My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

2017: A year for rebuilding

I don’t make resolutions, haven’t for many years. I prefer to make goals.  “Resolutions” doesn’t have the same commitment to it as “goals” does.  At least in my opinion.  I didn’t make any real goals last year.  I started the year feeling very burned out and just couldn’t wrap my head around what to do next. But that’s in the past. Nothing I can do about it, except learn from it.

I didn’t make any real goals last year.  I started the year feeling very burned out and just couldn’t wrap my head around what to do next. But that’s in the past. Nothing I can do about it, except learn from it.

So now it’s 2017. I had already been thinking about goals for the year long before the new year rolled around. I already had it in my mind a few things I want to do this year. As the year progresses, new goals will be added. That’s one thing I’ve learned, you can always add to your list. You don’t need a new year, a new month, a new week. Just add to your list as you go along. Sure, I have a list of big goals, big dreams. I’m sure most people do. But I’ve learned over the last few years that it’s important to make smaller goals along the way to the big ones.

As the year progresses, new goals will be added. That’s one thing I’ve learned, you can always add to your list. You don’t need a new year, a new month, a new week. Just add to your list as you go along. Sure, I have a list of big goals, big dreams. I’m sure most people do. But I’ve learned over the last few years that it’s important to make smaller goals along the way to the big ones. I will often take a big goal and break it down into smaller ones to make it more manageable and less intimidating. I’ve noticed I accomplish more doing it that way.

So what do I have on the horizon for 2017?

Rebuilding.

That’s my main goal of the year.  I spent much of 2016 injured and feeling burned out. Consequently, I lost much of what I gained in previous years.  So I’m dedicating 2017 to rebuilding.

I decided I needed a plan. I did well in 2015 because I was following a training plan to prepare for my first half marathon. I also decided that I basically needed to start from the beginning and work my way back up. I knew I couldn’t start where I left off. I had to ease my way back in, to prevent burnout and injury. I also decided that I would work on one month at a time.

With that in mind, in December, I started to map out a plan for January.

I took the training plan I used in 2015 and stripped it down to the basics. I scheduled in run/walks, strength training, cross training, stretching, food prep, and rest. That might seem like a lot, but it’s not really.

I decided I would not worry about time or distance with my run/walks.  Some days I might be able to do more than others. Some days I might struggle a lot.  I lost much of the base I had, so I need to rebuild it.  Almost from scratch. The point is to get out there and do what I can.  After Christmas, I bought new running shoes, which I needed, as well as grips to help if it’s icy. I also have relatively easy access to the indoor track, so I really don’t have much of an excuse not to do it.

So that’s the first part of rebuilding. Run as much as I can. Walk when I need to. Just get out there and do it.

The strength training and cross training is similar. Do what I can. I don’t have a gym membership, but I don’t necessarily need one either. I know many exercises that don’t require being in a gym, and most require little to no equipment. I have a few things at home that I can use. And if there are days that I feel like I need more equipment, I can always pay the day rate at a local gym. Again, the point is to do what I can. And also not to overdo it. Every little bit counts.

Food prep has been a constant. It’s something I enjoy doing every week. I need to keep doing it, making sure I have plenty of healthy meals and snacks ready.

Rest and recovery are vital elements to any fitness plan. Something I need to remember.

The same goes for stretching. I need to incorporate that more. Add more moves to what I already know. There is always room for improvement.

It might seem like a lot, but it really isn’t. And I made the plan flexible enough that I can move things around when necessary. A few days in and things are going well. Towards the end of the month, I will map out the plan for February.

Much of this year will be devoted to rebuilding. My main focus is to get back into running and working out on a regular basis. This is something I really neglected last year. As the year goes on, I look forward to seeing the progress I will be making. I’m looking forward to doing great things.

Other things I am working on this year are reading more books, more meditation, more journaling, more writing, more positive thinking, more learning.  All of these things are part of rebuilding my commitment to being a healthier person.

I’m looking forward to a great year.

 

 

 

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Goodbye 2015

Well, here we are at the end of another year.

It’s certainly been an interesting one.  I upped my running game this year but faltered in other areas.  I’m still learning how to create balance.  It’s not easy.  I still struggle a lot.  I’m trying my best, but some days are really hard.  I still have days where I just want to give up.  Somehow I find the strength to push through, although I’m not sure how.  I’ve had to find a lot of strength lately, although I kind of wish I didn’t have to.  I know it’s all part of the journey, but some days I wish things were a little easier.

Anyway, let’s get on with reviewing the year…

At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself. Some big, some small.  Some fitness related, some not.  So how did I do with them? Let’s see …

First, I wanted to do more races. In fact, I set a goal of 10 races.  That might not seem like a lot, but for me it was.  I actually had my doubts a few times that I would be able to do it.  But I did it.

