Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I've Been Benched

Psst... Don't forget to enter the RoadID gift certificate giveaway here!

Half marathon training just began for me yesterday and I'm already forced to rest!  Admittedly though I would rather address any issues now and rest until I'm better than be faced with something worse in a few weeks.

My ankles, shins and knees have been sore after running lately, especially after longer runs (especially when I reach 10k).  I was concerned a previous injury from when I was younger might be causing some problems, and I finally gave in and got it checked out.

I chose to go to a chiropractor for a number of reasons - I don't have a family doctor who can refer me anywhere else; I have had very good experiences with chiropractors in the past addressing various injuries; and I knew one that I trusted already from meeting her on a several networking and social occasions.  I know some people aren't into chiropractic but it has always worked for me.  I made an appointment yesterday and hobbled/drove myself over there this afternoon.

She did a complete assessment and I was very impressed.  When she described the problem to me it just seemed so obvious - my ankle's range of motion is not very good, leading to my shin and then my knee over compensating for the lack of movement.  A few quick adjustments and some Graston technique and I'm feeling better already.  I'll be seeing her a couple times a week for the next while until things are back to 100%.

The bummer of course is that until things are improving I'm not supposed to run.  The conversation went something like this:

Doc: When are you planning on running next?
Me: Tomorrow.  When you tell me I'm allowed?
Doc: Good answer.

It's a combination of resting so I get better and so we don't confuse any pain from the treatment with pain from continued running.  I never thought I would be in a position where all I want to do is get out there and run!  Who is this person I've become??  All I want to do now is get out there but I will be a good little patient and ice my knee without whining too much about being benched.

How do you deal with injuries?  Who is your go to treatment provider?  Any tips on dealing with my very antsy legs?

Monday, September 26, 2011

RoadID Review & Giveaway (closed)

Running (and cycling, and swimming, and...) safety has been on the mind of many a blogger since well known blogger Healthy Ashley was involved in a pretty brutal biking accident.  Ashley was lucky to have her cellphone with her, and responders were able to contact her husband.  For some running safety tips, check out This Runner's Trials (and this post too).

Safety has also been a big concern for me ever since I stopped running with my iPhone.  When I first started running outside, I used my iPhone as both my iPod and to track my runs on Nike+ GPS.  When my phone started getting tired, I made the switch to a Garmin + iPod shuffle.  I immediately became concerned about what would happen if someone needed to contact The American.  With my phone, they could easily find both him and my parents listed as "ICE" numbers.

Without my phone, and running along trails that are sometimes busy and sometimes quiet (and scary), I wanted to know that if something happened, responders would be able to reach someone.  I decided to order a RoadID.

I picked the Wrist ID slim because I like the clean look and comfort of the simple, silicone band.  I also like a smaller band because I have pretty small wrists.  I picked the pink band because it was pretty cute and the colour is noticeable.

The stainless steel plate is laser engraved with your choice of information.  In the case of the slim band, it can fit five lines of info.  I put my name and year of birth as they suggested, then listed two numbers for The American and two for my parents.  If you ever need to update your information, you can order a new plate and take off the old one.  It's not super easy to take off and replace the plate but you wouldn't want it to be easy for it to come off!  There is also an "interactive" option that lets you keep all your info up to date online.

It arrived a couple weeks after I ordered it (which I assume is because I'm in Canada and not a normal problem with this company).  It was in personalized packaging that had the story of the company which made me hope that the mailman and other people who handled the package gave some thought to their own safety.  Inside the band was in a stainless steel tin that I have already started using for storing small items in my running bag.

Great packaging! Bubble safe and a story too.

The box that held my band.
The plastic insert was easily removable.

I was worried when I first opened it that it wasn't going to fit.  It seemed SO TINY!  I had used the handy sizing guide on the RoadID website that suggested measuring your wrist with a dollar bill.  I was worried that it had led me astray.  But no need to worry - it fits perfectly!  I wore it on a run the other day and while I was definitely aware of it and kind of sweaty under it, I didn't mind.  It's a small price to pay for safety.  If you are concerned about the silicone band they also have many other options available (including ones that go on your ankle and your shoe).

