Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Half Marathon Training Plan!

Alright, here goes!

I've decided it's a perfect time to commit to a half marathon training plan.  I am finally running 5km or so without pain during or after (other than the usual aches that I am able to run through) and my first half marathon is about three months away (in fact, the race is three months from yesterday!)

I knew the smart approach was to make a plan, instead of panicking about how I am going to get from where I am to kicking some Disney Princess butt.  (Can I even say Disney and butt in the same sentence?)  I remembered that Betsy is running her first half marathon this coming weekend (Go, Betsy!) and I knew she was using a 12-week plan, so I checked out her page to find out what she used.  From there I found the Hal Higdon training plans.  Checking out his plans, I decided to use the Hal Higdon Novice 2 plan.

I have modified it slightly to add a week on the end with just a bit of running, partly as a taper and partly due to the fact that we will probably be travelling the weekend before the half marathon so I won't be up for a 20 km run!  I've also modified the long run schedule a bit to fit my plans.

You'll also notice two notes - "SS" and "VRR" - this are two races to keep me going.  The "SS" is our local Santa Shuffle 5k (which I hope I will be able to do despite the craziness at work) and the "VRR" is Amanda's Run to the Finish Virtual Resolution Run.  Check out her blog for info on how to join!

So here we go.... I'm posting my training schedule here and will be posting it on my fridge too.  (As usual, click through to see it full sized.) It's time to "say it, do it!" for this half marathon!

(To prevent further confusion: This is in kilometres. I am not that hardcore.)

I haven't decided what my cross-training will be.  It might be swimming or cycling, depending on what I can find that is convenient and close by.

I'll be sure to keep you posted!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Everyone Loves Saturday

Last night I realized a whole week had passed since my last post.  I thought it must have been even longer though, since all the days are blurring together right now.  It is crazy at work and I've been at the office every day lately.  So everyone loves Saturday, and I love it right now because the office is quiet and I can wear my comfy clothes and get stuff done.

I don't have time or even the content for a full update right now, so you get the following random bits of info to keep you coming back for more...

- I sent my Christmas ornament for the Dolce Vita Ornament Swap and my buddy told me she sent me hers.  I am paranoid right now that it will arrive broken or she will hate it.  I haven't bought anything for my recipient for Serendipity's exchange but I'm a little less worried about sending that quickly since my buddy is in Canada so shipping will be faster.

- I've been listening to CBC all day at the office.  The news keeps covering the Mars Rover which everyone seems pretty pumped about.  I should really pay more attention to this kind of thing.

- While at the office today, we got a delivery from an office supply company.  I was super surprised that they deliver on a Saturday, especially given their last attempt was apparently yesterday afternoon after our office closed for the weekend and he would have seen the sign that had our office hours on it.  Oh well.

- Yesterday was a miserable day at work, with all sorts of things being thrown at me that were keeping me from doing what I really needed to do.  The correct answer to "I had a bad day" would have been "go for a run" but I went with the second best answer "go spend too much money at Lululemon".  A couple hundred dollars later, I feel much better and I'm super comfy here in my office today.  I was pretty unimpressed with the service though - two handsome/cute boy employees engaged me, but the young female employees all looked like they belonged at American Apparel instead of Lululemon and seemed much more interested in helping their friends and other young, cute females who looked like they belonged at American Apparel as opposed to the likes of me.  Anyone else experience this?

- And also on Lululemon, I love the products I buy and I'm glad they still make the standards, but I'm noticing more and more crazy products on their shelves and site.  It's becoming less efficient, well designed exercise wear and more spandex that you're supposed to wear during the day and exercise clothes with ruffles.  Unimpressed.

- My half marathon is in three months.  Scary.  Today I'm determined to go for a run that is longer than 5k and to start increasing my distance slowly.  Every time I talk to my mom she seems to suggest this is the worst idea ever, which is not helping.  I know she is looking out for me but I really need her and my sister to say "you can do it!" instead of "are you sure?"  Such is life.

