Thursday, December 30, 2010

Treadmill.. shredmill.. #$%@&^$

So overall Calgary’s winter weather isn’t so bad comparably speaking. I mean, we like to complain on really cold days (and don’t get me wrong there have been some this season) but now with the runs getting longer and the weather getting colder, it was bound to happen… hitting the euphoria wall and having a bad running day!!

We've found that each run completed together usually ends with positive energy including congratulations to and for each other on continually showing up and putting in our best efforts. These actions can be explained the sense of accomplishment AND the euphoria you feel after a run caused by endorphins.

We have come to get used to this and wait for it, so even though at times during hills, long runs, tough runs, etc.. you can count on the fact that when you are done, you will feel better than when you started...That was before today. With the weather hovering at around -18C, the only logical option for me was to run the 7km (yeah, I know ONLY 7km) on our gym’s state of the art treadmill… still not feeling sorry for me, I get it.

I gave myself 45minutes to complete this task, set my pace accordingly and raised the incline to 2% (as per what we were told would simulate outdoor running). The run started off OK, the first couple km’s were completed with help of Julia Roberts running from her husband in “Sleeping with the Enemy”.. keeps your mind off of things for sure. The next couple kms got progressively harder with nothing on TV to keep my mind occupied enough to forget that I was running. I did make an effort to keep my mind busy trying to answer questions on “The Cash Cab”.. didn’t help as the commercials kept interrupting my make believe bliss.

By 3.5km or half way, usually I get kind of excited because I’m on the downhill now, halfway finished .. not so much today. All I could muster (in my own mind of course) was.. “Are you kidding me.. I’m only half way now!?!?” So switching between “Showbiz Tonight” and the “Cash Cab” during commercials got me to around 5km (my maximum treadmill run ever).. but still 2km to go… urghh.!!!

I should know better than to even have the km reading up on the treadmill because the last hard fought kms were the longest time spent ever on a treadmill I'm sure! I am sweating by this point (having gotten used to running outside), can’t concentrate on the TV (partly because I can’t answer the $100 questions) and have started texting Felic for encouragement (which she thankfully obliged to with return texts of support). Thank God it finally ended, I thought I was out of my misery, just waiting for those endorphins to check in and make me feel like I’d accomplished something, that I’d feel better because I finished.. NOT! Didn't happen.

So I guess another lesson learned.. treadmills for longer than 5km runs and for the most part aren't something I am inclined to do often AND make sure that when I am done that I tell my princess partners about the experience and who make sure to bring you that feeling of endorphins to you in words and praise afterwards.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mirror Mirror, on the wall....

So, it's been a rough week for training. Rough in that tonight was my first run in exactly seven days, and it sort of felt like crap. I was so tired and have eaten nothing but junk for the past week and I felt like the week off training (toboganning aside) really showed in my performance...I was tired and whiny and wanted to quit.  But, Christmas is a busy time, so I'm not going to dwell on that and just focus on getting back on track...even though I complained all the way through our 8ks of hills tonight, it sure felt good when it was over and I was proud of myself for even getting off the couch. Even when a run sucks, it's still kind of awesome.  Thanks to my Running Room peeps for the encouragement tonight!

But enough about running, how's the outfit hunt going???

Well, today I bid on and then won a Belle costume from Ebay! 

It was the low, low price of $10, plus $10 for express shipping (from Hong Kong) so for $20, I just might have my awesome running outfit. Now, it is a child's costume, and a size 7 at that, but I did some sizing up this weekend on my 8 year old niece's pretty Christmas dress (abandoned before Christmas dinner in favor of stretchy pants, that's my girl!) which was a size 4. I'm not saying it fit by any means, but I could probably shoehorn myself into it if need be without blowing out all the seams (I would look like a sausage walking upright, but that's not the point here, people. Besides, after 4 days of beer and cookies for breakfast, and averaging 5000 calories a day for most of December I wasn't exactly my leanest).

My thought is that I'll cut the back open and put some yellow elastic in it for increased running comfort and um, to just fit into it. See how pretty??

I hope the fabric absorbs sweat

I figure it will be about knee length on me since I'm not 4 feet tall, which is perfect since I plan to wear shorts under it. I might chop off the underskirt thingie so it looks more like a tutu as well, but we'll see. Plus, since I remembered I don't know how to sew , that modifying an existing dress might be a better option than trying to make one without a pattern or sewing machine.  With any luck, it will be delivered really soon and I can see what I have to work with, and also if I can actually run any distance in it without chafing to death or drowning in my own sweat.  I figure worst case is that I'm only out $20 and my niece will be set for Halloween next year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

OK, Merry Day after Christmas, but I was too busy eating turkey and mashed potatoes yesterday.  So, it's Sunday night and I should be writing about my 16K run today...or anytime in the past 3 days. But, I'll be honest, I didn't do it...yet.  I haven't given up, I'm hoping I can squeeze it in the next 2 or 3 days, but there just wasn't a chance to do it over Christmas weekend.  I was out in the mountains in BC, and I did bring out my cold running gear, but I didn't see anywhere I could do it. The last few times I've been out there, I was dropped off in Golden and started running back on the highway, which worked just fine in the fall, but the plows hadn't left much of a shoulder and the roads were pretty icy, so I just didn't think it was safe.

Now, please don't think I was being totally lazy. Yes, I spent most of the last 3 days sitting around in pajamas eating cookies and drinking beer (and that was just breakfast), but I did get a LOT of winter sports in too.  My dad had set up a ramp in the driveway that made for some killer tobogganing.  I spent at least 2 hours a day zipping headfirst down the driveway on my belly and I ran back up as many times as I could. Sometimes I was hauling 40lbs back up the hill, and sometimes 80lbs depending on how tired my niece and nephew were getting.  My legs are KILLING me today.  Who knew cross training could be so fun?  I also went snowshoeing and cross country skiing while I was there, the cabin was a great place for both cross training AND carb loading!  Thanks Genny and Kappy!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ladies, start your engines…

Yes, I've used this before, but he's just so darn cute!
Big news! We finally got around to setting up our trip! We all had our vacation days approved last week, so we thought we really ought to get started. Since Christi started a new role, we were all able to take an extra few days off, so our original plan of "fly in on redeye, run, fly home next day" will now be a couple of days where we can hit the Magic Kingdom, the Outlet Malls and of course, our beloved Target. HURRAY!