If you would like to have a RoadID of your own, here is your chance!  RoadID has generously provided an e-card for a giveaway to my readers.  It's easy to enter and it's your chance to win a $35 e-card to purchase a RoadID of your choice.

How to enter:

1. Comment on this post with your answer to this question - what is one thing you could do that would make you safer during your run/bike/swim/activity of your choice?  For example, I could run without headphones (or maybe turn them down or purchase special headphones that allow me to be more aware of the noises around me).  This entry is mandatory.  (1 entry)

2. Follow @RoadID on Twitter. (+1 entry)

3. Like RoadID on Facebook. (+1 entry)

4. Tweet the message "Check out @JennieRunning for a chance to win a @RoadID gift card!" (+1 entry)

I am using Rafflecopter for the first time ever to run the giveaway.  The only comment you need to leave below is for the mandatory entry - you then fill out the Rafflecopter form to let me know how many entries you get for the mandatory entry and any extra entries. Only entries submitted through the Rafflecopter will count.  If you haven't used Rafflecopter before, there's a video here on how to use it.  Please note that all entries will be verified before selecting a winner.

The giveaway will be open for entries until 12:01 a.m. on October 4, 2011 so you have a whole week to enter and spread the word.  I will announce the winner here and contact him/her by e-mail if one is provided.  The winner will have one (1) week to claim their prize, at which time if I haven't heard from him/her I will pick another winner.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Race Report: Oasis Zoo Run 2011

Also known as "my first 10k race ever!" or "holy hills, batman!"

I don't know if I'm going to use this format for every race report, but it seemed to work for my Army Run report so I will use it again now.

Ready to go!
The Route

After a jaunt through the parking lot (and behind the porta-potties - ew!) we ran on a couple back roads before entering the zoo.  They were relatively flat and easy compared to what we found once we got in there!

Looking happy at the start!

Once we entered the zoo the course went up... and down... and up again... and up some more... and down again... I would definitely describe this course as "rolling hills".

All the hills and twists and turns kept me distracted through most of the race.  Running by animals such as flamingos, camels and zebras helped too!  It was as beautiful as it was challenging.

The Run

Despite the hills, I kept up my plan of running for 10 minutes and walking for 1 minute through the whole course other than just after the 5k mark where the hill just went up and up and up.  I ran up about 2/3s of it and then walked the rest.

I ran with one woman for the first 10 minutes or so and then we separated because she wanted to slow down.  The rest of the race I didn't follow any person in particular but did notice that I frequently found myself in the same group of runners.  

I felt really strong through the whole thing, with a few exceptions.  Around kilometre 8 I was wondering if I would be able to start running again after my next walking break.  I had some aches and pains in my upper leg muscles but I kept going.  My splits are according to my time intervals instead of kilometres but they still give you a good idea of my pace.

Near the end I saw my sister with her husband and my nephew as well as The American waiting on the sidelines to cheer me on.  It was an awesome moment, probably my favourite in the entire race!  They got a picture of me and I wish I had a picture of them from right then.  I will definitely bring that image to mind in future runs when I am getting tired.  I finished the run feeling strong and happy.

There were professional photographers on the course and I tried to not look like I was dying look awesome when I ran by them.  I think one of them got a picture of me with the camels in the background and I hope it turned out okay!  I will share them if there are any decent ones.

The Music

I was really nervous making my playlist for this race because I wasn't entirely sure how long I should make it.  I'm happy to say that it was actually a little too long!  I wanted to listen to "Ali in the Jungle" at the end, so I ended up skipping most of "Firework" to get to it in the last few minutes of the run.

This playlist was really perfect.  Lots of motivating lyrics and good tempos.  If you were there and saw a crazy girl in a blue shirt dancing and pumping her arms, that would have been me.

