Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blue Nose Johnson 5k

This was my first year participating in the Blue Nose. It’s a whole weekend affair and includes everything from a 2k kids run to a full Boston Qualifying marathon. This year there were over 12,000 runners between all of the events. There were over 2000 people running the 5k with me, which is the largest race I’ve ever participated in.

When I ran the Lung Run 2 weeks ago, I thought afternoon races were the best. I no longer feel that way! The Blue Nose 5k started at 3:00 Saturday afternoon. It just so happened that this was the first hot day we’ve had all year and the temperature at the starting line was 26 °C. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen or a breeze to be felt; it was HOT. I knew before I even started that I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing without walking. In fact, there were a few points where I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to finish. But I did, in a time of 53:49, a full 7 minutes slower than the Lung Run. At least I didn’t throw up, though I came close a couple of times. I do not handle the heat well at all.

Even with the heat, it was a great day. There were so many people out to cheer the runners on. My friend Jody and her team mates from Team Myles, were one of the loudest groups I passed. They were all running their first 10k the next morning, but that didn’t stop them from putting all their energy into cheering on Saturday. Jody had even made a sign just for me!

I made it up the last hill (why do races end at the top of hills? Someone should really plan these things better), through the finish line and was given my medal. But my Blue Nose experience wasn’t over.

I’ve never gone to a race as a spectator before. I wanted be there to cheer Jody on for her first ever 10k, so Hilary and I made her a big bling-y sign and I headed out Sunday morning. There is just as much excitement to the day when you are cheering people on as when you are in the starting chute waiting for the gun to go off. It was great to see Jody come around that first corner and head out on her journey. It was an out and back course, so I waited for everyone to pass by me a second time. I loved clapping and cheering for random strangers, shouting out their names (yay for names printed on bibs – all races should do this) and seeing them perk up a little bit from the encouragement. Jody went by with a smile on her face and still running strong.

I loved the whole experience so much, and can understand why it’s become such an important part of Halifax culture, that I’ve already signed up to run the 10k in 2017!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lung Run 2016

The Nova Scotia Lung Run was my first 5k race of the year. This is the 3rd year that I’ve participated in this run and it’s one of my favorites. It has many things going for it, not the least that it’s an afternoon/evening race. I love my Saturday morning lie-ins, and getting up at the crack of dawn for a race greatly interferes with that. Other great selling features include their awesome long sleeve technical shirts, the very flat course and free beer at the end of the race. I mean, really, what’s not to love?

This year I went down to the race with my friend Jody and some of her friends. They are all part of Team Myles and are training for their first 10k for the Blue Nose in a couple of weeks. We hung out together before the race and took lots of pictures (Jody attracted every photographer there, can you guess why?) Everyone ran at different paces so we were separated during the race itself, but it was great to pass each other along the way and to shout out encouragement.

Jody and a couple of the Team Myles gang finished before me but waited at the finish line for everyone to finish. It’s great motivation to have people cheering you on at the very end so that you can dig deep and finish strong.

This was my first race where I RAN the entire 5k – no walking at all. During training I follow a run/walk method that I used when I first started running. This year I had not managed to get past the 5/1 mark – run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute. Yet I knew that I could do better. Running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. There are times when my watch has beeped at the 5 minute mark that I would stop to walk even though I felt like I could keep running. It’s such a Pavlovian response though… the bell rang therefore I HAVE to walk. So on for the race I decided to not set my watch and to just run as long as I could and to walk when I needed to. The first time I checked my time, I had already run 9 minutes without even thinking of walking. I figured if I could 9, why not 15? Then it became a mind game…. “You can keep running till that next turn.” “You’ve already done 20 minutes, why not go for 25” till very quickly it became “You can run this whole thing!” So I did.

I finished in 00:46:48 with an average pace of 9:42. I am very happy with this for my first race of the year. My goal for 2016 is to run a 5k in under 40 minutes, something I have never achieved. The closest I’ve come is 00:41:59, coincidentally at the Lung Run in 2014.

So now the training continues.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Week 3

Last week was a struggle. I had no motivation to do anything. I did get out for a 5k walk with Nicole on Tuesday and I made it to the gym on Friday while Liam was at a birthday party. The problem in between those planned outings. Most days I try to do at least a stretching routine and some arm work with weights. I also try to get in as many steps as possible. None of that happened. I was quite content to sit and sit and sit.

Overall I kept up reasonably good food choices, so the whole week wasn’t a loss – it even led to a ½ pound loss! I’m not going to worry about a slow week. This one is going much better already!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 2

I had another great week of working out. Two trips to the gym, an outdoor run on a beautiful day and a 5k walk with Nicole. Overall I’m pleased. I didn’t see any progress on the scale this week, but I’m okay with that. The scale is just a number, not an overall representation of how I’m doing.

