Thursday, March 26, 2015

Change in Plans

“Some changes might look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge” Eckhart Tolle

I hate winter. I hate snow. I hate ice. I know this is a pretty common sentiment from most people right now. My city was hit with 70 cm of snow last week. That’s more than 2 feet, on top of all the snow and ice we already had. My sidewalk currently looks like this.

That is the same sidewalk that I would usually run on, buried under more than 4 feet of snow.

Needless to say, I haven’t been able to run outside in almost 2 months. I have been able to get to our indoor track and to the gym on occasion, but it’s not as easy as getting home from work, lacing up and heading out the door.

I’m not giving up, I’m just starting over.

So I need to change my plans. I have not trained enough to even consider running the Blue Nose ½ Marathon in just over a month. I would be hard pressed to run a 5k right now. The new plan is to start running again as soon as I can. The weather is starting to clear up, the snow will eventually melt and the sidewalks will be cleared. I have 2 5ks planned for May, and of course the Ocean Breeze Trail run in June. I WILL run a ½ marathon this year, likely in the fall.

Change can be good.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

1/2 Marathon Training Update

Planned training runs = 22 runs / 97.6 km
Actual training runs = 7 runs / 31.4 km

Weeks to go: 13

When I decided back in December to run the Blue Nose half marathon, we were having an unseasonably warm winter with no snow. It seemed like a really great idea at the time. And I had some great runs in the first few weeks, outside on clear trails and dry sidewalks. Then the reality of living on the East coast of Canada hit. We’ve had 22 inches of snow so far this month, freezing temperatures every day with one day of rain thrown in. That makes for a nasty base layer of ice under a lot of snow. The city has not been able to plow the roads or sidewalks down to the asphalt, so everything has a layer of slick snow or slush on it. We haven’t been able to open our back door in over a week. And the forecast is calling for another foot of snow this weekend.

Needless to say I won’t be running outside anytime soon.

Beyond the weather, there has been general life stuff that has kept me from some training runs. I had to travel for work for a full week, and while I took my running stuff with me and the weather in Denver was GORGEOUS, my work hours and being jet lagged didn’t allow me to get in a single run. One night was lost to picking up our new car (SO worth it!) and other nights to parent-teacher conferences, knee injuries from slipping on the ice or just needing a night home with my family.

Sounds like a whole lot of excuses to me.

Last Sunday I decided to stop with the excuses, weather included, and get my butt running. So I packed up Liam and his friend with their swim stuff, grabbed my running gear and headed over to our local sports complex. There was an hour and a half open swim that the boys could go to alone while I ran on the indoor track. Only I had neglected to check out the track schedule before we left and found out that it was closed once we got there. I was not going to let this be another excuse that had me sitting on my butt for the afternoon, so I bought a 10 pass stamp card for their gym facilities. I’ve never really run on a treadmill before, but once the guy on staff got me set up, I was all set!

I felt like I was starting over…. again. It’s amazing what a week of inactivity can do to you, and how hard it can be to get back any little bit of progress you had made before that. While the ½ Marathon training schedule called for a 9 km long run, I managed to do 3 km. My pace was slow, I was pretty huffy-puffy and had to take frequent walk breaks, but I did it!

I think this plan of Liam swimming while I run on the weekends is going to work out well. I still need to fit in some runs after work during the week. I’m sure life will still continue to get in the way, but I am recommitting to doing my best to get out there as often as I can.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Balancing 2 passions can be tricky. So far running and TKD have not been at odds with one another. TKD is a great cross-training activity that exercises every single muscle of the body , including my mind. Running helps build endurance and stamina which I can then use in TKD.

My passion for both sports is pretty much 50/50 right now, but I have a significant goal that I am trying to achieve in each. The first goal is in TKD. Next week I will be testing for my blue stripe level. My running goal is of course to run my first half-marathon. That isn’t until May of this year.

It’s been almost a year since I last tested for a new belt level in TKD and I still don’t feel 100% ready. I will have to demonstrate 6 patterns, ranging from 7 to 28 moves each. I will have to spar for a minimum of 2 minutes against an opponent who may be strong/bigger/better than I am, using as many techniques and combos as possible. I will have to do 2 different step-sparring demos – essentially 2 person patterns with specific steps and movements and then I may have to answer theory and history questions. In order to be ready for all of that in just over a week, I’ve decided to put running on hold and attend as many TKD classes as I can before the testing date. As luck would have it, my new job is only a 5 minute drive from the Sackville Dojang, so I can attend classes on Tues, Thurs and Fri, giving me 4 more classes then I would get if I only trained in Halifax.

An hour TKD class is much more physically taxing than a mid-week, low mileage run. I’m certainly feeling it today and I’ve only done 1 extra class so far. I am feeling much more ready to test, so I know that it is the right decision.