The Swag

We got an awesome race shirt that is from The North Face.  It's "vapor wick" fabric and it's super comfy and fits nicely.  I've already worn it (it didn't help that I hadn't packed very well for the trip).  It has a big Oasis juice logo on the back but it's alright.

All finishers also received beautiful medals with penguins on them.  Love it!

Our race kits also had a sample sized Clif bar (delicious), some Oasis juice (haven't tried it yet), a sample of Tiger Balm (haven't tried it yet either but my sister used to use it all the time), and the usual pile of advertisements for future races.

The Results!

I finished the race in just over 1:10, meeting my A goal of finishing in under 1:20!

Gun time: 1:27:09.2
Chip time: 1:11:48.8
Average pace: 7:11
Category place: 256/296
Gender place: 1057/1347
5k split: 35:18
10k split: 36:32

This run was also extra special because I ran with my sister.  We decided we should to a 10k race together as a warm up to our half marathon, to give us a chance to run together and to keep our training on track.  We didn't run together because she is way faster than me (she finished in just under 55 minutes) but we saw each other after the race (it was chaos before) and got to enjoy the morning in the zoo together.

Overall, it was a very well organized and enjoyable event.  The course was challenging but I finished it and am very proud of myself!  I would love to do this event again next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oasis Zoo Run 10k: Goals

I'm going to the zoo, zoo, zoo
How about you, you, you?
You can come too, too, too!
We're going to the zoo, zoo, zoo!

I remember hearing about this race when running was still just a distant nightmare for me.  It's almost here now and I'm getting a little less scared and little more excited.  Your comments on my previous post helped (and I'm sure the bottle of wine we drank with dinner tonight is helping too).

Here are my goals for this race...

C: Finish upright and smiling, no matter how long it takes me or even how I get there.

B: Maintain a decent pace and do run/walk intervals (10/1) throughout the whole 10km.

A: Finish in under 1:20.  Based on my longest training run to date, when I hit 10km at just under 1:15, I know this is possible.

A+: Finish in under 1:10.  If I have an awesome run, and maintain a pace of similar to my 5k during the running parts, I think I can do this?  This is a big dream so I'm not going to be worried if I don't hit this one.

And no matter what, I know I'm going to get a personal best because it's my first 10k ever!  (Thanks for the reminder, Stacking Pennies!)

See you at the starting line and again at the finish!

Good luck to everyone else running in the zoo run or whatever races you may find yourself in this weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Remember that time...

.... That I thought signing up for a 10k race was a good idea?

I vaguely remember that time too.  It must have happened or I wouldn't be sitting here with three sleeps to go before I line up at the starting line of the Oasis Zoo Run 10k.

What I'm running for!

I just finished making my playlist for the run (I think) and it's terrifying me!  The playlist is TWICE as long as my 5k playlists.  There is so much time to fill in and so much music to get through.  And I have no idea how things are going to go so I'm not sure exactly where to place my "power songs" along the way.  I finished a training run of 10k in about 1:10 and hope to finish in less than 1:20.  I made my ideal playlist about 1:15 and have enough buffer music to get me to almost 2:00.  Will it be enough?  I just don't know right now.

I can't lie, I'm starting to freak out a bit (as if you couldn't tell from the above).  I know I can do this.  I know I have it in me.  I know I can set goals for this race and I can meet them.  I know I will finish this race upright - even better than upright.  But right now I can't think about goals or the race because it's just plain scary!

How do you feel before you tackle a new distance or challenge?

What do you do to calm mind down and get it done?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Race Report: Army Run 2011

I have been putting off writing this post because I've just been enjoying the memories for a bit.  I didn't want to write it the same day because I didn't want it to be really "over" and then yesterday we were busy all evening.  But here it is!  My Army Run 2011 5k race report.

The Event

This event's tag line is "No Ordinary Runners, No Ordinary Race" and it's definitely true.

They had a injured soliders start about 15 minutes before the official start, which also included athletes with disabilities.  I couldn't see it from my spot in the corrals but even to know it was happening was pretty amazing.  All along the route I was passing soldiers who had lost limbs.  I wanted to stop and thank each and every one of them.  It was definitely emotional.