Second, I set a goal to do my first half-marathon.  This goal terrified me.  I chose a race in October so I’d have plenty of time to train for it.  After a lot of searching, I found a training plan that I thought would work for me.  I had to modify it a little, but I felt it was a good solid plan.  The training went well, and when race day arrived, I felt I was as prepared as I could be for it.  It was the hardest thing I had ever done.  Although it took me longer than I had anticipated, I did cross the finish line.  While I was physically prepared, I hadn’t really mentally prepared for it.  But I didn’t realize that until mid-race.  I gave everything I had to that race, and then some.  To be honest, sometimes I’m not sure I made it to the finish line.

I wanted to do more running this year, and I certainly did that.  I had to log a lot of kilometres in my training.  Once the race was over, though, I didn’t do much running.  I felt like I needed to rest and reboot.  In my training plan, I had built in a rest period after the race.  It ended up being longer than I had planned.  I did some short walks in the weeks after the race, but no running for several weeks.  When I did start running again, my heart wasn’t always in it.  I questioned myself a lot.  I did a lot of reflecting.  I came to the conclusion that I had given  so much to my training and the race, I was mentally exhausted and just needed a break.  I decided not to harp on it and just let myself rest.  I did do some running, but not very much.

I also wanted to get back into the gym.  While I did visit a gym here and there, I still have not joined another one.  I really do miss it.  I really do need to get a membership somewhere.  Circumstances just didn’t allow it this year.  Hopefully next year.

The other goals I had this year were relatively minor — read more, write more, spend more time with my friends.  I did read several books this year, so I’m pretty happy with that goal.  I love to read, so I always think I should be reading more.  There are several books I heard about this year that I want to read.  Hopefully I will get the chance to next year.  While I was training, I regularly wrote on my blog.  Once the race was over, I posted a couple of things but haven’t posted anything since.  Overall, I think I did pretty good with that.  I’m hoping I will do as good or better next year.  As for spending more time with friends, this one was hard.  Everyone is busy these days.  I tried many times, but to no avail.  Maybe next year will be better.

The one goal I continually need to work on is being hard on myself.  I think I did pretty good with that this year, but I know it’s an on-going thing.  It’s something I will always need to keep an eye on.

Overall, I think I did pretty good with my goals of the year.

So what else happened this year?

My job with Celebrate the Hero continued to grow.  I really love working there.  I’m continually learning new things.  It is so rewarding.  I hope things continue to go well there.

My husband and I took a short trip to Delaware this summer.  My dad got remarried, and I was able to spend time with some of my family.  Because we live so far apart, I don’t get to see them very often.  We stay in touch via Facebook, but it’s nice to actually see them. We took day trips to Philadelphia and New York City.  We crammed a lot into the few days we were there.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but at least we got to see them for a few days.

To be honest, not much else went on this year.  My training and race schedule took up a good portion of the year.  I spent as much time as I could at my favourite local coffee shop, Urban Escape.  They moved to a new location this year, but not far from their old one.  I really love that place.  I love that it feels so comfortable.  I love that everyone is so nice and friendly, especially Juliet, the owner.  It’s just a wonderful place to be.  I made a few new friends, which is always nice.  And I even reconnected with an old one.  Overall, it was kind of a quiet year.

Well, that’s it.

I hope you all had a wonderful year.

And I hope your 2016 will be a happy one.

 

 

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The County Half-Marathon (2015) – race recap

Fair warning, this will be a long post.

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this.  I definitely needed some downtime after the race just to recharge, both physically and mentally.

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I woke up Sunday morning with the typical pre-race nerves.  I’ve done enough races now that I knew I’d have them.  Truth be told, I’d been feeling them for a few days.  Although this time, the nerves were much stronger than they had ever been before.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering this would be the biggest race I had ever done before.

I was up earlier than would normally be for a race day, but I had to be.  It was going to take about an hour to get to the location, and they close the roads, so we had to be out there before that.  I showered and dressed, and then made my way downstairs for breakfast and coffee.  I added a few last minute things into the bag I was taking to the race.  And I made sure I had everything I needed in my race vest.  I took the time to do some stretching as well.  I like to do some stretching before a race because it helps calm me a bit.

Soon enough Karen arrived to pick me up.  We stopped on the way to race for coffee (for me) and tea (for her).  We made sure we had plenty of time to get there, just in case there was traffic.  As it turned out, there really wasn’t any, which meant we got to the location pretty early.  The way this race works is everyone parks where the finish line is and then you are transported by bus to your start line.  This race is a full marathon, half-marathon, and relay race.  Karen and I were both doing the half, and several other people we know were too.  One friend was supposed to do the full, but he injured himself and had to pull out.