Our rental car is booked, we found an amazingly low deal plus were able to get a car that seats "5 adults and 4 large suitcases" so our shopping will have a home. Plus, since we had to pay in full, we'll have accrued the cost before we get there, which will make it feel like it was free!!!

And we found what looks like an amazing place to stay---located 5 miles from Disneyworld, it's actually a 3 bedroom condo in the adorably named "Villas at Seven Dwarfs Lane". For an incredible price, we get 1400 square feet of snazzy renos with our own bedrooms (I called dibs on the bunk bed room right off the bat), ensuite jacuzzi and access to the giant pool outside, free parking and more flat screen TVs than we can shake a stick at! It'll also has a full kitchen, which will be great to be able to store pre-and-post race food and drink, even though I plan to eat most of my meals at the conveniently located Cheesecake Factory down the street or at the park.  It will be paid in full by the time we get there too, so we'll have lots of money to spend at the malls (or at least, that's what it'll feel like).

Now we have car and hotel booked and are firmly in our training...all that's left to do now is to start working on our awesome princess outfits for race day and we're set!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Hills

Ok, normally you hear “The Hills” and you think Lauren Conrad, Audrina Patridge, etc and depending on your opinions on reality TV this might bring a smile or frown to your face. Kinda the same with the hills you must try to complete when you decide to complete the ½ marathon training schedule.

As Felicity mentioned, we’re pretty proud of how well we’ve stuck to the training schedule on our own and with the group so far, especially considering the Christmas parties, new schedules (for some of us), excess baked goods intake, etc. It’s not an easy schedule to do especially on your own. Well this Tuesday I was faced with the prospect of running hills, by myself, at dawn before work and without anyone to help me forgot why I was doing this.
Fortunately/Unfortunately I live in an area with great elevation literally at my doorstep (some might recall the infamous run with Crystal a few months back).

Well I stepped out my front door and ran down my street then started the up and downs all the way back home. I have to say that this was not my favourite ‘by myself’ run and actually took some inner talk to finish.. but finish I did.
A few learnings.. 1. Play the iPod – Silence and the sound of wheezing does not make you run any faster! 2. Do the BIG hills first, not last – When struggling to the top of your fourth hill .. you remember how short the first one was. 3. Friends – Way easier to complete tasks with friends by your side (sounds hokey.. but when you are struggling up the hill beside people, makes you realize you are not alone) heh.. even Lauren and Audrina do their hill walks together, scripted or not!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lots of Milestones

See how happy cold runs can be?

Not the restaurant with the delicious bellinis, we've hit a few more significant milestones this week. We're all keeping up with the training schedule, even if it's not on the correct date, and feeling mighty proud of ourselves doing it. With Christmas season in full swing, we've had to switch around the long runs (830am on a Sunday after 8 hours of Christmas cheer just doesn't work), but have still stuck to them. Some of the weekday runs are happening at different times, but are still getting done. We've done ALL the hill training, which is tough, but really not as hard as we'd built up in our minds. And most of our training has been through ice and snow, something I never thought I'd be able to do! Crystal was in Toronto on the weekend and ran on her own, but Christi and I hit the reservoir again. It was Christi and Crystal's first ever 12K runs, and my 12K was a full 10 minutes faster than the last one I had timed, so we all felt pretty darn good.
 This was also Christi's first run around the reservoir, and we all like it so much we're going to do the whole thing next weekend for our 14K (Christmas parties abound this weekend, no 830 run for us). We've also noticed that these long cold runs are really making us all frosty. I guess if you're outside running long enough to freeze your 750ml water bottle entirely, the rest of you gets a little icy too...we noticed that strands of hair get frosted all the way down, and you get these little "frost blossoms" around your neck and shoulders where the sweat comes out and freezes. Our breath makes icicles on our eyelashes, and tragi-comic goatees on our faces.

Why is my hair getting old?

Seriously, if you had told me a year ago I would run for miles in temperature cold enough to freeze water in a bottle strapped to my back, I would have said you were crazy. But as it turns out, running in cold weather is fine, and even better in some sure don't get the sweat rolling down your face and back like in hot weather.

As long as you've bundled up properly (thanks Outlet Malls!) it's really nice to crunch through the snow in the sun with all that winter quiet. And running over ice and snow is fine as long as you're watching the ground closely.

It only looks like we're running with Gumby
OK, one last milestone this past weekend...sort of gross, but it really made me feel like a REAL runner...around the 10K mark on Saturday, I just couldn't wait any longer and peed in the woods in the snow. It was both my first mid-run bathroom break, and the first time I've had bare skin from the waist down in -10C. I'm happy to say I didn't fall over, pee on my shoes, nor accidentally moon a crowd of runners on the path. Some people might read this as a “you’re disgusting, thanks for sharing, creep”, but I felt like I'd achieved one of the secret runner's rituals.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Gift of Foresight

Christmas season is in full swing, so we've had to juggle our schedules a bit to accommodate all the holiday cheer.  We're actually doing really well sticking to the training schedule.  Saturday was our office Christmas party and if previous parties have taught us anything, it's that we'll be in no shape to run 10K at 830 the morning after.  As you see below, Christi did her run on Friday morning, so to avoid her showing us up for the week, Crystal and I met at the Weaselhead by the reservoir at 830 on Saturday morning for our weekly long run.  We headed out quickly, as it was REALLY cold and Crystal couldn't find all her layers (I watched her bare ankles with trepidation throughout the run) and I have to say it was amazing. The sun was still coming up and the trees were glistening with frost, it was really a Christmasy wonderland! 

The paths weren't cleared, so we had to run single file through the path carved by previous runners, but I have to say the whole route was breathtaking. I know I ran all summer and fall there, but it was totally different in the winter and I loved it!  We noticed that winter runners were a bit friendlier and everyone says hello, and that the path was also being used by walkers and cross country skiers, which we thought would be great for future crosstraining.  On the way back, all we could hear was our feet crunching through the snow and our (ok, my) heavy breathing. By the time we got back to the car, our eyelashes were starting to stick together and we both had frosty goatees. 