At the end, we were given our "dog tag" medals by soldiers as well - soldiers who were thanking US for running when really all the thanks should be going to THEM.  Also, on the same day there was an Army Run at Kandahar Air Field, and they received the same medals with "KAF" on them.

They used a howitzer as the starting gun for the half marathon but sadly only an air horn for the 5k.  I suppose 8am is a little early to be shooting cannons outside on a Sunday morning.

Me showing off my "medal" by the "starting pistol"
The atmosphere was very different from the Ottawa Race Weekend.  There were a lot more families and walkers, and people had pictures and signs pinned to them about who they were racing for.  At the same time, there were plenty of runners out to run a race.  It felt like a mix between a charity event like Run for the Cure and a regular 5k race.

On a related note, the walkers got a little aggravating.  They were supposed to start at the back but many started ahead of me.  I spent the first 2km or so dodging walkers - walking several across or holding hands.  At one point a walker had those blow up noise makers than you bang together and she was swinging them around.  The only water station was also at the 2km mark, so you just finished getting a good spot and rhythm when everyone was trying to get to the tables.  The volunteers (and band!) were pretty awesome though and kept things moving.

The finish was really crowded because there was no where to spread out.  They were supposed to have the recovery area in the park, but it was all fenced off (no idea why) and everyone had to funnel from the road onto a path that ran through the park.  The website also suggested for friends to meet their runners in the recovery area, so people were trying to get in and go out at the same time (as opposed to the Race Weekend when they only allowed runners in the recovery area).

There was also a half marathon which we went to watch for a while after the 5k was done.  It actually ran by the Canada War Museum which I thought was fitting.  It is also a really beautiful building.

The Route

As I mentioned before, the route is almost an "out and back", down one side of the canal and up the other with a little jog around the block to start with.

The jog around the block had more hills than I remembered and also messed my Garmin up a bit because of the buildings.  I had no idea what my pace was for the first bit so I just tried to keep it up and go with the music.

It's a route that I really enjoy because I'm familiar with it from a previous race and from training.  There is plenty of room for spectators and it's a nice wide road which leaves room for getting around slow runners or walkers.

The Run

I tried to start out easy and then settle into a nice pace, remembering the rule of "refrain (from going too fast), maintain (the pace), freight train (sprint to the finish)".  I was worried for a bit that I was going too slow so I picked it up a bit.  Then I followed one guy for a while because I liked his pace (around 6:45) (mad props to the guy with the blue pants and the orange jacket around his waist).  When I knew the finish was coming and "Ali in the Jungle" came on (see music info below) I picked it up and pushed to the finish.

Overall the whole race felt really good, even awesome.  I felt 100 times better than I did at my first 5k on this same course about four months ago.  I couldn't believe it.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of me during the run right now.  It's a mystery as to who the professional photographers were on the course.  And despite our best laid plans, The American never managed to see me on the course.  We haven't quite perfected how he can find me yet.  (Unlike the people on bikes I saw/heard following their friends/family during the half marathon, with maps and time estimates and calling each other on cellphones.  Impressive!)

The Music

I must say that I made myself a pretty kick ass playlist for this race.  I listened to Adele while I waited in the corral before the starting line, and hit it over to The Weakerthans as I crossed the starting line.  The race went from there until Ali in the Jungle.  I built it to be almost exactly 35 minutes, with Adele at the start (not included) and a few buffer songs at the end because (1) I didn't want to run out of music and (2) I didn't want to jinx myself.

I try and put songs near the start that get me into a good rhythm.  I also plan my halfway song very carefully so I will recognize it when I get there and it will pump me up.  I find "My Life Would Suck Without You" to be a great halfway point song.  I loved listening to "Does Your Mother Know" (from Mamma Mia) and "Party in the USA".  I may have danced.  Or sang.  Or both.

The Swag

Of course you all want to know about the swag, don't pretend you don't!