- It snowed for the first time this week and reminded me that winter running is probably going to suck and I'm wondering if a February half marathon is a bad idea for the timing of training alone.  But for now it's back up in the double digits (celsius) so I will run in my cropped pants and enjoy it while I can.

- The American is being awesome during this crazy time at work, really taking care of things at home which makes me super happy.  It makes me feel bad that I didn't get my act together for American Thanksgiving this year (I usually try and do something for him).  I am going to owe him big time when work finally calms down.

- Lastly, I received and ate all my Larabars for my review and they were DELICIOUS.  The coconut flavour especially was surprisingly awesome.  Stay tuned for my review and giveaway.  (See, now you HAVE to come back.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A busy weekend...

This weekend The American is out of town visiting friends while I stay behind to get a pile of work done.   I'm drinking my coffee right now in my panamas, putting off getting ready to head out the door to the office and trying to decide what sort of running gear to pack for my afternoon run.  With sunlight for about 10 hours every day, it's important to get my runs in while I can because I really dislike running in the dark alone!

I will probably spend most of today and tomorrow in my office, desperately trying to tick all the things off my to do list while I still have the chance.  Some of it I'm looking forward to, other things I really wish I could somehow assign to someone else.  But the beauty of being self-employed is that there is no one else for me to assign it to.  So I'll head in soon in my comfy pants, turn up my music and start getting through the pile.

In the meantime, I have running on the brain because Amy at Pumpkin to Princess reminded us all yesterday that there are only 100 days left to the Disney Princess Half Marathon!  And that was as of yesterday!  I only have 99 days left to go from 5km regular runs to being able to complete 21.1km.  I'm begin to wonder how I thought this was a good idea.  Stay tuned for a panic-filled post about my plans for the next 99 days.  I got 99 days...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ten Things

This is mostly for whomever has my name for the Bloggy Secret Santa Project at Serendipity's Guide to Saving, but I thought I would share it with all of you as a way to get to know me a little better.  Here goes with ten random things about me that might help my lovely Secret Santa pick out a little Christmas surprise for me...

1. I'm a runner.  (Okay, that's too obvious.  They can figure that out from the blog.)

1. I love penguins.

2. After The American, the loves of my life are my half-Siamese, half-whiny-baby cat, Suki, and my Tassimo machine.

3. I am currently training to run my first ever half marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon, in February 2012 with my older sister.

4. My favourite colour is lime green.

5. My favourite season is fall.

6. I never leave home without a Burt's Bees Beeswax Lipbalm in my pocket (unless I know there is one in my desk drawer at work).

7. I am really bad with plants.  Super bad.  I have been known to kill plants by being in the same room with them.  The exception are umbrella trees and some crazy vine like thing from Ikea.  (Did anyone else watch Under the Umbrella Tree?  I loved that show!)

8. I live in Ottawa, Canada, the home of the world's longest largest skating rink.  This means that I have tough it through winter and I have accumulated enough winter gear to outfit most house guests.

9. I generally don't wear any gold, just silver.

10. I have a serious post-it note addiction.  I love post-it notes and post-it note products.

And a bonus because I initially had the worst point 1 ever:

11. I'm not really a fan of most scented stuff and candles, except things (and candles) that smell like vanilla birthday cake.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hydration Options

When I first started running, I was on a treadmill and always had a water bottle handy.  When I started running outside, I didn't bring any water with me at all.  I would hope for a water fountain or just be thirsty.

This summer, my sister got me a Fuel Belt that looks like this:

It's the "Revenge Series" in "Juicy O'Riley"

Having water and/or sports drinks (formerly Gatorade and now nuun) with me has made a big difference, especially when I started running more than 5km at a time.  The bottles hold just under 250mL each and the little pouch is handy for my keys, emergency money and/or bus tickets and other little items.  I typically fill one with water and one with nuun.

I have started to drink less on my runs because it is cold, but I know I need to be drinking just as much as I did before, if not more once I start upping my mileage again.  I wear my Fuel Belt on every run no matter what, just in case.