It's a good thing I had done this route before, because my trusty Nike Plus crapped out after 2.5K.  I'm not sure if it was just the fact I hadn't charged it all week or if the cold contributed, but we were left without it pretty early into the run.  I had a pretty good idea how far around to go before turning back, and we arrived back at the car an hour and 10 minutes later, so I think we were pretty close.  I checked on Google maps too and it looks like we were pretty bang on our 10K, but even if we were a bit short, I was still double proud of us all for planning ahead and getting our runs done early.  Even though it sucks to wake up early, and I am not an early riser in the least, I gotta say these early morning winter runs are something else.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gooooooood morning ... 10km run!!

Ok.. so I have a new job… this is great news! It does mean leaving my fellow princesses for our ‘normal’ workout some mornings and a schedule that we had pretty much “set in stone” to step outside my calendar and create some running times of my own.

An example of this happened today.. a 10:30am start today coupled with our company Christmas Party on Saturday night ultimately means that a Sunday Long run this week is just not going to happen. I asked my friend Erin (who is also running in the WDW Princess Half Marathon) who had the day off to meet me at 7:30am this morning for a 10km run.

So we met at Edworthy Park at 7:30 on the button and we were off running on the path into the sunrise (no the sun isn’t up as early as us!). I have to say that Downtown Calgary looks really far from there the park! Thank goodness the path was mostly clear of ice and snow. It really was perfect running morning, the air was crisp, the temperature was perfect for running, the path was pretty much clear, there was no wind and the whole 10km took us just over an hour. The hour went by quickly with such good company(thanks Erin!!) and I do enjoy running more in the morning than the afternoon I have to say.

Gotta love options PLUS now I’m all done for the week!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Not really anything to do with running, but...

After New York last week, we went to Philadelphia. What's about the most famous thing to come out of Philly besides cheesesteaks (and yes, I had one...OK, two... shut up) in the past century?  That's right, Rocky!!!!  So, even though we had a very limited time in the city, we made a special trip to the Philadelphia Art Museum and I ran up the stairs just like Rocky.  It took me 24 seconds, and after several viewings of that part of the film, I still can't tell if that's a good time or not.  Now, I don't think I'm as fit as a 30 year old boxer from Philly, but I was still pretty proud of myself.  Two years ago I couldn't walk up the single flight of stairs from the laundry room without gasping through chest pains, and I was able to sprint all the way up just like Rocky did AFTER the Gonna Fly Now montage!  YAY ME!!!

Anyway, I may be fitter than I was then, but it turns out I'm still a huge nerd, because I had Bryan film me running up the stairs and behold: Here it the link to the better version for y'all to enjoy over and over...or the original video below.  Sorry I wasn't able to be more authentic with gray hoodie tragically tucked into gray sweatpants, but even nerds have their limits. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Reservoir, Schmeservoir

Yesterday, I ran 5k in Central Park. I felt like a movie star!  After a day of traipsing around New York in sweatpants and running shoes, eating only food prepared on the street, we hit the park at around 330 and entered the park right near the zoo. Bryan told me to bring my phone, and spent 10 minutes pointing out landmarks to help me get my bearings.  These both made me roll my eyes, I'm a grown up for Pete's sake, I don't get lost!  Harumph!  Finally, I was off!  I was running through Central Park!

I'd say it was one of the best runs I've ever had.  The weather was perfect, overcast and sort of cool, but not cold.  The ground was covered with leaves and the pavement that didn't have leaves had those dark imprints where leaves had been, so it was really pretty.  I admit, a few times I gleefully stomped through piles of leaves, this felt like movie set fall!  My plan was to run around the pond a couple of times to make sure I didn't get lost, but then I saw some cool looking stuff I wanted to run to.  No problem, I think, I still know where I am.  I run a few loops of a field, and run by The Met and around a few roads with horse drawn carriages, traffic cops and stand after stand of roasted nuts.  Oh, and where I was running was NOT at all flat. I don't think I ever ran on flat pavement, it was all rolling hills.  Great for training!  I also ran up and down around 8 flights of stairs.  These were neat too, it was like they were cut right into the rock, so they blended in and looked pretty.

As the iPod counted down from 400 meters, I was coming around the last loop and was all proud of myself.  Not only did I feel like an authentic New Yorker, but I showed Bryan that I don't get lost!  Hahaha!  I round the last corner just as the iPod announces I'm finished to find----I haven't been running around a pond, but a skating rink full of people. Ummm...maybe the pond froze, I think hopefully to myself and kept jogging until I realized not a thing looked familiar.  Also, I didn't remember where I had started, so the map I found didn't help me at all.  After 10 minutes of jogging and panicking, I finally call Bryan.  Good thing I brought the phone after all.  Realizing we have no way of meeting up in the park, he tells me to jog straight west out of the park and then text him the address of the street I'm on.  Apparently I ran 10 blocks past our meeting point, so I stand on the sidewalk feeling shame until Bryan comes along.  He opts not to mock my lack of direction and instead gives me a hug. 

If I was smart, I would have commemorated this event with a photo or two, but I totally forgot.  By the time we met up, we were running late for our hockey game so we had to boot it back to New Jersey.  Then I got to ride the Subway all sweaty and gross, but still totally proud of myself.  I loved everything about that run, and wish I could do it again sometime soon, but today we're off to Philly.  At least I'll get to run up the steps of the library in Philly Rocky-style!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Running on the Road...sort of

We arrived in New Jersey last night for the Rangers game (taking the train into NYC takes 20 minutes and saves us $300 a night) and this morning, I was ready for my first road trip run.  Yesterday, I drank nothing but lattes and beer (not a single sip of water), and ate nothing but pizza and White Castle burgers.  The complimentary breakfast at our hotel offers the Mecca of free breakfasts...breakfast sandwiches on a biscuit!  (Fueled with this 2 day nutritional powerhouse means that it's not just my running that's slow, heh) I power through a sandwich, 3 glazed donuts,  2 cafe mochas before hitting the...gym.