We received an awesome long sleeved New Balance tech shirt and a "dog tag" medal that actually has quite a bit of heft to it.  The shirt fits really nicely and I will definitely wear it for cooler weather runs throughout the fall and winter.  The medal has a place for an iTab and I think I will order one.  We also got a small reusable bag with an Army Run design on it.

The Results!

Now what you are really waiting for... The results!

When I crossed the line my Garmin said 34:19.  I was pretty stoked right away because I knew my previous PB was 34:29 and I had hit the start/stop buttons a little before and after the starting/finishing mats.  I could not wait to get home and find out my official chip time!

Gun time: 39:38.8
Chip time: 34:06.3 (average pace 6:49 per km) (personal best!)
574/867 in age/gender category
2310/4285 overall

Overall I am really happy that I participated in this run.  It was a really unique experience and I'm super pleased with my performance.  I only reached my B goal, but nonetheless I am happy about it.  I will definitely participate in this event again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Say It, Do It: Zoo Run Edition!

If you’re new to SIDI here’s some info: At the beginning of each week on Fit Chick in the City “Say it, Do it” is a chance for everyone to commit to their workouts for the week by saying them out loud and keeping each other accountable.

This week's Say It, Do It is all about running my first 10k this coming Saturday!  It's hard to believe the last week of my current training plan is already here.

Last week I said I would do three runs - two easy, short training runs and the Army Run.  I ended up only doing one training run and the Army Run because my first training run was a little tough and I was sore.  I wanted to rest and save my energy for the Army Run rather than pushing through another short training run.  (Did I kick butt at the Army Run?  Yes!  More details to come in my race report.)

My training plan this week calls for two training runs and then my 10k race.

I am really hoping to fit in both my training runs this week.  The first will be an easy long run and the second will just be a chance to shake my legs out before the race on Saturday.  Chances are that the second one may be less than 5km and I am okay with that.

I am committing to at the very least doing one long, easy training run and the race.  Ideally I will do both my training runs though.

This week in SIDI, Jess also reviewed a Champion workout bra and asked "What's your favourite sports bra?"  My favourite right now is my Lululemon Deep V Bra (check this site for a review), which they have stopped making.  (Sad face.)  Good thing I have two!

(Image source.)

I came across this bra by chance when a friend picked one up for me at an outlet.  I loved it so much I immediately bought another.  At the time I wasn't working out a lot (basically just using the elliptical at the campus gym a few times a week).  Now I wear them for all my runs and still love them. I don't have a particularly large chest so it works well for me.

Dear Lululemon: Please bring back the Deep V Bra!  I saw a Deep V Tank on the website today that gives me some hope... Please?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Army Run 2011: Goals

I wrote a bit about my goals for the Army Run recently, but it felt unfinished, like I hadn't thought about it enough or set solid goals.  Nicole at I've Always Been a Joiner recently shared her goals for a race in terms of A, B and C (and A+) goals.  I thought it was a great idea and wanted to do the same for the Army Run, but couldn't think of anything other than an A+ goal until today when I was struggling on my run.

I wanted to have an easy recovery run but at the same time, mentally I didn't want to fall below a certain pace.  It's like I worry if I go below a certain pace on a training run I will somehow get stuck there come race day.

My knees are feeling a bit better but they were tight and heavy feeling.  My left shin was also bothering me, and being the worst case scenario thinker I am, I thought of all the worst possible things it could be.

I ran along the canal, enjoying the sunlight and trying not to be annoyed by the sudden influx of young, fit university and high school teams on the pathway.  I maintained a fairly steady pace for the first 2km then slowed down and took some walking breaks.  As I alternated between enjoying myself and struggling, my various goals for the Army Run became much clearer.

C: Just break 35:00 under my own steam

B: Beat my previous PB with a time of less than 34:29

A: Beat my previous PB by at least one minute(ish), with a time of 33:30 or better.  Based on my last solid 5k training run, I know I have it in me to do this with the adrenaline of race day.