I really like the Fuel Belt for its convenience, but I find the bottles can be hard to grab and drink from.  The tiny pocket is great but too small once I want to start carrying nutrition.  The liquid capacity is low as well.  I can buy extra bottles but I don't think I want more than the two that are on there already.  And on two completely cosmetic notes, it's not that attractive on and it's making my running shirts pill where it rubs.

I have started to consider getting a handheld bottle, like this one from Nathan Sports that I saw on Eat, Run, Repeat today:

"Quickdraw Plus"

I think both the bottle and the pocket will hold a little more, and it will be more convenient than the little bottles on my back.  I won't be able to have a mix of water and sports drink, but that is less of an issue now that I have discovered nuun because I like it way more than Gatorade.

I think this one from Nathan Sports would work for me, because it promises to keep my liquid cool and my hands warm, which will be handy in the winter (though maybe not very practical in the summer given my propensity towards hot and sweaty hands):

"Thermal Quickdraw"

This is the part where you come in.  I'm looking for tips and recommendations about handhelds to help me make the decision.

Do you use a Fuel Belt or a handheld?  Why one over the other?  If it's a handheld, what are the pros/cons and your favourite brand/product?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sparkly Soul Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Sparkly Soul headband giveaway is Alli!

Alli - please e-mail me to claim your prize!

Alli won by "liking" Sparkly Soul on Facebook.  Alli said she's going to give her headbands to her sister, but we won't hold her to that one (or tell her that she's re-gifting).  :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Christmas Exchanges

I thought I should follow up with my post about a running swap!

I have joined a couple exchanges - the Bloggy Secret Santa Project at Serendipity's Guide to Savings (sorry I forgot to update you before the cut off date for that one!) and the Holiday Card Exchange at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls (still time to sign up for that one!!)

If people are still interested I would be willing to set up an exchange as well, but I think there might be enough opportunities out there already.  Comment below if you would like me to see something up.

And speaking of all things sparkly, don't miss your chance to win a pair of sparkly headbands from Sparkly Soul!  Contest closes on Friday at 12:01 a.m.  Details are available here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Time

Since the 10k, I have been going to the chiropractor regularly but I haven't been running nearly as much.  I've been afraid to run too much, afraid to hurt myself, and afraid of not running ENOUGH.  I'm cleared to run up to 5k, but instead of running 5k a few times a week I've been running once and maybe twice.

I have no training schedule right now because I want to make a half marathon schedule that looks like all the ones I find on the internet - 16 weeks, 18 weeks, 20 weeks - starting long runs right now and not when my chiropractor (and my body) say that I can.  Because I can't have THAT training schedule, I've settled for NO training schedule.  That's hardly the way to train for my first half marathon.

It's hardly time to start hill training (I'm definitely not cleared for that!) but a slow run and a steady, easy run added to my current tempo run with my running group is something I think I can handle.

I also haven't been taking care of myself nearly well enough.  I've definitely been icing like crazy but I've only been stretching occasionally.  My chiropractor suggested I get a foam roller and after putting it off for a couple days I bought one tonight and tried out some IT band stretches.  OUCH.

On top of the injuries and my fear, there is a lingering worry that the Princess Half Marathon won't happen for my sister and I this year.  Our plans hinge partly on our parents making their annual trip to Florida, where they rent a house for several weeks in the winter, making our accommodations practically free.  Dad had a health scare last week that we worried might cause the trip not to happen due to trouble getting travel insurance.  He's out of the woods now (thank God), but the trip isn't 100% on yet.

All this put together, I'm hesitant to full commit to training.  But tonight I made a decision - I'm going to stretch as much as possible, do yoga, foam roll like a champ (and subsequently develop killer upper arm strength because apparently foam rolling is hard work) and make a training schedule, even if that means three 5k runs a week for the next six weeks and a slightly sudden but not impossible increase from 10k to 21k before the half marathon.