That's right, my first chance to run in New Jersey and I sort of chicken out.  I didn't know where to run, plus I was afraid of getting lost (and I think Bryan is secretly afraid of me getting shot) so I opted to run inside in what was a pretty fancy gym right next to the breakfast room. The upside was that I got in a 3 mile run (USA likes their imperial measurement) in 30 minutes flat in a room that smelled deliciously of bacon and eggs.  The downside was that I was a sweaty disgusting mess and wasted a great day outside where the temperature is a lovely 15C...making it 45C warmer than back home. Plus, I can't help but feel like a wimp. Tomorrow is a run in Central Park for sure!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Running in a Winter Wonderland

I'm going on vacation tomorrow, so I wouldn't be around to do the Sunday long run with the Running Room. Instead, I opted to take part in a Running Room event on Saturday night...Sight Night, an after dark run that benefits vision impaired athletes. Not only is that a great cause, but it was 8K (just one km short of the run I'm supposed to do tomorrow) on a really nice route and I get a cool headlamp! You had me at hello, Sight Night! Crystal had to work (boo) but Christi decides to keep me company (probably so she can sleep in on a Sunday)

Princess Chris meets me at Eau Claire bearing gifts---Fancy grippies for our shoes and head gloves to keep our foreheads, ears, chins and necks warm on a -17C run. Paired with our jazzy new headlamps, we looked like pros! After a few speeches and a quick warm up, we were off! The grippies felt weird in the mall, but were awesome on the snow; nary a slip or skid along the snow covered paths. Running along Memorial with 500 people in headlamps and reflective gear was pretty amazing, and we actually saw a few blind runners being guided along the route, which was pretty neat too. We cheered for all the volunteers along the route---I'm guessing standing around in -17C for an hour is harder than running in -17C for an hour, but they were all cheerful as they pointed us along our way. Unless that clapping we heard was actually teeth chattering. We got quite a few compliments on our snazzy matching head gloves too, which princesses always love to hear.

Product not exactly as shown,
but still totally awesome
We cross the finish line in 52 minutes flat and stay at the finish line for a few minutes cheering runners in until we started freezing. Both our Ipods say we ran 9K, not 8, so we're actually right on track for the long run this week, hurray! We head inside to discover they're handing out hot chocolate WITH AS MANY MARSHMALLOWS AS WE WANT in them along with some of Calgary's best sandwiches, bananas, chips and the biggest oatmeal chocolate chip cookies I've ever seen (full disclosure: I had 2 once I confirmed they weren't raisins). We plop ourselves down on the floor with our bounty, hastily take off every sweaty outer layer (Christi almost has a wardrobe malfunction forgetting which layer was the last one) and devour what is probably the best meal I've had in weeks, picnic style. Neither of us wins a door prize, but the shower I have when I get home is prize enough for me.

I think I've become addicted to entering races. I love the energy of the runners, the volunteers and the people who just want to stand there and cheer. I love the swag, the whole experience start to finish, and the pride I feel at the finish line. And I've loved every new thing I've tried so far---running with other people, running without headphones, running at night, running in the snow and combining all of the above! Now I'm off to follow the Flames on a road trip through New York, New Jersey, Philly and Pittsburgh, so I'm hoping I can get some runs in this week in exotic new destinations...stay tuned!

Friday, November 19, 2010

100 Days to Go!

So, we have 100 days to go before the Princess Half Marathon and I think we've come a long way so far.  We still have lots to do-hill training, fartleks, speed intervals, book hotel, make costumes, lots!  But, we've had quite a few firsts...including this week, when WINTER finally hit Calgary.  After weeks and weeks of unseasonably warm weather this fall, Calgary was hit with 10-15cm of snow this week and the average daily highs dropped from 10C to...minus 20C.  For our running clinic this week, we spent all day Tuesday just dreading our 4K run.  None of us had ever run at a temperature below zero, and certainly never in -10C and not in the snow at night.  It was cold and icy, and only 6 people showed up for the clinic (I'm guessing most people were stuck in traffic rather than outright skipping it)  Fortunately, we had all stocked up on fleecy cold weather gear on our recent US trip, so we did a few outfit changes before deciding on an assortment of toques, mittens, layers, fleeces, shells and liners. 

We headed out on Tuesday full of trepidation, but as soon as we started running, things got pretty great pretty darn fast.  The snow was still falling, and it was pretty neat to run through fresh snow in near deafening quiet.  And none of us were cold, our new stuff was awesome!  There were no slips or near slips and I spent most of the run exclaiming how great I felt and how much I liked running in the snow.  At one house we passed, all the kids playing in the snow in their backyards cheered for us runners as we went by, which felt good.  When we got back, we all had icy eyelashes and frosty hair---we looked like Snow Princesses!

The next day  the temperature dropped further and  the snow kept up.  We eyed the weather network online all morning, and decided what the heck, let's head out at lunchtime instead of running on treadmills at the gym.  So, we bundle up and head out.  It's colder and windier out by the airport, so even though it was daytime, it was a good 10C colder.  We opted to do laps around the parking lot just in case we got too cold, then we wouldn't be more than 3 minutes away from going inside at any point.  Plus, then everyone inside would see how badass we are.  Turns out the parking lot is an exact 1K loop, so 4 laps later we were done!  It was so cold and windy, that every loop we did, our previous tracks were already gone.  Yikes!  But hitting the showers afterwards felt fantastic!

I think we spent the rest of the afternoon in a happy glow, so proud of ourselves for having faced the elements and not only won, but actually had some fun doing it.  And now we know that if we can do back-to-back runs under Arctic conditions, then we can handle anything that running throws at us.  We're going to do this half marathon in 100 days, and it's going to be GREAT!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yeah, I’m treating it like a temple all right (Part II)

I have to agree with Felic on this one.. You know better and can definitely blame the fact that we haven’t had a nutritionist come in on why we eat what we eat, but in actual fact we know that eating right gives you the energy to perform better and is better for you. This all being said, we use the “we run SO we can eat what we want”.. there should be a bar for what that actually means!

This weekend I may just have pushed that bar way more than a little past it’s breaking point. I went up to my sister’s for my nephew’s 4th birthday. We stopped at Buttercream Bake Shoppe on the way out of town for a dozen buttercream cupcakes.. the full size ones, not the little bit sized ones (which Crystal still eats with a knife and fork and cuts in fours.. another story for another day). We get in at 8:30 and after being fed a great dinner of roast beef and potatoes.. the weekend of “eats” started.