The full marathon and relay start 2 hours before the half, which I think is a little weird.  If you think you will take over a certain amount of time for the full, there is an early start option.  There is no option for the half.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, it was finally time for us to board our bus.  As we were getting ready to get on the bus, I realized I left my belt bottle in Karen’s van.  I decided not to go back for it, thinking I’d be okay since there would be a water station about every 2 kms on the course.  We took the first one going to our start line.  Karen told me to go ahead of her, and we joked that she was going to block me from trying to run away LOL.  So we get to the start line, and we have over an hour wait until we run.  It seems like a ridiculous amount of time to wait! And all it did was give me more time to freak out.  I talked to other runners and paced around trying to keep calm, but it didn’t help that much.  I really was freaking out.  More and more runners were arriving and all that did was freak me out more!

As I was pacing around, I saw Tyler.  I didn’t know he had planned to run.  It was actually a great comfort to see him there.  We chatted for a few, and then he left to do his warm-up.  Finally it was getting closer to the time.  I checked my bag, as all the other runners were doing.  The first runners in the marathon were passing by, and everyone cheered.

The sun was mostly shining, which I was happy about, but it was very windy.  The wind made it cold.  Thankfully, I had gloves and a buff on.  I wasn’t sure if I would need to keep the gloves on throughout the race, but I was happy to have them at the start.

It was finally time to line up.  I stayed near the back, as I always do, out of respect for the faster runners.  Finally it was go time.  I was happy to finally going.  I had been going a bit crazy! All that wait time I had been questioning everything from my training to my sanity.

As I crossed the start line, I reminded myself of a few things:  This was my race, not anyone else’s.  Don’t out too fast.  No matter what, I had to cross the finish line.  Don’t worry about the time, worry about finishing.

There were a few people along the road cheering for the runners/walkers as they passed by.  I thought that was pretty cool.  There was a family with their dog, and as I went by, I said hi to them and the dog.  The dog seemed to want to join me in the race.  Everyone laughed.

The first part of the race was relatively flat.  I was totally okay with that.  I slowed to a walk at the first water station, grabbed a drink, and moved on.  The scenery was pretty.  I thought about pausing a couple of times to snap some pictures, but I never did.  As the course moved along the water, the wind really picked up.  I pulled my buff over the back of my head so my hat wouldn’t blow off.  It was mostly a head wind, which kind of sucked, but nothing I could do about it.  Slower marathon runners and relayers passed me.  We shared words of encouragement.  That’s always nice.

I paused at each water station I passed.  I was very happy they were there.  I thanked all the volunteers as I continued on.  I had to stop a couple of times to use the porta potties too.  Happy to see them there too!  I followed the fueling plan I had worked out in training, taking in a gel about every 2 kms. I made sure I had plenty of them with me, in case I needed extra.  Plus I had some chews as well.

Pretty soon, I was alone on the road.  And I knew I would be.  I was okay with that.  By most standards, I’m a slow runner, but I don’t care.  I had my music to keep me company as I was running, as I almost always do.

I continued to thank each group of volunteers I passed, and even the cops that were keeping the roads blocked for the race.  Buses continued passing me as they continued to take relay team members back and forth.

As I was going along, it seemed to me that there weren’t as many water stations as there should have been.  I figured maybe I just wasn’t paying attention to the kms as much.  I didn’t really think about it too much to begin with.  But as I neared the halfway point, 2 large trucks passed me with their backs open.  One I noticed had tables in it, like the ones at the water stations.  As I neared what should have been a water station, I saw the trucks stop.  A guy got out of truck, picked up the KM sign that was ahead and put it in the truck.  I started to freak out!  I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Karen, who I knew had already finished and was waiting at the finish line.  I explained what was happening and she went to  find one of the race people.

I also sent a text to my friend Jeff, who had been sending me texts since the race started.  I told him what was going on and that I was freaking out.  He did his best to calm me down, but it was difficult.  This was my worst nightmare! I was being left alone on the course!!

This was also about the point that the hills started on the course.  I had begun walking because Karen and I were texting back and forth.

A couple of kms later, I finally came across another water station.  It was being manned by a woman and her kids.  They were really nice.  I was so happy to see them!  Two of the kids decided to walk to the end of the road with me.  I thought that was really nice.  After I had passed them, the woman closed up her water station.  She gave me a bottle of water, which I greatly appreciated.  As I continued on, a cop came by in his car to tell me that the roads had been reopened and to remind me to stay to the side of the road.  I thanked him and continued on.  A little bit farther down the road, there was a guy stacking wood in his yard.  He asked me how I was doing and I said I was fine.  He asked me if I was going to finish, and I said “Hell yeah!” He laughed.

About another km or so, the woman from the water station came by in her car.  She offered me another bottle of water.  She said all the other stations have been closed up and she wanted to make sure I had enough water.  I took the bottle and thanked her.  I told her I was very upset about the water stations, and she said she was too.  I wish I had gotten her name.

I was pretty much only walking at this point.  I was really upset and trying not to completely lose it.  I was on the shoulder of the road, and it was hard to run on the gravel and dirt.  A few times, I wasn’t even sure I was going the right way.  Karen was going her best to keep me calm too, but she knew I was having a hard time out there.