There is risk of injury with both sports. I am still covered in bruises from sparring in a TKD class more than 2 weeks ago and my hips are not too happy with me today after some of the stretches we did last night. With that in mind, I will be taking a break from TKD as my half-marathon training ramps up in the spring. I would hate to have spent 20 weeks training for a race only to have to pull out at the last minute from an injury from a different sport.

And then there is the idea of balancing all of this activity with family, work and the rest of my life. That is a whole other post!

Monday, January 19, 2015


Yesterday as Donzella and I were coming into the home stretch of our 7k run, we passed the building where we used to work together and where we first met 9 years ago. She asked me to think about how far I had come since that time. Was I as active then as I am now? Do I weigh as much now as I did then? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding NO!

It is too easy to lose insight into how far I have come when I am focused on today's goals. I get down on myself about a scale number that isn’t moving, or feeling that my 9:30/km pace is too slow. I need to stop and remind myself that just a few short years ago, the number on the scale was much, much bigger and the idea of running for even one minute was laughable.

Now I’m training to run my first half-marathon! I’m no longer pre-diabetic, I’m healthier and happier then I have been in a long time. Sure there is still work to be done, I haven’t run that half-marathon yet! But each day is better than the one before it, and so much better than all those days 9 years ago.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Running Update

This should be my 7th training run but it’s only my 4th. The weather has conspired against me – too cold and too icy. It’s early on in the training plan, so I’m not too worried. Hopefully the winter won’t be too long and horrible. I have attended all of my TKD classes, so I am keeping up a base level of exercise. This coming Sunday will be the first long run that is longer than 5k. Right now they forecast is calling for PLUS 6 and sunny – perfect running conditions!

My running partner has found a water running class on Thursday nights that is close to my new work. We are going to look into doing drop-in classes when the weather is really sucky, or even just to change things up a bit. I’m not a huge swimming fan, but running in the water might be fun.

I am trying very hard to drink more water this week. After my last couple of runs I have ended up with a very bad headache, that I am pretty sure was caused by dehydration. So far today I’ve had 120+ ounces of either water or weak green tea. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to run 3k tonight without having to stop to pee in someone’s front yard.

Happy Running  everyone!

Thursday, January 8, 2015


It’s week 1 day 3 of my 20 week ½ marathon training plan and I need to skip tonight’s run.


I had a great TKD class yesterday full of kicks and cardio. I was sore afterwards, but it was a good sore, one that let me know that I am in touch with all my muscles. I went home, relaxed in a hot shower, worked out the last few kinks, and then headed out to pick Liam up from Cadets.

It had started to snow, a light dusting that was just covering the ground. As Liam and I headed to the parked car, I stopped him to point out a patch of ice in front of him, since he didn’t seem to be paying any attention. Then I stepped forward and the world spun sideways as I slipped on a hidden patch of ice and started falling. I didn’t go all the way down; I was able to grab the front of Liam’s jacket with one hand and a piece of scaffolding with the other.

While I didn’t fall, I did twist my left knee.  It didn't swell, but it hurt enough in the car ride home to bring tears to my eyes.  And not quite 24 hours later it is still tender when I bend it.  Once I'm up and walking it seems fine.

So even though I want to get out and run, I don't want to risk further injury.  So today I rest and hopefully tomorrow all will be right again.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

20 weeks

20 weeks from today it will be Sunday May 17th.  Not usually a notable date in my life, but this year it will be.

After a lot of thought, soul searching and discussions with Hilary, I have decided to train for the Recharge With Milk Half Marathon that is part of the Blue Nose* weekend!

* For my non-Nova Scotia friends, "Blue Nose" is a nickname for Nova Scotians, dating back to the 18th century.

I have set up a 20 week training program that has me running 4 times a week, with long runs on Sundays.  Most of my weeknight runs will be under an hour, which is good, since I don't get home from work till after 5:00.

I've never run more than 10 kms before and have just gotten back into running, so training to run 21.1 kms is a bit daunting.  My first long run that surpasses 10 kms is only 5 weeks away!  There are a few obstacles to the training plan that I will have to work around - the biggest one being that we will be in the Domincan Republic for March break (otherwise known as week 11), and I may have some travel coming up for work. It's not to say that I can't run while I'm away, it will just present some unique challenges.

Halifax is also a very hilly city and so far I have manage to run on nice flat routes.  I'm going to have to start adding some hill work to my runs, especially since kms 15-21 for the 1/2 are a slow but steady climb.

So there we have it. Year one of running I did my first 5k.  Year two of running I did my first 10k.  So it only holds to reason that in my third year I aim for my first 1/2 marathon! I'm just going to giv'er!