Each of us finished off a cupcake before bed (obviously) then up in the early am to join the nephews for a bowl of cereal. Off to the rink for a quick hockey practice, home for lunch (jalapeƱo poppers, hot beef sandwiches then a cupcake for dessert. Pizza and breadsticks for dinner and Safeway cake for dessert (might have been two pieces?!?). Seafood dip while watching tv later then to bed. Sensing a pattern here?

Up again early, eat a bowl of Christmas Rice Krispies then finally decided to do my long run for the week. I convinced my sister to join me on this 9+km run. Now using copious amounts of cake and icing for “energy” my sister and I started our run. Partly cloudy start, dry sidewalks, and 10 and 1’s .. I mean this sound like a perfect day! Around 4km, it clouds over, 5km it starts to snow, 6km my sis tells me that she forgot to eat breakfast (might be why she isn’t feeling so well). She’s a trooper and we finish the run and deserve a reward! How about uh.. Dairy Queen burger, onion rings, pop and finish with a mini blizzard? Huh… I’ve heard and Crystal can quote me on this, that DQ is a GREAT after run meal..

Overall .. not the best weekend in regards to nutrition per say.. oh well, bring on the Nutritionist.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Yeah, I'm treating it like a temple all right!

Since we have yet to have a nutrition talk at our running clinic, I think I can feign ignorance here...on Sunday we ran our 9K, which at the end we discovered was almost 11K...10.8K including our cooldown. No wonder I felt so tired and sore, I'd done almost 2 extra "fun" kilometers and it wasn't even 10am on a Sunday! Before I left, I ate half a whole wheat bagel and some spoons of yogurt. I think I've decided bagels are pretty much the best running food ever, so that was great, but I ended up regretting the yogurt. Although delicious vanilla sweetened with honey, it kept ummm....repeating on me the second half of the run. No pre-run dairy? Lesson learned, belly!

Anyways, after I got home and had the world's greatest shower (not much feels better after an hour of running in zero C than a shower so hot it melts your skin right off and the steam burns your lungs) I headed out with my fella to our local pub for their $3.99 breakfast.  I was so hungry by the time it arrived, I kept burning my mouth on the molten hash browns while I frantically slathered peanut butter and jam on the toast, then ate it like a gull (right down the hatch, no time to chew!) The bacon and eggs suffered a similar fate of barely grazing my taste buds on their way down.  Three cups of coffee later, we headed out for some Sunday shopping!

Next stop: Fabricland to see if they carry "activewear" fabric if I was going to give making a Disney Princess dress a go instead of buying it.  Advantages: would be wicking fabric, custom and awesome and fit an adult instead of trying to cram into a child's costume.  Disadvantages: fabric was ludicrously priced at $30 a meter and oh, yeah, I don't know how to sew or have a sewing machine. I felt like a failure as a woman wandering the aisles as the other women expertly talked about darts and basting and serging.  So, off for a bit more (less depressing) shopping.  At Toys R Us, I stock up on Christmas presents for munchkins, and a bunch of awesome candy for myself to eat in the car.

We're happy in your belly, Princess Fliss!
After a few more shops (and a few more dollars spent) I was starving again.  I guess running 11K after a week of sleeping off a fever on the couch really works up the 'ol appetite! Off to the very conveniently priced Ikea for hotdogs!  We order 2 hotdogs each, pop, chips and cinnamon buns (that the lady warned me to be careful on as they were freshly iced and hot out of the oven...mmmmm.....) for an early dinner (it was 330) and again, devour like a gull.

At 530pm, was starving again. Time to make more nutritionally sound decisions!  Remembering there were chicken potstickers in the freezer, I fry up a batch and according to the label on the back, eat 3 servings.  Who are these servings actually supposed to satisfy? Not the giant North American who ran 11k this morning, I told myself as I surreptitiously licked the last bits of greasy goodness off my fingers and drank the rest of the dipping sauce.

Without divulging my calorific intake for the day (even attempting the math fills me with remorse), I can say I probably had a weeks worth of sodium in 7 hours. And not a single vegetable.  And ALL the protein and  carbs were either deep fried or covered in icing. It doesn't take an expert to see that I probably didn't refuel properly today, and my diet probably contributed to the increasing pain I'm feeling in the back of my legs.  At least I drank a few gallons of water, even if it was mostly to wash down the Advil.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The day after...

Now considering we walked more than the scheduled 3km 'Steady Run' on Saturday (mall walking counts too right?), ate only Jack in the Box for every meal (hopefully a nutritionist isn't reading this), and flew the night before only to arrive at 11:30pm, you'd think the thought of running 7km with our Running Room group at 7:30 the next morning would NOT be something we'd be looking forward to... luckily you are wrong!! You see, if you read the blog about our shopping trip, you'll notice that new running attire was a big part of why we crossed two provinces and a state in order to get prepared for the winter running season, and looking good in new clothes definitely trumps not wanting to get out of bed... well this Sunday anyway!

As it turned out, the day was a perfect day for running, it was hovering around zero degrees and sunny .. a perfect day to try out the cooler new thermal layers we purchased the day before. This was our first Sunday run with the group and it really amazed us at how much better the run felt and was executed with a group setting.

First, it must be said what a great diverse group of ladies (and gentleman.. sorry Bryce!) that we get to run with a couple times a week at our clinics. Knowing the three of us and our personalities both individually and as a group of three, it seems amazing that they've even let us stay as long as they have! PLUS they don't seem to judge our singing while running, the stories we tell OR the fact that they don't even question having to take our jumping photos after a run to keep our blog up to date! We like to think of ourselves as the group from the movie "Open Water".. the louder you are, the less likely you'll be left behind!

Ok, back to the run.. We were told that the route was going to be a flat start with an uphill middle and finishing down Signal Hill. Thanks to perfect weather and proper attire, the whole run went off without a hitch. We did the “run 10min/walk 30secs” which we hadn’t done before and really enjoyed. Shannon was great with keeping up on course both on the road and with the timing.. the unfortunate part was when we got ourselves off course at the end of the run when she left us check on the runners behind. Luckily we found our way out, with a few extra km’s to our belt. Our overall elevation was a 66m gain which must be said is still 20m short of the week's previous!

Overall we all agreed that we felt great after the run and look forward to more Sunday runs as we get closer to February.

A step by step account of 3 running princesses’ shopping trip to America in about 28hours!

GOAL: Head to America (Seattle area) to Target and Outlet Malls to find much needed Running Gear!