A couple of times Karen texted me to ask where I was at.  I didn’t always know, which of course freaked me out too.  I told her at one point that there was a large hill just ahead of me.  I was beginning to wonder if the road ever ended.  I was pretty angry at the race people.  I did my best to use that to keep moving.

The lady from the water station came by one more time, just to make sure I was okay.  I thanked her again.  Another lady drove by, asked if I was okay and if I wanted a ride to the finish.  I told her I was okay, and no, I needed to finish.

I had to go up another hill and the road was curving, so I hoped that meant I was getting close to the final turn onto Main Street.  As I was heading up the hill, I saw Karen walking towards me.  I was so glad to see her! At least I knew I getting closer to the finish.  At least I hoped so.

My back was feeling a little sore.  And I thought I could feel a blister on my foot.  But I wasn’t going to give up.  I knew I had slowed down quite a bit, but I didn’t care.  I was determined to finish the race.

As Karen and I walked, we talked about how the race had left me out there alone.  What really made the both of us mad was that we had talked to them the day before at packet pick up.  The guy we spoke to guaranteed me that they would not shut down the water stations as long as someone was still out there.  But that’s exactly what happened.

As we got closer to the finish, a guy came up to us.  He was from the race.  He said that they had shut everything down at the finish line, and that they would contact me about getting me my finisher medal.  I became even angrier! I asked about my backpack that I had checked.  They said they had it.  I told him I needed it, that it had my glasses in it.  He called the lady who had it.  After a couple of minutes, he came back to us.  He said that he will go meet her to get it and my medal and meet us at the finish line.  Then he left.  I swear, I could have spit nails at that point!!

Thankfully, it wasn’t too much farther to the end.  As we finally neared where the finish line should have been, a man stepped out and started clapping.  I didn’t know who he was.  Once I crossed, he came up to me.  He said he was one of the bus drivers and had been watching me all day.  He said he stayed there waiting for me.  He said “everyone deserves to have someone cheering for them at the finish line.”  I was crying.  I thanked him repeatedly.  I told him he has no idea how much that means to me.  I wish I had gotten his name.

Finally, the other guy arrived.  He gave me my backpack and my medal.  Karen took a picture of me.  The guy asked me what my finishing time was.  I told him what my running app said, and he wrote it down.  He said it would be entered into the stats.  And he once again said that one of the race directors would be in contact with me.  Karen ran to the get the car,  I slowly got in, and we drove home.  I repeatedly thanked her for coming to my rescue and helping me finish.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done — both mentally and physically.  It was not the way I had hoped the race would go.  It was not the finish I had pictured.  I missed out on the post-race food, beer, and celebrations.  I missed getting an official race photo.  I’m angry that I was lied to and abandoned on the race course.  I had plenty of chances to give up, but I didn’t.

I crossed the finish line.  And had someone there to cheer for me as I did.  And that’s what matters.

 

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Half-Marathon training – Week 14 – The end.

Well that’s it. Training is over. Tomorrow is Race Day.

Seems like it was just last week that I was just beginning my training, and now it’s done.

I’m as prepared as I possibly can be.

What a ride it has been.

Here’s how the final week went:

MONDAY:  Rest day.

TUESDAY:  My schedule had me doing an easy run today, but I took another rest day instead.

WEDNESDAY:  Today was supposed to be a rest day, but I opted for a 3k power walk instead.

THURSDAY:  I opted for another 3k power walk again today.

FRIDAY:  With race day fast approaching, my nerves started to kick in, so I went walking, covering 6k.

SATURDAY:  Last day, another easy one, logging 2k.

My schedule had me doing 14.75k, and I logged 14k. I’m good with that.

So how did training go overall? 

I’m pretty pleased with how I did for the most part. 

Could I have done better?

In some areas, yes.

I didn’t do as much strength training as I should have.  It’s something I’ve been struggling with doing on my own.  When I belonged to a gym and had a workout partner, I did better with it.  But that’s another story.

I did pretty good with cross-training, but some weeks could have been better.

As far as the running went, I’m really happy with how I did. I covered a lot of kilometres. I mean A LOT! It got a little hard when my long runs got over 10k, but I kept pushing myself and refusing to give up. I had a few tough runs where part of me wanted to give up, but thankfully the bigger part of me just wouldn’t.  

I tried different fueling options throughout my training.  I actually enjoyed trying different gel flavours.  Speaking with runners on Twitter, I’ve found that gels are very polarizing, for the most part — people either love them or hate them. Very rarely is there anyone in between. Personally, I love them. They are easy to carry and easy to take. They provide much needed energy to keep me going.  There are several different brands, but I prefer the GU brand the best.  They have a wide variety of flavours, which I like.  I purchased several different flavours to use during the race.  I also tried some different chews during training.  There are not as many different flavours of those though.  I did pick up some for the race just in case.

I also trained with either plain water or Gatorade G2 red (fruit punch).  I prefer the Gatorade, and will use it during the race.  I will also take advantage of the water stations along the course.