My favorite part of going to the gym is using the exercise bikes. They have 2 different kinds to choose from, and I have yet to decide which one I prefer. The pros of the recumbent bike is that your crotch doesn’t go numb from sitting on a skinny little bike seat. But I did find that I kept sliding forward out of the seat, so that wasn’t very comfortable either. The regular bikes at this gym have built in video games, which to me is a great feature! It gives you a first person view and you can select the route that you bicycle along. With this one, you actually have to steer or risk biking right off the cliff (don’t worry, you respawn again quickly back on the road). It gives you something to do while you pedal instead of just staring off into space. I think I will mix it up with each visit, spending some time on both, since each one does work slightly different muscle groups.

We are having some great weather for February – it’s supposed to hit a high of 14°C this week, so I’ll be lacing up and getting outside when I can! Only 12 weeks till my first 5k of the year.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 1

I managed to get in three 1 hr sessions at the gym last week. My trial with them is over so I need to figure out my next steps. I really enjoyed going and using all of the machines. I don’t ever see myself joining one of their classes and I have hand weights at home that I can use. But I don’t have the space or the money to set up an exercise bike, and elliptical machine and a treadmill. What I did realize this week is that I still have a few day passes for the Dartmouth Sportsplex that I haven’t used. They have all the same machines available, and since I’ve already paid for it, I’m going to use them up before I commit to a gym membership.

I had a great week of good food choices. One of the things that I like about choosing a healthy lifestyle versus being on a diet, is that I don’t limit myself from having good tasting, bad for me things as long as it’s in moderation (no more sitting down to eat a whole bag of chips). So I did enjoy 2 small Cinnabons this week and didn’t feel at all guilty about it. I tracked it in MFP, accepted that my calories were high that day and moved on.

So between the exercise and the good eating I thought I would show a loss on the scale when I weighed in Sunday morning. I was pleasantly surprised with a 2.5 lb loss! That puts me at 7 lbs lost so far this year.

My plan this week is to get to the gym at least 3 times, walk with my friend Nicole (who just signed up to run her first 5k this summer at the Ocean Breeze!) and to keep eating well. Hilary has some great sounding meals planned, which is helping us to not eat out nearly as much as we had been last year. I’m sure cutting down on fast food is playing a big role in my weight loss too.

I’ve also decided to set myself a running goal. I looked back at the results of all the 5ks I’ve run in the past 3 years. My fastest run was in April 2014 with a chip time of 41:59. The last 5k I ran was 47:08. So my goal for this year is to run a 5k in under 40 minutes. It’s a big stretch to try to improve my time by over 7 minutes from last year, but I’m feeling good about it.

And with any luck, the snow will eventually melt, the sidewalks will be clear and I can get outside again.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The gym

I did it!  I went to the gym by myself tonight and had a great work out. My friend Jody had shown me the ropes when we went on Tuesday so I had a good idea of what to do.  Tonight I used the elliptical,  the treadmill and a bike. My legs won't be happy with me tomorrow.

It felt great to run again,  even just for short spurts. I found that I could push myself to run faster then I do outside. I'm sure it's the fear of flying off the end of the machine and ending up as a viral meme that inspired me to keep up with the pace!

I'm not convinced that I want to commit to a membership. I really do prefer to just run outside,  so if I could pick up a partial membership for a couple of months it would be the best of both worlds.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Back at it

Sept 25th. Can it really be that I haven’t posted here in four and half months? What the heck have I been doing?

Let me tell you, my family and I have been doing a lot in those 4.5 months. Hilary went through chemo and radiation treatments and kicked cancer to the curb. I ran a couple of 5k races. Liam and I both had surgery – on the same day, at 2 different hospitals. We had family visits, celebrated 2 major holidays, got back into a school routine, twice – September and January (those pesky holiday breaks throw everything out of whack). Liam was in his first Shakespeare production. I got hearing aids. And we’ve survived a couple of snow storms.

Not surprisingly, I gained too much weight and undid any health improvements I had gained during my training for the half marathon.

And I’m okay with that.

Sometimes, you just have to ride the wave that life throws at you, knowing that eventually it will settle down and you can pick yourself up and get back at it.

That’s what I’m doing now.

One of the best motivations for me is to commit to (and pay) for a race. So I’ve signed up for 3! I’m sticking with 5ks this year, so I’ve decided to run the Bluenose 5k in May then Soul Sisters and Ocean Breeze in June. While the first race is still more than 3 months away, I need to get back into shape. My focus so far this year has been healthy eating, and it’s paying off. I lost 5 pounds in January. Of course, having surgery really helped to kick start the process. And I’m still learning which foods I can tolerate without my gallbladder.

To help with my recovery I started doing some simple stretching routines. It’s amazing how great that little bit of movement felt after being fairly sedentary for so long. I then added in walking, working to increase my pace and distance. I haven’t actually started running again…. but I feel ready! Tonight I’m going to the gym with a friend for a free trial. I really don’t see me as a gym–goer, but hey, it’s free! I’ll check out the equipment, and get in a good work out, and maybe even run on the treadmill. Our sidewalks are covered in snow right now, so I’m going to have to come up with an indoor running solution for the next month or so. I still have some track passes for the indoor track from last winter, so I’m sure that is where I’ll ultimately end up. Or the snow could melt… stranger things have happened.

So the journey continues.