  1. Flew to YVR after work with empty suitcases, picked up by my mom who lives in the area and head to Chateau Hanson for dinner, wine and early to bed.
  2. Woke up 6am, hit the road by 6:15am, turned around at 6:27am because I forget my purse. Idiot, I know.
  3. Cross the border at 7:05am, no issue (male border crossing guard thankfully!)
  4. 1st stop: Jack in the Box!! Who knew they listed the calories under each item?! We each had Sourdough Breakfast Sandwich (409 calories, 21g fat… pffft… no big deal). SO DELICIOUS! Thanks Bryan!!
  5. We hit the road to our 1St destination TARGET!!!! (*Please note this is my maiden voyage to Target with the most experienced Target shopping mentors one could ask for)
  6. Miss exit for Target, have to loop back around (Lovely scenery btw)
  7. Arrive at Target and lose all flipping self control
  8. Ok let me back track…
  9. Arrive at Target, Christi begins to explain and demonstrate the “Science” behind successful Target shopping. There are steps and there are rules:
    a. Step one: grab a cart (1 each, no sharing), head to clothing section first. Fill your cart with EVERYTHING you possibly could want (some items may be cast off later, but for now take EVERYTHING!).
    b. End at the dressing room and try everything on, trying not to be distracted by the strange teenage boy who has now come in, asking for our opinion on his jeans and also telling us why his dad and him just had a huge fight and he was left stranded at Target. It’s perfectly acceptable to hide in your dressing room for as long as need be ensuring the door securely locked.
    c. Once finished trying on clothing decide on next department to shop, or if you are like me, freak out when you realize the other girls have expertly tried on everything already and you still have over half a cart load left. Begin to panic and start trying on things way faster! No more admiring each piece for 5 minutes each!
    d. At this point you can break off and head to which ever department you like. For example, Felicity headed to Electronics, checked out some DVDs then over to Christmas goods. Christi headed to shoes then undergarments. I finished up in Clothing, and head to Christmas stuff!! SO MUCH CHRISTMAS STUFF!
    e. Next all meet up in the foods section, shrieking and gasping over all the foods that America has, and Canada doesn’t, and at ridiculously low prices as well. Vitamin water for $1.00?? Not fair!
    f. Coming close to the end of the Target experience, head to the Pharmacy section. Pick up Vitamins, Aleve (American strength!) and then go nuts in the ‘mini, travel size’ aisle!
    g. And finally the last step: Check out. Christi schools us on how to pay for everything in 2 or even 3 different transactions, separating things into “Things I bought in America, and things I (clearly) brought with me down here. Ask if we have to pay the tax since we are from Alberta; yes we do. Bummer.
    h. Try not to let nauseating panic set in when your FIRST transaction goes through at almost $250. Start removing stuff from second batch of goods, while breathing deeply. Pay for 2nd transaction, ok not as bad as the first, but with support from experts, one can successfully bring their heart rate down and come to realize the value of said goods bought.
    i. And the very last rule: “No regrets, no returns”. You’ll actually end up regretting putting stuff back.
  10. Stop one: CHECK. Head in direction of Outlet Mall
  11. This is the point Christi advises we begin counting backwards time wise; Our flight home is at 9:15pm, it’s now 11am, so we have to be at the airport for 8:15pm, have to be at Chateau Hanson for 7:30pm for our airport shuttle, that’s a half hour from the border, give yourself an hour at the border, and a half hour from Bellisfair Mall to the Border, and hour at the Mall, an hour at the other Outlet mall and driving in between, gives us a total of about 2 hours at the first outlet mall. SEE, clearly a science here and extremely necessary to bring an expert like Christi along. I would have ended up lost in Washington state for the weekend, most likely bankrupt after the 2nd stop.
  12. Spent the next two hours picking up coupon booklets, grabbing Starbucks, and running from store to store ending at the Nike outlet where we caused mayhem trying to pay for our running gear. We were all half way through paying for our 2nd transactions, when we realized we could tell them we were from Alberta and not have to pay the taxes! The trouble this caused, with only 6 cashiers, us taking up 3 of them, and a line up half way around the store, well let’s just say we may have damaged our reputation as friendly Canadians. But, after all was done, we left with some sweet running gear at awesome prices AND didn’t have to pay no stinking tax!
  13. 3rd destination, Outlet Mall #2, perused Lulu Lemon and Nine West, grabbed last minute socks and outer shell from Reebok outlet then hit the road again. Time check: on schedule!
  14. 4th destination, Bellisfair Mall. We split up to make the best use of our time; Felicity to shoes in Macy’s, Christi into the mall to find a Santa party dress and myself to Victoria’s Secret. Power shopping at it’s finest!
  15. Now this is where Christi’s expertise comes in handy once again and not only fascinates, but overwhelms me as well. She takes us back to the truck and explains how we now have to divide everything into those groups I mentioned before, the “Things I bought here” and “Things I (clearly) brought with me”. We all open our empty suitcases and bags in the parking lot and begin ripping off receipts and packing so as too look like we have been on a road trip. (Good thing I bought socks and underwear!). At one point, a mall security guard drives by and we all go white and wonder if he’s about to take our license plate and call it ahead to the border. No time to panic, kept ripping tags and packing!
  16. Still on schedule, we headed towards the border and make one final, imperative stop: Jack in the Box, again. Proceeded to eat an undisclosed amount of calories, enjoying every minute of it and then headed straight for the border.
  17. This time when we cross the border, as luck would have it, we have a grumpy female border crossing guard, who after tallying our total (claimed) purchases sends us straight to the duty office to pay duty on our merchandise purchased. This was annoying because Christi has never had to pay duty before, but then again, we only paid about $15 each. Not that big of a deal.
  18. Sped back to Chateau Hanson to catch our Airport shuttle (Thanks Mom!) and arrive on time for our flight with significantly heavier suitcases.
  19. Overall we all agree it was a successful shopping trip, got what we went there for (Running gear) with maybe a few extras and just as fun as going to PHX to run a race!
  20. Oh, and one last rule… don’t look at your bank statements for a few days after you come home. Wait until you fall in love with everything you bought so that you can justify it and avoid buyer’s remorse! ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Benefits of a flexible training schedule

You may be wondering why there hasn't been much talk of our Phoenix trip and 10K race since it is coming up this weekend.  Well, as it turns out, we were smart not to book hotel or rental car or register ahead of time "just in case", because the wide open flights we had been looking at over the past few weeks have suddenly become quite tight...and both hotel and car prices are high, so, the Phoenix 10K is off. Not because we haven't been training (we totally have and would rock this 10K if we were going), but because we can't be sure we will get there and back in time. 