It's time.  It's time to stop being scared.  It's time to start taking care of myself.  It's time to start really training for this half marathon.  It's time to realize that even though I can't run as much as the schedules from the internet say, I can run and I need to run.  It's time.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Sparkly Soul Headbands (closed)

I recently won two Sparkly Soul headbands in a giveaway hosted by Christy at My Dirt Road Anthem.  I wanted to share the love with you so I asked to host a giveaway of my own and they agreed!

I picked a thick black headband and a thin pink headband for my prizes.  Sparkly Soul generously provided me two additional headbands, both in silver, to review.

Sparkly Soul Headbands are non-slip, elastic headbands that are sparkly ALL THE WAY AROUND.  They remind me of my synchronized swimming days.  They give your run (or other activity) a little bit of sparkle and fun - which is becoming more and more important to me now that winter is here!

Can you say Christmas party accessory?

(Why yes, I am wearing my latest race t-shirt.)

Their website states that the "patent pending design makes certain that your headbands stay in place - no matter how intense your sports or fitness activity."  I wore my thick headband to work two days in a row and it stayed in place all day long.  I wore my thin pink headband out for a run on Tuesday night, and it stayed in place too!  Bonus points - even though the run was terrible, I was happy at the end when I remembered I was wearing my lovely pink and sparkly headband.

Disclaimer: I wasn't quite THIS happy.
But still - much happier due to the sparkle!

Some headbands promise to be non-slip, but they have a little bit of elastic at the back where it isn't non-slip.  I know a lot of previous reviews have pointed this out already, but I think it's a key selling feature and deserves to be mentioned again.  These headbands have the same non-slip lining all the way around:

On the silver band, the lining is silver/grey.

This is especially important for me because the back of my head is where most of my loose hairs are (can I get a holler from everyone else who is growing out their hair and trying to make ponytails?!)  I have no idea how they do it, even now that I have my headbands.  They're sparkly, non-slip, stretchy and adorable from end to end to end.

A couple bobby pins for good measure and I'm set!

On top of all that, they weren't too tight or too loose, didn't give me a "headband headache" (you know what I'm talking about) and didn't itch.

The fabric itself is sparkly, as opposed to something that has glitter on it that might come off, and it's not made of sequins that might look a little too much like what I wore when I was a synchronized swimmer.  It almost has the texture of velcro and it just shines.  It's hard to describe but trust me they look great.  (I'm not a star photographer - sorry.)

Check out that sparkle!

They also come in ten fantastic, sparkly colours:

Black, Blue, Gold, Green, Orange, Pink... oh my!

Sparkly Soul has agreed to provide two headbands (one thick, one thin) to the winner of this giveaway.  Want a chance to rock your own sparkle?  Enter this giveaway now!  What are you waiting for?  :-)

How to enter:

1. Comment on this post with your answer to this question - Where will you wear your Sparkly Soul headbands?  This entry is mandatory.  (1 entry)

2. Like Sparkly Soul on Facebook. (+1 entry)

3. Follow this blog through Google Friend Connect (use the "Join this site" button in the right sidebar) (+1 entry)

4. Tweet the message "Check out @JennieRunning for a chance to wine a @SparklySoulInc headband!" (Please use the "Tweet" link in the Rafflecopter and it will include a link to this post.) (+1 entry)

I am using Rafflecopter 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 November 11, 2011.  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.

Disclaimer: I received two headbands at no cost from Sparkly Soul to review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own; I was not compensated to give any certain opinion or provide any particular information.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Running Swap?

I remember reading a post in my Reader a few weeks ago about someone doing a running blogger Canada-only Christmas swap/gift exchange.  Now I can't find it anywhere!

I have recently signed up for the Ornament Swap on Dolce Vita and it reminded me of the running swap I had read about.

Does anyone know of anyone organizing a running blog gift swap for Christmas?  If not, would folks be interested if I organized one?  Thought I would put the idea out there!  Let me know!