During training, I purchased a few new pieces of gear.  First I bought running socks.  After running in them a few times, I concluded that they weren’t any better than my sport socks.  I’ll be wearing my normal sport socks during the race.  Next, I bought a belt bottle holder.  It wore it for a lot of training runs, and even a couple short races.  I really liked it.  It was easy to wear and the bottle easy to access.  I’ll be wearing it tomorrow too.  Lastly, I bought a vest.  I knew I would need something to carry my gels and things in during the race, and a vest seemed the best option.  The one I bought is actually a fishing vest, but it works perfectly.  I wore it on several training runs, even in the rain. It does exactly what I need it to, and will be wearing it tomorrow. 

As my training runs got longer, I had to get creative with my route. I wanted to make sure I stayed in areas I was pretty familiar with, that were well travelled in case of emergency, that had bathrooms nearby, and where I could get something to eat or drink if needed.  I saw a lot of the same people on my long runs.  And most of them were kind enough to share encouraging words.  They might not have any idea how much that meant to me.  It really helped when I was struggling.

I was reminded several times just how important it is to stretch.  More than once, I either didn’t do it, or didn’t do it enough, and paid for it.  Once on a long run, I felt my back tighten up.  It was a struggle to finish, but I did.  Once I did some stretching, I felt much better.  I need to remember to do it more often.

One of the things that really helped me through my training was the support I got from my family and friends.  Moments when I was struggling or was unsure if I could really do what I was trying to do, they were there to help pick me up and remind me that I could do it and how well I was doing.  That really meant a lot to me.

To finish, there are some numbers for you:

Weeks of training:  14

Number of kilometres ran/walked during training:  431.92k

Number of kilometres scheduled in my training plan:  356.5k

I ran/walked 75.42k more than I had to.  I’m pretty proud of that.  

And those numbers don’t include the month I did what I called my pre-training.  That’s another 124.89k.

So that’s it.

Nothing left to do but get a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow is Race Day.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 10

Another training week in the books. The humidity has been up and down lately, which makes it hard some days. I’m hoping the humidity will break soon so I can finish these last weeks strong.

Here’s how the week went:

MONDAY – Rest Day. Took care of stuff around the house.

TUESDAY – I pushed my distance a little farther than I needed to, ending with 7.2k

WEDNESDAY – I opted to take a walk for cross training this week. It was a nice day out, and not too humid. I even worked in a couple of hills on my 3k walk.

THURSDAY – brutally humid today, so I decided to run around the indoor track. It gets a little boring going around in circles, but I managed to hang in there for 6.7k

FRIDAY – I’ve been feeling a little sore lately, so I decided to do some stretching on my rest day. I also went up and down the stairs quite a bit while cleaning my house.

SATURDAY – Long run day. I had company from out of town, so instead of ending my long run at my favourite local coffee shop, I just looped back to my house. I think that made it a little tougher near the end (haha).  Once again, my longest run to date – 16.23k. 

SUNDAY – I woke up very sore from my long run on Saturday. My left foot in particular was pretty sore. I opted for another rest day. I don’t want to risk getting hurt.

My plan called for 34k this week, and I ended the week with 33.13k. Not too bad considering I took an extra rest day.

With my long runs getting longer each week, I’ve noticed I’m getting pretty sore. I’m trying to incorporate new stretches, but I’m not sure how much difference it’s really making.  I did some searching on google and Pinterest for stretches and strengthening moves for feet and ankles.  I’ll be trying them this week so hopefully that helps.

This week’s long run was particularly hard near the end. It felt like my back seized up a bit. The last 4 kms were particularly hard and very slow.  When I got back home, I laid on the floor on a yoga mat and did some stretching. It helped my back a bit, which was good. My feet really hurt though, and they were still a bit sore on Sunday.

A couple of interesting things happened on my long run this week …

1) I had run about 3k when I noticed a truck driving rather fast coming up the street.  As I neared and then passed me, the passenger leaned out the window and yelled something not very nice at me. It caught me off guard. On instinct, I yelled something back. Instead of getting upset about it, as the old me would most certainly have done, I got mad. I mean really mad! How dare they! I’m out there trying to better myself and they have the nerve to drive by and shout mean things. Cowards! I have more courage than they will ever have or even hope to have! I was angry about it for awhile. Well, until the next thing happened …

2) I had gone about another kilometre or so when I had to make a bathroom stop. I was near the local YMCA, as I knew I would be, so I stopped in. I’ve been there before, and they are always nice about letting me use the bathroom. As I was leaving, I stopped to thank the ladies again. They started asking me some questions about my running and my journey. I was happy to talk about it, as I almost always am.  They had some really nice things to say and made me feel so awesome. 

Several other people said nice, positive, encouraging things to me as I continued along on my run. They easily cancelled out the meanness from the incident early on my run.

