Monday, July 27, 2015

Safety First

Since I run with minimal gear - just a watch, some tunes and water on a long run, I worry about not having any ID on me.  If anything were to ever happen, I don't even have a phone that someone could scroll through a list of contacts and find the number for "home" or "mom".

So I was very happy to come across the Road ID website.  This isn't a sponsored post, I ordered their product and am very pleased with it!  They also have some pretty awesome customer service.


I decided to get an ankle id, and bought a second band, in case the pink ever clashed with my running clothes.  Because, yeah, that's important to me....  The second band will come in handy when the first one is gross and sweaty and needs to be washed!

I love that you can choose anything to engrave on the ID.   Because we live in a heteronormative world (yay me for using a new word I only learned a few weeks ago) it was important to me to list Hilary as my spouse.  It cuts down on the questions and blank stares, especially if I were unconscious on the side of the road.


I was also able to add "DETERMINED", a word I turn too when I feel that I just can't keep going.

If you run alone, please make sure to be safe and to carry ID with you.  No one likes to think of worse case scenarios, but it's so much better to know you are prepared for them - then you don't have to think about them any more.

If you are interested in ordering one for yourself, please use this link - Road ID will credit me $10 for every knew customer that I refer and I will be putting any referral money I get towards a Road ID bracelet for a prize at next year's Ocean Breeze Trail Run.

Run safe everyone!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Hills

I love hills. Said no runner ever.

I was recently looking over the route for the Maritime Race Weekend half marathon. (Which is in 51 days by the way!) The route is mostly flat, but has 3 uphill sections – at KMs 3, 7 and 16. Because the route is partly an out-and-back, I at least get to run downhill for the last 3 km! The highest elevation is 40m - I have no idea what that means, but it looks bad on the elevation graph.

 

So I've decided to add in some hill training to my regular routine.  There is a hill behind Liam's school that is steep, but not too long.  I get an easy 1km warm up on my way to the hill and then my plan is to run up it then walk back down to recover and repeat.  The first time I tried it I only made it up the hill twice, before almost throwing up on my shoes.  It took me 3 weeks before I was brave enough to try it again.  This time I made it up 4 times before deciding that I couldn't do it again.

When I plugged this hill into MapMyRun to find out the elevation, I was a bit concerned to find out it's only 33m, so not as high as what I'll be doing during the half.  But I figure the climb on the actual route is a bit more gradual before it gets to the peak (except maybe that first bump....) and I won't be repeating it over and over again. So even though my training hill isn't AS steep, I still think it's a good place to start, especially since I have avoided hills like the plague for the past three years.


elevation of my training hill, repeated 4 times



The picture doesn't really do the hill justice, but that sucker is steep!

One day I'll run up this hill without even thinking about it.  Till then, I keep training.



Saturday, July 18, 2015

Poor man's GPS

I have several  routes plotted out that I run on a regular basis in my neighbourhood.  Now that my long runs are getting longer, I really have to work harder to figure out my routes.  I don't have a fancy running watch that could tell me how far I've gone. And I don't have a phone with GPS. I run with a watch that has a timer and my IPod Touch to listen to music. 

My usual approach is to plan my route before I leave, using Map My Run. The problem I have now is that in order to keep increasing my mileage in a fairly small city, I need to add more tuns and side streets. By the time I've run over an hour don't have the mental skills left to keep track of when and where in supposed to turn.  

So today I tried a new approach. Hilary penned the names of key streets on my arm with a Sharpie.


And it worked like a charm!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Standing

Stand in the place where you live
Now face North
Think about direction
Wonder why you haven't before
Now stand in the place where you work
Now face West
Think about the place where you live
Wonder why you haven't before
R.E.M. “Stand”


For more than 20 years I have had jobs that require me to sit and work at a computer for 8 hours a day. While I often walked at least part of the way to work, the majority of my day, even at home in the evenings, has been spent sitting down. This past February I slipped on the ice during our winter of doom and twisted my knee. What should have been a simple injury, healing up after a few days of rest, is still bothering me 5 months later.

But only when I sit down.

There is something about the angle of my knee when I sit that aggravates the pain in my knee cap. I can walk, run or stand for hours without any issue, but if I sit for more than 10 minutes, the pain begins. It’s not excruciating or unbearable, just annoying*.