A+: sub-31:00

I really don't think my A+ goal is realistic unless everything about the race is perfect, but that's what an A+ is all about - reaching for the sky.  I also don't want to burn too much energy given the 10k race the next weekend.  Like Nicole, I want to run the race smart.  I want to maintain a steady pace and stay strong, but I also don't want to push myself so hard that I am not able to complete my 10k the following weekend.  I need to keep a lot of gas in my tank for the 10k, because finishing that race strong is my number one priority.

Right now the race day energy is starting to brew in the city.  The people I follow on Daily Mile from the city are talking about it, the tents are set up, the road barricades are ready and waiting.  I can't believe I never noticed this energy and anticipation in the city before I started running.  It seems so obvious to me now.  Two sleeps until I can pick up my race kit, and four long sleeps until race day!  See you at the starting line!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Say It, Do It: Army Run Edition!

This training week is the week of the Army Run (since I count my training weeks as Monday-Sunday).  I'm so excited about running another 5k here in my city!

Last week I said I would do four runs - three easy 5k runs and one long run with seven 10:1 intervals.  Did I do it?  I did!!

My long run even hit 10km before my cooldown, which is pretty awesome in my books.  That takes a lot of the pressure off me for the next two weeks, because I'm no longer concerned about hitting 10km during a training run prior to my race.  (Yes, I know adrenaline would take me there if I hadn't been there before, but I'm afraid the mental block of passing the kilometre marker that I had never passed before would get to me first like it almost did at my first 5k.)

For more info on my runs, check out my Dailymile page.

This week my training schedule calls for three runs, which includes the Army Run.  I had optimistically planned to do one long run between my two easy runs.

This plan seemed much less crazy when I planned to do this past week's long run on Friday.  Due to weather, my long run got bumped to today.  While I'm very glad I made that decision as today's run was pretty awesome, I now face the prospect of doing another 10km four days from now, followed by a 5k race three days later.  It doesn't take a running genius to figure out that maybe that is not the best plan.  Even if I had done my long run on Friday this probably would have been a poor plan.

I am instead going to commit to three runs total, including the race, so I won't hurt myself.  Both my runs this week will be relatively easy, with the latter run probably being closer to 3-4 km rather than 5km, working towards kicking some butt on Sunday at the Army Run.

(If you’re new to SIDI here’s some info: At the beginning of each week on Fit Chick in the City, “Say it, Do it” is a chance for us to commit to our workouts for the week by saying them out loud here and keeping each other accountable.)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Countdown to the Army Run!

In 10 days, I will be running my third 5k race (and my third race ever).

This race is only six days before my first 10k race.  But nonetheless, I really wanted to do it.  The reason is because last summer I swore up and down that I would get off my butt and start running, and I picked the Army Run 5k as my goal race.  I never did get around to running last summer and so I never got to that goal race.  I couldn't miss it again.

Beyond that is the meaning behind the race.  While I do not have any friends or relatives who are fighting in the many wars around the world, my grandparents all played a role in one or both of World Wars.  This race is about something bigger than all of us.

I'm pretty excited as well because it's the exact same route as I ran in my first 5k race in May this year, which I'm familiar with from that race as well as my training.  It's a beautiful route that goes in front of the Parliament buildings and up and down the canal.  It's almost just an out-and-back, with a bit of variation.

Army Run Route
I'm looking forward to the chance to run the same route and improve on my time from the first time I did this route.  I have a feeling that the Army Run, with its autumn weather and its sentimental value, will become a bookmark for me in every racing season.

This race also has some unique features that I'm excited to experience - a race expo at the armoury, a cannon fire "shotgun", dog tag medals and camo print long sleeve tech shirts.  Everything I've heard about this race is making me really look forward to the experience.

Camo print race shirt!
Then there are my memories of Ottawa Race Weekend - the packed starting corrals, the excitement, the lined streets, the feeling of running with thousands of people - that are making me look forward to this huge event even more.