Also on my long run, I was taking in an energy gel about every 2k. It really seemed to work well. I also made sure to drink often. I went through 2 large bottles of Gatorade and about a half of one of those bottles of water. I probably should have finished the water, but overall, I’m feeling pretty good about my fueling and hydrating as I’m running.

I think other than probably needing to do more stretching, my training is coming along quite well. 

I have 2 more long runs before I start tapering down my kms. 

Race Day is less than a month away. And I’m trying not to freak out about that.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 9

Another week done. And let me tell you, it was a bit tough. It’s not easy training in the summer. I can hardly wait for cooler temperatures and less humidity.

We were still away at the beginning of the week, but I managed to get all my runs in when we got back.

This is how the week went:

MONDAY – Normally a rest day, but we were still visiting family. We decided to spend the day in NYC. We had a great time, but it was a very long day.  We did a bus tour, but still managed to walk about 10k.

TUESDAY – We left early in the morning to head home, so it became a sort of rest day.

WEDNESDAY – Needed to get back on schedule, so opted to run instead of doing cross training.  Had a good solid run of 7.34k.

THURSDAY – I was up early to run again.  Seemed a little harder than it should have, but managed 7k. I also went walking in the afternoon, logging another 3.87k.

FRIDAY – Rest day. And did I ever need it! 

SATURDAY – Long run day. I was up early to get my run in, which I almost always do these days. Today called for 14.5k, but I stretched it out to an even 15k. Not gonna lie, it hurt a bit near the end. I struggled with the last couple of kms. After having coffee at my favourite shop, I walked the 1.5k home.

SUNDAY – I’m kind of used to getting up extra early to go running on Sundays. After my long run the day before, Sunday’s run was a little slower than I would have liked.  But I got it done, logging 6.86k to end the week.  And took a nice long nap too.

This week, the plan called for 34k.  My running totaled 36.2k, and walking totaled 15.37k, for a total of 51.57k for the week.

While visiting my family, I managed to find the vest I was looking for.  It’s technically a fishing vest, but it’s what I wanted.  It’s lightweight mesh with a dozen pockets of varying sizes.  I wore it running all this week and really liked it.  Now I want to find some reflective tape or fabric to add to it for safety.

I also found a couple new gel flavours to try, which I did this week as well.  I also bought some jelly beans, but haven’t tried them out yet.  They are just like chews, just in jelly bean form.

I also tested out some protein bars, but wasn’t really happy with them. I mean they tasted good, but a little hard to eat while running. I cut them into small pieces the second time, which worked a little better, but still not super happy with them.  

On my long run this week, I tried fueling about every 2k, and that seemed to work really well.  I also need to remember to drink regularly, which I’m not always good at. I have 3 more long runs before I start backing down the kms for race day.

I think that covers it for this week.  Check back next week for another update.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 7

HALFWAY POINT.

Wait! What? 

Halfway done? Really?? 

OMG! That means Race Day is only 7 weeks away!

Ok, can’t think about that right now. So much training still to be done.

This is how the week went:

MONDAY – My leg muscles were feeling pretty tight, so I decided to do a stretching session today.  And I combined it with a short upper body workout.  Felt pretty good.

TUESDAY – Today’s run was 6.64k, with another 1.4k of walking after that. Once again the humid had me out running early. Also did another stretching session and short upper body workout in the afternoon.

WEDNESDAY – Cross training on the elliptical again this week. 

THURSDAY – I pushed my run just a little bit farther today, finishing with 7.01k. Then walked another 1.42k.

FRIDAY – Rest Day. Thank goodness. 

SATURDAY – Long run day. The plan called for 11.25k. I managed to push a little farther and ended with 12.24k. My longest run to date. And it was hard. After some rest, I walked another 1.42k.

SUNDAY – Thankfully, the plan had me doing a short run today. Another 5.35k in the books.

Total for the week – 35.5k. My training plan called for 29.25k.

The humidity was a factor all week.  I was up early all week to avoid it as much as I could.  Most days, it was already a little humid when I headed out.

Monday night, I only slept about 4 1/2 hours, which is why I didn’t push my run in Tuesday too much.  I actually surprised myself a little by going out at all. 

The elliptical is my favourite way to do my cross training.  Sometimes I wish I had one in my house.

My long run this week was hard. It was already a bit humid when I headed out. But the temperature was still a little cool, so I didn’t feel it that much. I took 2 bottles of Gatorade with me, because I was pretty sure I would need it.  And I was right.  But that also meant I had to make a couple of bathroom stops.  I took chews with me for my fueling choice.  They seemed to work fine, but I didn’t have enough of them with me.  I was starving by the time I ended my run at the coffee shop.  I also had to stop twice to loosen my shoes. I think I tied them too tight before I left the house.  In the end, it was the longest in time and farthest in distance I had ever run. I was pretty proud of that. 

Sunday’s short run was a little slow than I would have liked. And I didn’t push the distance much farther than I needed to.  My long run really took a lot out of me.