Always looking on the bright side of life, we have come up with a suitable alternative.  Now instead of flying to Phoenix for a 10K race, we're flying to Vancouver, and driving south to the Outlet Malls to get some fancy new running togs, try to find us some princess-ly outfits and to visit my favorite carbo-loading restaurant.  I actually am still considering this a full training weekend, not just because of the running accessories I'm planning on buying, but due to the cardio we're sure to do as we dash from store to store.  We're still planning to make it back in time for our first long run with the Running Room Crew, so it's not like we won't be running at all this weekend. Plus, now we're going to look really snappy doing it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Official End to Week #1 'Official' Training - Dang those hills!

Soooo.. uphill must have been the theme this weekend. Felic's uphill battle on Saturday set the mood for the weekend it seems. As a group, the three of agreed to work together to ensure we have the support to keep with the schedule that the Running Room has given. This way we'll all be in the best shape for our 1/2 Marathon in February. That being said, our long runs with our running group are scheduled on Sunday mornings.. at 8:30am!! Let's just say that this time is going to be hard to make on a regular basis, hence the reason Felicity ran on Saturday and Crystal and I decided to run together just a little later in the day.

Short version of how it went down Sunday October 31st 10:07am:

Text From Christi "Run?"
Text From Crystal "When you thinking? I'm hungover!! Lol"
Text From Christi "I'm still in bed too.. Just wondering what time you were thinking"
Text From Crystal "Was thinking about running to get my car. It's on 30th and 40th Street. How about in an hour?"
Text From Christi "Yay :( ... SW?"
Text From Crystal "Yep"
Text From Christi "So uphill?"
Text From Crystal "How about we meet at 14th and 17th by American Apparel at 11:15, just one small hill in the beginning, "

Now anyone who lives in Calgary knows that the hill up 14th is not a "small hill". Left my place at 11:14 and walked around the corner to meet Crystal. The weather was a fantastic fall day in Calgary, 12degrees above Zero and hardly any wind. No wasting time, we hit the 'pavement' immediately. As we start up the hill I mention that this hill comes in stages so you probably don't realize how long this hill is until you hit the first plateau and have to keep going, good times!!

Time to stop whining.. we get to the top of hill one and decide to walk it out a bit (more me than her), continue on to the end of 14th and turn right.. yeah, another hill. So far so awesome!! Walk again half way up that hill. If I'd known that Felic stopped on a bench on her run the day before I may have suggested that as well. Continued on through Marda Loop, up Richmond Road and through Killarney talking when we can, squealing as we almost see at least five squirrels running out onto main roads, and walking intermittently until we finally are close to our destination.. Crystal's car. Now as Karma would have it our run was only at 6.6km when we reached the car so we had to watch as we ran past our target finish line only to turn around an come back and actually finish. Just over 47minutes.. but we made it!

Not gonna lie.. it was actually a good run, a little on the slow side (understandably) but we survived the "hill training" (83m incline), figured out that running to a destination is more fun that running in a loop (you aren't trying to figure where the half way mark is) and of course the falling on the couch and laying in your own filth cause it's all you have the energy to do (as Felic mentioned in her last blog).

Week #1 .... DOWN! | View IMapMyRun: 2010-10-31 12:03 PM in Calgary, Alberta

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What went wrong in my hood?

I took up running a little under 2 years ago. I've lived in my house since 2007.  Yesterday was the first time I've ever put my runners on and gone for a run out my back door.  That's right, the past 2 years, ALL my runs have been on treadmills, at sports centers, near work, in a friend's neighbourhood or at city parks. Yesterday I was in a hurry and had to get my first 10k in as quickly as I could so I could get started on my Halloween baking (delicious annual tradition).  I thought I'd save time driving somewhere to run and just go from my house.  It's another great day in Cowscary, all blue skies and crisp fall air, I have my water belt on and I think I'm in for an awesome run.

Guess what?  The Signal Hill area is ALL hills. I knew this, obviously, but didn't really think about what this meant until I was about 300 meters from my back door and hit my first steep hill. No problem, I think, I'm a REAL RUNNER now, this will be fine!  I spring up the hill, then hit my second steep hill about a minute later and the third on just as my Nike + told me I had 1k down.  I walked for the first time at about 1500 meters, and  this was when I started to worry.  I had picked uphill from my house to start so that I wouldn't have to run uphill for the back half of a 10k run, which I guess was smart, but man.  At the 2k marker, I was walking up the steepest hill yet, gasping so loudly I could hear it over the Black Box blaring from my iPod.  I tried to find some level patches for swticthbacks to try to regain my breath, but the next 2k weren't much better and I started getting stitches in my side, which meant I was periodically running with my right arm straight out in an attempt to make the stabby pain in my side go away.

At 4k, I did something I don't think I've ever done before on a run. I paused the Nike + (so it wouldn't know) and sat on a bench to try to catch my breath and make the pain in my side diminish.  I drank some water and ate some of those high carb jelly beans (that I just LOVE...they're like salty jelly beans and they taste awesome!) and was probably on that bench for 5 minutes, willing myself to keep going.  I kept running away from my house even though it was still uphill because I knew if I headed back, I would quit. I was exhausted and this run was hard. I just couldn't catch my breath and my lungs and stomach hurt.  The more hills I ran (or walked) up, the more my legs started to hurt too.  And I walked a lot.

At the 6k mark, I started back home, hoping the way back would just be all fun shrieking arm-waving as I barrelled down hill after hill back to my house. Since I wasn't doing the flat switchbacks on the way back, I got to my house at 8.85k.  Here, I had another sad running first. I QUIT.  I've never cut short a run before and it was horrible.  Even as I walked up the driveway, I told myself that finishing the last kilometer would take just 10 more minutes even if I walked it all, but I couldn't muster up the emotional energy to do it.  At this point, a decent time was out of the question, but I still couldn't even will myself to finish. Bryan came into the kitchen to find me lying on the floor in a pool of my own sweat, too tired and defeated to even ask for a glass of water.  I lay there for quite a while feeling shame (and pain) before I got up (slowly). 