My goals for this race are pretty simple - have an amazing time, run the whole race, and break the 34:00 mark.  I beat 34:00 on a recent training run so I am confident that I can do it again as long as I don't give up.  I think there are pacers in the 5k race, but the slowest pacer is 30:00.  I would really love to stay close to that pacer through the whole race but don't want to burn all my energy given the 10k race six days later.

My training for this race isn't very complicated, because really I'm focused on the 10k race.  I have been running 2-4 times per week.  Once a week I've done an interval run where I focus on increasing my distance and the other runs are 4-5km in distance, sometimes focusing on my pace and other times just enjoying myself.  This race isn't so much about performing at my peak (that comes next year) as it is about proving to myself yet again that I can do this, and I can keep improving.

Stay tuned for my race report!

(If you're interested, it's not too late to enter the half marathon!  Visit their webpage for info.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Say It, Do It: Three weeks to go!

As of today, there are 12 days until my next 5k and 18 days until my first 10k race ever.  (It seemed like a good idea at the time to sign up for two races in one week!)

As far as "doing it" last week, I only got in two runs when I said I would do four.  One was a sluggish 4km and the other was a pretty awesome 9km.  I did 10/1 run/walk breaks for both runs.

My training last week.
I've realized that I am way to quick to give in to do something else - anything else - when I should be running.  I make excuses way to readily.  I'm going to try and be better at getting out there and to hold myself accountable for my excuses and laziness.  Being lazy for a 5k or even a 10k is one thing - I really need to focus on my running if I'm going to complete a half marathon!  I have signed up for a half marathon clinic and I think that will help loads in this area.

For this week, I am committing to four runs - three 5km runs and one long run, which will be seven 10:1 intervals.

This week's schedule. Click to see it bigger!
One of these runs is already done - and it was awesome!  Hurrah!

I have re-vamped my training schedule for the next three weeks to focus on doing one long run each week, gradually increasing the number of run/walk intervals I do until I hit 10km (should be this week but at the latest next week).  I am planning to run more or less every second day until my 10km race, with some scheduled rest around both my 5k and 10k races.

This week I am going to NOT be a lazy bum and I am NOT going to make excuses.  I am going to get out there in this lovely weather and do three more runs!

In this week's Say It, Do It, Jess also asks "if you could have any job in the world, what would it be?"  For me, assuming I would be able to get steady work and steady money, I would be a professional stage manager at somewhere like the Stratford Festival.  I did a lot of volunteer work as a stage manager in university and was very involved in theatre in high school as well.  I loved it and miss it so much some days.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Fastest Run: 5k in 33:53!

Today I planned a route that was just over 5k so I would have some time for a brief walk before and after so I could be sure to fit a 5k run in.  I decided I would run the whole thing, as opposed to doing the 10/1 run/walk intervals I have been using.  I also wanted to challenge myself to finish in last than 35 minutes on my own.

I also wanted to run the canal route as it is (a) fairly flat and would give my sore ankle a break and (b) it is the route for the Army Run and I wanted to get a practice in.  I have been running more along the river which I prefer because of the views and the relative shade/breeze.

After the stop mark I stretched at the park and walked home.
The first bit of good news about this run is that my ankle felt fine.  It was a little sore when I first got going but it was fine once I warmed up and hasn't hurt at all this evening.

The second bit of good news is that I maintained a both a good and steady pace and finished 5k in less than 34 minutes!  I'm not sure what happened with those first two minutes on my Garmin - it certainly didn't feel like I went that fast and then that slow.  I maintained my pace by grabbing looks at my Garmin occasionally to ensure I was under 7 minutes per kilometre.

Just look at those splits! 

The only break I took was at the bridge at about the 4km mark.  I was starting to get a small cramp so I had planned to take a brief walk to sip some gatorade, then I turned the corner and the barricades on the bridge were going down to let a boat get through.

Pretoria bridge, Ottawa
(Image source)

It is a lift bridge, which means that whole section in the middle lifts straight up to let boats go through.  It was funny to see all the runners trapped on either side of the bridge, eager to get going.  It reminded me of this race recap at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls where a runner got stuck at a train crossing during a half marathon.  The Army Run route goes right over this bridge but the city has control over the boats so at least we won't have to wait during our race.