Well that was my week.  Check back next week for another update.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 4

Wow, week 4 is done already.  Time is just cruising by.  A friend posted on his Facebook wall the other day that he wanted it to be October already.  I thought to myself “No way! I still have too much training to do!” 

This was another hot and humid week.  I don’t mind the heat so much, but the humid is a killer! So hard to run when it so humid.  I keep an eye on the weather as much as I can. If it’s going to be humid, I try to run as early in the day as I can. That’s not always easy.  And it’s going to be stormy, I will sometimes switch my days around.

MONDAY – Sunday had been stormy, so I switched days which meant I had to run today. It was humid which always made it a little harder.  But I managed to get in a 6.67k run, followed by a 1.43k walk.  Not too bad for a Monday LOL.

TUESDAY – another hot and humid day, but still managed 5.56k.  Normally I do my strength training on Tuesdays, but the run really wiped me out, so I pushed it to Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY – Cross-training day. I decided to try the rower today. I’d used one before but hadn’t in a long time.  I forgot how much of a workout it really is!  I did 2500m in 15 minutes, and was sweating buckets! I then moved to the AMT and did another 15 minutes.  And again, a heck of a workout!  Then I moved into strength training.  This week I did walking lunges (forward and backwards), squats, calf raises, push-ups, shoulder press, hammer curls, bicep curls, and lateral raises.  And to top it off, I did an easy 3k walk.

THURSDAY – I woke up a bit sore from Wednesday’s workout, but still did 5.41k.

FRIDAY – thank goodness for rest days! Wow, did I ever need it.  I was still sore from Wednesday.  I think there is a good reason strength training and cross training are on different days. 

SATURDAY – I almost always do my long run on Saturdays. And from now on, each week they will get a little bit longer.  It was going to be humid again and they were also calling for rain, so I got up extra early.  It wasn’t easy, but I was able to do 6.86k.  After having coffee at my favourite coffee shop and hanging out a bit, I also walked another 1.5k.

SUNDAY – big surprise, another hot and humid day.  Gotta love summer, right? Another day to get up extra early to go running.  Sunday’s are generally for shorter runs since long runs are on Saturdays.  I did 5.28k, and despite the humidity, it was a pretty good run. I was a sticky sweaty mess when I got home LOL.

I told a friend early in the week that the “easy” part of the training plan are over.  The first few weeks was mostly shorter runs, although I pushed the distance on almost all of them.  From now until the last week of the plan, no run is shorter than 5k; most will be 6.5k; and Saturday long runs will keep getting longer.  It’s the long runs that I’m most concerned with.  I’m relatively confident up to 10k, beyond that is way out of my comfort zone.  I will need to start mapping out routes to run for longer distances.

This week I also tried out some new gel flavours — Maple Bacon and Chocolate Outrage.  Both tasted good.  I would definitely try both again.  I also tried chews for the first time.  I bought strawberry flavour.  They were pretty good.  I want to try them a few more times to get a better idea on how well they work for me.

I was thinking this week that I really need to start looking into options of how to carry my fuel.  I’m thinking I’d like to try a vest of some sort, something with a few pockets.  Maybe one of those with a hydration pack as well. There are a few different brands of them out there.  It’s something I will need to go to the store to try on though. Hopefully I will get a chance to do that soon.

My training plan called for 19.75k, and I logged 35.71.  I had an extra day of running this week, which accounted for 8.1k of that.

That’s about it for this week.

On to Week 5 …

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Half-Marathon training – Week 3 

So another week is done. Time seems to be going by pretty fast!

This week was an interesting one because it was hotter and more humid than it had been.  Oh, the joys of training in the summer. 

Anyway, here’s the lowdown on what happened this week:

Monday – Rest day. I just chilled out most of the day. After two early morning runs, I felt like I needed and deserved a total rest day.

Tuesday – Another hot and humid day, but I managed 5.11km.  Normally I would push a little farther, but it’s hard to do that when it’s so humid out.  I also did 45 minutes of strength training and stretching.  It felt good.

Wednesday – For cross-training this week, I chose the recumbent bike and did a good 60 minute workout.  It had been awhile since I’d been on a bike and my legs were a little jello-like when I got done.  I also did a nice 3km walk since it wasn’t too humid for a change.

Thursday – Yet another hot and humid day. Part of me really wanted to stay in bed, but I made myself get up and go running.  Not gonna lie, it was tough. It was a short run day, but I pushed myself and did 6.25km.

Friday – Rest day again. Thankfully. Between the recumbent bike on Wednesday and the tough run on Thursday, I needed a rest.

Saturday – I had another local fun run to do. It was rather humid, but I got it done. They said it was 5km, but my Nike running app said it was 5.5km. 

Sunday – My plan had me running today, but the weather was not good.  Extremely hot and humid and a risk of thunderstorms much of the day. Even if I had gotten up at 5am to run, it would still have been very humid. I decided to switch today with tomorrow. I can run when it’s a little humid, but when the humidity makes it feel likes it is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, probably a good idea to hold off. Tomorrow’s weather looks better and not as humid.