It's not all bad, I learned that maybe it's OK to listen to my body once in a while. I haven't had side cramps like that since I was a kid, and I really didn't want my lungs to burst out of my mouth. And, I have to say, right behind my house is a ravine that has a bunch of paths that are actually really pleasant that I had never thought about running through before. I bet that if I ran up the ravine for 2k, then turned around and came home, it would actually be a pretty great 4k hill training run.  As a 10k, my route stank, but I'm totally going to give it another shot in the very near future on a much shorter run.  Oh, and I guess I have to wash the salt stains off the kitchen floor too.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Synchronicity abounds!

We're 8 weeks into our training and we've decided to kick our training up a notch.  We've been sticking to our program  and having the support of our fellow princesses has been invaluable to our success so far, but we registered for one of the Running Rooms clinics that ends just 2 weeks before our Princess run.  Haha, we thought, this clinic is to prepare for the Hypothermic Half, but Orlando is gonna be SO much better!  Plus, now we'll have more motivation for those darn long runs.The nerves started as soon as we registered...I'm gonna suck, everyone's going to be RUNNERS there and I won't be able to keep  up...but right in the registration package it said not to worry about those butterflies in our stomach, it was going to be fun!  So, we show up at 630 tonight at the location nearest to all our houses and meet the other 12 or so people who will be running with us for the next 17 weeks.  There, we learn we have a fellow princess training for the same run, and she even works at the same place as us! And hey, so does the instructor!  And...we found out as we were leaving that one of the two gentleman in our clinic works there too!  I mean, what are the odds that HALF THE PEOPLE IN THIS CLINIC work at the same place which is possibly the furthest point from work while still being in the same city? Seriously, I just checked it on Mapquest and the airport is 30km away from our clinic, Vegas probably wouldn't even take those odds.

Anyway, we get our welcome packs and a brief overview of how the weekly schedule is going to go, and then head out for our first group run!  We run just under 4k as a group and it felt just fine!  It was a new route, it was COLD out and I think the group stayed reasonably close together during the run, so I think our running levels are pretty comparable.  Oh, and I found out during the run that one of the other girls is not only in the same soccer division as me, but that our teams play each other THIS SUNDAY?!?!?!  Seriously, it was a weird night for me, I should pick up a lottery ticket on my way to work tomorrow.

If we had really been thinking, we would have taken a picture to commemorate the occasion, but no luck. Just imagine the "Hurray for Disney" photo to the right has no sun, long pants, wind breakers over jackets, mittens and headbands, and red noses with sweaty foreheads. Oh, and matching shirts, as soon as they come in, they didn't have any left since we registered mere hours before the clinic started.  I think we're going to have fun at this and learn a few new things along the way. Plus, a lot of the people seemed like fun, so we might even find some new running buddies.  Now all we need is to psyche ourselves up to make it for the 830am Sunday runs.  Our instructor did suggest we all go for breakfast after these long runs at such an ungodly hour, so she knows how to motivate me for sure!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Keeping the streak alive!

For this week's long run, I joined the First Annual Brent's Run.  A friend of a friend's fiance died of a heart attack last year a month before their wedding so in his memory, she had organized a family fun run where you made a small donation to the Heart and Stroke foundation.  The run was supposed to be from Eau Claire, but had a last minute move to North Glenmore Park (that's right, my long run streak at the reservoir is unbroken!)  For this run, you could do the 5K loop once or twice if you wanted to do the 10K.  I met up with several friends just before 10 on a glorious sunny (but pretty chilly) Saturday to join what was probably about 50 people with kids on bikes, strollers, dogs and Starbucks and we were off!  I felt pretty good, the chill wore off pretty quickly and once again, I got to enjoy the lovely views of the reservoir on a cloudless day.

This wasn't a very competitive run, most people were out to support this woman, celebrate the memory of her fiance and get a little exercise doing it. I had never met either of these people before, but I've lost a few family members to sudden heart attacks in the past few years myself. I can't relate to losing a spouse like that, but I can sure relate to how horrible it is to get that phone call. Plus, it was a great cause, and the date happened to fit into my training schedule perfectly. I do like when there's synchronicity in my life! I found myself thinking of my mum a lot during the run, pleasant memories that propelled me down the path. She wasn't the running type, but I bet she would have totally appreciated how nicely my snappy running shirt matched my shoes and how my running belt could hold so much stuff!

At the end of the first loop, I headed back out for the second loop and noticed all the people who had been in front of me for the first half were now stretching at the finish line with bottles of water.  Um...what?? One of the organizers high fived me as I passed and said I was the first person starting the 10K.  Wait, all those fit people who left me in their dust at the starting line weren't doing the second loop?  Off I went, actually hoping to be passed by someone on the second loop.  As I headed out, the people finishing their 5Ks were coming back in,  a number of them waved at me as I went by.  I started to worry that maybe I was the only person doing the 10K and everyone would have gone home by the time I got back to the finish line and picked up the pace as much as someone on the back half of a 10K could.

I also realized early in the second loop the route markers had been set up incorrectly and it wasn't actually going to be a 10K.  I had my Nike + plugged into the iPod and the cheery woman announced 8K just when I noticed I could see the finish line again.  I did the math and realized the finish line was actually going to be at 9K and decided to go past the finish line for half a kilometer and then coming back to get the even 10K in.  As I got to the finish line, I realized everyone was sitting around eating sandwiches and cookies and were waiting..ummm...for me?!?!?  I actually WAS the only person who did the 10K, so I WON!  Everyone cheered as I came in, and it was sort of awesome. Plus, no way I could keep running after that reception, I'd look like a jerk!  So, I didn't actually run 10K, which is fine. The Nike + told me my pace really WAS fast, nearly 30 seconds faster per km than last week's run, and I felt really good! I wasn't tired, my legs weren't sore and I could have kept on going no problem. Maybe all this training really IS paying off!! Plus, the 8 cookies and 3 beers I had after the race tasted like food of the gods.  No wonder I like this running thing so much.  Acessories and endless appetite with guilt free snacking = the sport for me!