace run of any distance make sure that you:
- Do not stay in the car for 5 hours prior to your run. That was the time it took us to get from our house to my in-laws place. We did stretch our legs quite a few times – we have a potty-training preschooler after all – but there was a fair amount of sitting.
- Do not forget that you are gaining altitude. We gained about 1300ft and didn’t give ourselves time to acclimate. We remembered our run last summer as being so much more enjoyable. Probably because we ran a couple days after arriving. Friday we were both sucking wind within the first 10 minutes.
- Do not run on a fairly full stomach. We ran about 3 hours after lunch, but it didn’t help. I can’t regret the two open faced tuna melts (they were fabulous!). I can only regret the feelings of nausea they caused for much of my run.
- Do not run in the afternoon. My head said, “Oh, 15C, that’s not too hot. It’s nice and sunny, too.” My body said, “You just ran away from all the wind and shade. You’re over-dressed with those tights, but thanks for the t-shirt. At least you brought water. And, yeah, 15C is hot when you’ve made me run in RAIN for the last 4 months!”
- Other tips when out on a run:
- Do not pick up out of place produce. Sure we were visiting the fruit stand capital of Canada. However, nothing is in season and oranges don’t grow there. So we left the suspiciously shiny navel orange on the side of the road.
- Do not let dogs that are following you see your fear. Colin was certain that the hound dog that followed us (he sauntered along so I can’t exactly call it chasing) was just lonely. I’m sure that I saw teeth when I turned back to look at him. Between feeling queasy and not wanting to run away even if I could that dog took the opportunity to stay with us for about a kilometre. Fun times. Eventually I told him to go away, that we weren’t “his” and that we weren’t coming back that way.
- Do not follow your husband when he wants to back track a few feet to see what’s on the side of the road. I still don’t think we determined what it was. It was a carcass of sorts, but if it was roadkill or a dump site we’re not sure.
- Do know where you are going. We had a vague idea (it’s very hard to get lost there), but knowing which streets led out to the highway would have been reassuring.
- Do know where accessible bathrooms are. Hotter than expected weather meant more fluids consumed. Not good for this girl with an admittedly tiny bladder. The problem with out of season fruit is that there is no tree cover (and I’d feel bad about relieving myself on someone’s apple tree). We passed by some outhouses, but it was the port-o-potty rental place so they weren’t available to use. Thankfully the corner store we ran by was actually open on the stat holiday. I think it was actually his house attached to the store, but he was nice enough to let me use it.
- Do not accidentally shut off your watch/gps and then have your running partner pace you. When you run different paces it sucks to have to ask how fast you’re going and if you can please slow down…
- Do force yourself to rehydrate at the end. I didn’t really want that G2 (kind of thought it wouldn’t stay down), but felt so much better for it afterwards.
Me: Can you please put it away?
Is it Monday already? What’s been happening here lately?
- My last run was hills on Wednesday. It was actually a really good run. Continual repeats (run 1 minute/walk 2 minutes) for 4km. The schedule called for 8 repeats, but with the intervals I did 12. Perfect night and I was appropriately dressed for once.
- Thursday: stomach flu hit at 2am and I was pretty much useless for the next few days. I don’t remember the last time I was this sick. The last time I spent 24 hours in bed was when I was in high school and came home from a week long missions trip to Mexico, but that was from jet lag.
- Lost somewhere between 5 and 8 lbs. I do not recommend this diet… way too gross! I did learn that all my “trouble spots” are just excess water though. I’m not naïve enough to think that I’ll keep it off. Don’t really want to either.
- I have the best husband EVER! Not only did he come home a little early on Thursday (or was it Friday?), but he brought me tulips too.
- Missed my 29km long run on Sunday. I probably could have made it out, but, with the time change, rain, and being partly dehydrated, I figured it would just be a soul-sucking run so I stayed in bed.
- Went out to buy groceries yesterday. Since I still haven’t completely gotten my appetite back I felt like fainting once we got to the end of the second store (the Costco samples weren’t enough). Nothing like salty potato chips and Arizona fruit punch for a little pick me up.
- I still have the best husband EVER! Once we got home I begged off and had a nap. I woke up 2 hours later to the smell of fresh-baked ginger molasses cookies and dinner was on the table.
- Volunteering is fun! I got to do bag check for a local half marathon. When I got there at 6:30am there were already a couple of bags. Apparently, one woman checked her bag and then asked where the start line was… the race started at 8:30. Not sure why she wanted to stand in the cold and dark for two hours. It was fairly steady from 7-7:30 and then all hell broke loose. Eventually we were all just standing in a huge pile of unsorted bags. It took us an hour to get them all placed in ordered rows.
- I got to see some friends before they ran their race. I didn’t get to talk for too long, but it was nice to be able to say good luck.
- The winner set a new course record of 1:04:39. FOR A HALF!!! They could have run the course twice and still come in faster than my PR.
- I got a few little things as a thank-you for my time: free burger and fries (at White Spot if you’re local), sample pack of coffee – that’ll go to Colin, and a scarf with the race logo/sponsor. At least they were small as I had to stuff them in my bag and run them home. The scarf wedged in with my water bladder actually made it sit perfectly on my back so there was no movement!
- My run was great! It turned out to be 24km instead of 23 (+1 since I didn’t want to walk the last km to my parents’ house). I was slightly intimidated by the uphill-the-whole-way aspect, but it wasn’t as bad as it looked. Thankfully I was really familiar with the route so I could just run on auto-pilot and not think about too much. I only had to be present enough to shoulder check at every street crossing. Amazingly I didn’t come across any idiot drivers.
- I love to listen to the radio when I run. The ads are a little annoying, but I don’t have to put any effort into selecting my music. Our local rock station, CFOX, has a 90s brunch on Sundays from 8am – 12pm so I was pretty much set. I’m a sucker for the music I listened to in high school…
- I completed my run in 2:52:33, which was an average of 7:11/km. That’s including a 1 minute walk break every 20 minutes as well as many waits at traffic lights.
- One GU (since I didn’t have time to buy more) plus dates is not enough for a 3 hour run. I knew this going out, but a second GU would have been super! On that note, Mandarin Orange is okay. Not great, in my opinion, but it got the job done. And it’s infinitely better than Jet Blackberry. I think I’ll stick with chocolate and coffee flavours.
- I got drenched about half way through my run. Typical Vancouver. The people with umbrellas or safe in their cars were looking at me like I was crazy.
- I will never skip out on a week of core/strength/stretch again. By 22km my hips were killing me (shades of the marathon). I was so lazy last week, but couldn’t bring myself to do my workouts. Obviously that was stupid. I will make a better effort from now on.
- I usually hate V8, but my mum had some in the fridge and I was dying at the end of my run so I had one. Tasted like cold tomato soup, but had something like almost 500mg of sodium and potassium so my body was happy after I drank it.
- Work sucked on Sunday after my run, but I figured on that before I even got there. I’m just happy that I wasn’t scheduled til 1am like everyone else.