My training plan called for 16.5km this week, and I managed 19.86km even without running today. Pretty good, I think.

I had a chance to stop at a running store this week.  It’s been awhile since I’d been to one.  I wish there was one closer to me.  Anyway, I picked up a few new gel flavours to try and some chews as well.  I’m looking forward to trying them out.

I got a few new strength training moves and stretches from the books I checked out of the library last week.  I’ll be returning those this week and maybe getting a few more.  I got a foam roller at Christmas, but I haven’t used it much.  I really want to learn more on how to use it properly, and actually use it! A lot of runners I talk to on Twitter use them and love them.  Maybe I’ll find some books at the library on how to use a foam roller.

Well I think that’s about it for this week.  Kind of uneventful really, but still a pretty good week.

On to Week 4! 

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The ups and downs of training alone 

Since I started this new training plan, I’ve been thinking a lot about working out alone vs working out with a partner.  There are good and bad points to both.  I’m sure anyone you ask will give you different reasons for one over the other.

When I first started working out, I was always by myself.  Which, at the time, I think was good because I was just starting out and didn’t really know what I was doing and there wasn’t a lot I could do. I was shy, unsure of myself. 

When I joined my first gym, I was leery about working out around others, afraid of being judged and/or laughed at. The more I did it, though, the easier it got.  Not that I was working out with anyone, just working out around others.  My self-confidence was building.

I was really nervous when I first asked Tyler to take me on as a client.  But the more we worked out together, the easier it got.  I really enjoyed working with someone else, even if most of the time he was just showing me what to do and then watching me do it.  It was nice just having someone there.

Eventually, I got really comfortable around others in the gym, and even began working out with them when I wasn’t with Tyler.  It was nice having someone spot me or check my form to make sure I was doing it right.  I liked having someone to talk to, joke with, and learn from.

Then Tyler moved on, and the regulars at the gym did as well, so I was left to my own devices again.  So I know what it’s like to be with and without someone to train with.

In my opinion, these are some of the ups and downs of training alone …

The downs: 

1) Being alone.  Sometimes we all just need someone to be there.  Sometimes I just want some company, someone to talk to.  

2) Easy to skip a workout. Without someone expecting you to be there, it’s easy to say “just this once” when skipping a session.  And sometimes that can lead to skipping more than once.

3) No one to spot me or check my form. When working out alone, it’s sometimes hard to know if your form is correct. And if you need help with a heavier weight, there is no one there to help.

The ups: 

1) Not needing to rely on anyone.  Everyone gets busy from time to time, but if you’re working out alone, you don’t have to worry about that.

2) You can set your own schedule. You don’t have to work around anyone else’s schedule. You can workout when and where you want, and for how long.

3) You can do whatever workout you want. Self explanatory really.

There are times that I absolutely prefer to be alone when I’m working out.  It gives me time to think, to process.  I often work on blog posts in my head when I’m running.  I think about upcoming events.  Or I think about something new I want to try, whether it be a new activity or a new recipe.  I don’t have to worry about how fast or slow I’m going.  For the most part, I don’t have to worry about time.

But there are other times that I would really love to have someone else there.  Someone to cheer me on.  Someone to help me push a little harder.  Someone who is counting on me being there at a specific day and time.  Someone who I can bounce ideas off of or share concerns with.  Someone who can help make sure I’m doing things right, and maybe offer ways I can do them better.  Someone who is willing to share their ideas, experiences, concerns with me.  Someone who will listen.

I’ve chatted with numerous people on this subject.  Some are adamant that they only train alone; others will only workout with someone else; while others are somewhere in the middle.  Everyone has their own reasons for their answers.  Everyone’s workout style is different.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.  I can see the benefits of both.  I’ve personally experienced the benefits of both.  And I’ve also experienced the downside of both.  

For quite a while now, the majority of my training has been alone.  While I feel like my running has progressed pretty good in that time, I feel like my strength training has suffered.  Maybe “suffered” isn’t quite the right word, but I’m not sure what word would be better.  I made great strides in that area when I had a coach or a partner.  I don’t feel like I’ve done as well alone.  I’ve received a lot of encouragement and advice from various people, but it’s not really the same as having someone there.  Given the choice, on many occasions, I would definitely prefer to have someone to workout with.

And there are days when I’d love someone to run with, especially as I push myself to run longer distances.  I’m both excited and scared about doing my first half marathon.  Excited because it’s a new challenge, something I never thought I’d ever be able to do.  But scared/worried that I won’t be able to do it.  I worry sometimes that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this challenge.  Sometimes I think having someone run with me once in a while will help push me, especially on long runs. And I know I can use help with my strength training. I want to be as prepared as possible for race day because I know how big of a challenge it is.  In the end, no matter what, with or without a training partner, I will cross that finish line.

What about you? Do you prefer to workout alone or do you want/need someone else there? Why? 

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