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.