This has obviously become a problem at work, but one that I have been able to solve with some improvisation!




With the help of an empty box, an upside down flower pot and a box of staples, I have turned my desk into a standing desk. I don’t think I would win any ergonomic awards, but it works for me. I still have my chair so that if I want to sit for lunch, or just to take a quick break I can. And if I have days where my knee isn’t bothering me and I want to sit for longer periods of time, I can simply move the box aside and I have a sitting desk again. I bought myself a mat to stand on, because I did find my feet were getting sore.

It might be unconventional, but it’s a lot cheaper than the real standing desks you can buy and they only accommodate a single monitor, not the 3 I use at work.

*Don’t worry, I’m not just ignoring the knee pain. I’ve been doing a series of stretches and strengthening exercises that have really been helping.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Good Morning

Yesterday when I got in the car after work, the temperature registered at 34° C. By the time I drove home it had only dropped to 28°C. It was pretty easy to come to the conclusion that I was not going to be running last night. I don’t do well in the heat, and after a full day’s work and my on-going sleeping issues, it was not a good idea to lace up and head out.

And yet, I can’t just stop running because it’s too hot. I already did that this past winter because it was too cold. Okay, it wasn’t actually the cold, but the ice and the snow being 10 feet deep ... But still.

So today I became a morning runner.



In the 3 years that I’ve been running, I’ve only ever gone out once in the early hours of the day. That was in November of 2013 and all I remember is that it was still dark out. Running in the morning in July is so much better! The sun was coming up, but it was still cool – an acceptable 16° C. I set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than normal and I was out the door by 6:20. I ran a short run of 3k. I need to ease into getting up even earlier so that I can run longer distances. I still had time to sit with a cup of coffee before my shower and I was only 5 minutes later getting to work then when I normally arrive.

I do need to work out what I should eat before running first thing after waking up – this morning I had a small glass of orange juice and a banana. For a 3K run, this was perfect, but I am going to need something more substantial, but easily digestible, if I’m running longer.



I already go to bed ridiculously early, so I don’t think that will change. Getting up earlier will certainly be a challenge at first, but I think I will quickly settle into a new routine

Overall, I’m just seeing the upsides to running in the morning – cooler weather, more time in the evening with family, energized to start the day. I’m looking forward to doing the rest of my training this summer in the early hours of the day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Review

June 2015 
Ran 12 times for 65.2 km. Longest run 9k
+2 Learn To Run sessions that didn’t involve tracking distance
Ran 2 races – Police Chase June 14; Ocean Breeze June 20

June 2014
Ran 6 times for 32.74 km. Longest run 10k


June Review

I didn't quite meet my June goals of running 15 times for 75 km, but I did meet my longest run goal.  I had a lot of fun at both races, even if my time wasn't what I wanted it to be.  I'm still happy with the month overall, especially since we has so many end of school year activities scheduled that I worked around.  I did end the month with my first attempt at running up a hill just for the sake of running up a hill.  There is a nice short but steep hill behind Liam's school that is going to be my "hill" run.  I made it up twice without walking.  I almost threw up on the second attempt, which is why I only did it twice on my first time out.

July Goals

Run 15 times for 90 km. Longest run 13k


July plans

I have no races planned for July.  My focus is going to be to keep increasing my mileage for my long runs and doing more hill/speed work during the week.  I won't get faster if I don't run fast.  And my goal  this week is to conquer the steep hill 3 times. - hopefully without throwing up!



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ocean Breeze Recap

Normally I like to write up my race recaps on the day of the race.  It’s all fresh in my mind and easy to put into word.  Except the Ocean Breeze this year.  I’ve really been struggling with writing this one up.  For one thing, this is the first race where I didn’t take a single picture.  Since this race is put on by Liam’s school and I’m on the race committee, I spent a lot of time before and after the actual race helping out – getting runners their kits and timers, marshalling for the kids run and the 5k walk – so I didn’t bother with pictures.

But the main reason is that I’m so very disappointed in my time.  This was my slowest 5k yet.  It seems that the more I train and the more I run, the slower I get. 

I have lots of excuses – lack of sleep, busy all morning volunteering before the race, poor breakfast choice, it was hot….. but really, they just come down to excuses.



My focus now is to get over myself, and just keep running.  Even if I'm slow, I'm still moving.