As I ran back north along the canal I saw a few more boats heading towards the bridge.  I hadn't ever seen the bridge go up and down before, but it looked like it was going to be a busy day for that.  I suppose all the boaters are heading back after the long weekend.  I bet the locks were busy today as well.

When I hit the 5k mark and realized I had broken 34 minutes on my own, I was pumped.  My Garmin definitely played a big role in me maintaining my pace.  At one point I was running behind two girls and was pretty comfy with my pace, and when I looked down I realized I was over 7 minutes per kilometre so I hit the gas and passed them (then left them far behind until the bridge).

I ran a little farther because I was still feeling pretty good, then decided to stop at the park to stretch as it was a beautiful day.  I used this stretch from Fit Chick in the City to work my hips a bit and they feel pretty good.

13 days until my next 5k and 19 days until my first 10k and I'm feeling pretty confident.  Stay tuned for this week's "say it, do it" to find out how I've modified my 10k plan for the next three weeks.

Bondi Band Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to all who entered the Bondi Band giveaway!

I picked a winner this morning using

I kept track of all the entries in a spreadsheet, then used to assign each entry a random number.  I put the entries in the spreadsheet as I get them, and like to "shake the hat" before I pull a name.

Then I used to give me a random number as a the winner.

The winner is...

Charlotte from Born Not to Run!

Charlotte, I will e-mail you with instructions for how to claim your prize!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Longest Run: 9k!

Yesterday I went on my longest run to date.  I did six 10/1 run/walk intervals and finished with about 8 minutes of walking for a cool down.  In just about 1 hour and 15 minutes, I covered approximately 9km!  (After my last longest run (8k) I felt really ill about an hour later so I tried to do a nice long cool down to avoid what I think was a crash.)

I ran this route clockwise.

I ran my usual route backwards, starting on the river then heading up and down the canal before heading home on the street.  (Sparks Street, to be exact, which turned out to be a poor choice given all the hoards of tourists who don't know how to walk and kept blocking the path.)  It turns out that my lovely, well planned route which is carefully mapped to go downhill a lot and uphill very little becomes a lot of uphills when done backwards.

But - it also turns out that this girl who could barely walk up the big hill by the locks at the beginning of this summer can now just about run up the whole thing!  Luckily there was a walking break immediately after I finished the hill (and okay, I might have started the walking break 45 seconds early).

Hello, hill.  (Up the right hand side.)
(Image source.)  (I will take out my camera on a run soon and document my route.  It's really beautiful and I'm sad to think of where I will run when winter snow closes the river path.)

I thought I started out fairly quick and slowed considerably by the end, but my splits look like I actually maintained a decent pace almost the entire time.  I felt great until the last 10 minute run.  At that point I did a little bit more walking before I started running and took a brief walking break somewhere in the middle.  I also ran slower during that last run.

Distances are in km and are a little off due to the
tall buildings + Garmin problem.  GMAP said total
ran was about 9.25 km but even that isn't perfect.
This run was on a Friday after a 5k race on the previous Saturday, which helped my fears of the 5k on a Sunday/10k on a Saturday that I have coming up at the end of the month.

When I got home I had some chocolate milk and The American made veggie tacos for dinner while I had a much needed shower.  I was feeling good so we headed out to my favourite place for the start of our staycation - Le Nordik in Chelsea.

Le Nordik.
They have dry and steam saunas, cold pools, temperate pools and hot tubs, and plenty of places to relax.  There is also a full restaurant.  I cycled through the sauna/cold pool/relaxation cycle a few times while The American read his book, and we ended the night with a glass of wine and a cheese plate (nom nom nom).  It's a little pricey but worth it in my opinion, and even better if you can stay for more than a couple hours.  A great way to end a long run day and work week and start a long weekend.

How was your Friday?  Big plans for the long weekend?

(P.S. Have you entered the Bondi Band giveaway yet?  You have until Sunday night to enter!)