Monday, January 31, 2011

Week 4

Monday - rest or xtrain

I've been struggling to find a way to keep Spinning in my schedule on the new training plan and Monday night seems to be the only time that works (bonus that my favourite instructor teaches Monday nights). That being said, Monday is my only scheduled rest/xtrain day so I will have to decide on a week-to-week basis if I should take the class, opt for something lighter or take the day off completely. Coming off a pretty light Week 3, I knew this would be a good time to squeeze in a class and it felt great to mix things up.

Tuesday - 20K medium-long (2 runs) with 4x2000 cruise intervals (tempo pace with 40 second "recoveries")

I started LT/tempo training in Week 1 with 3 x 2000 cruise intervals, followed by a 6K steady tempo (same distance) in Week 2. The cruise intervals are truthfully not much (if at all) easier physically with the super short breaks, but much easier mentally. I find that the intervals are a great stepping stone and confidence-booster for the steady tempo distance, so I decided to follow the same pattern with the increase to 8K. This week I ran 4 x 2000 and next week I will run 8K continuous.

I set out at lunch for the workout and found (to my dismay!) very sloppy sidewalks. After a very frustrating warm-up in the snow, I headed to my usual loop on some quiet streets so I would able to run on the road for the most part, but not the entire time. Each time I was forced onto the sidewalk, I had to work so hard and barely felt like I was moving. I also had to make a quick emergency pit-stop part way through (good times), which became a slightly extended break.

The plan: 2K warm-up, 4 x 2000m at target tempo pace (4:40-4:50/KM)* with 40s recoveries
*adjusted from original target of 4:50

The results:
4:50 - 4:41
40s recovery jog
4:46 (snow) - 4:40
pit stop
4:40 - 4:39
40s recovery jog
4:31 - 4:46 (snow)

Average tempo: 4:42/KM

After work it was time to complete the second portion of my medium-long day and I was glad to have a couple of friends to meet. They were doing their tempo run that evening, but I was able to join them for the warm-up, then do my own thing on the trail while they picked it up, and we re-connected for the cool-down. It was great to have the company and I know I would have had some trouble finding the motivation for a cold, dark run after the hard workout at lunch.

noon: 10.2KM (6.4mi) - 50:02 - 4:54/KM (7:54/mi)

eve:   10.4KM (6.5mi) - 1:01:31 - 5:55/KM (9:31/mi)

Wednesday - 10K easy

Wednesday night I was excited to meet up with my training group for our usual Wednesday night run club. A couple of girls wanted to run some extra ahead of time, so we met a bit earlier to add on a couple. The nice thing about running with the group is that there are so many people out running all kinds of paces so I can always find someone to run with at whatever pace I'm looking for that day. In this case, it was supposed to be a recovery run a.k.a. S - L - O - W. It was a fail in that department as I got caught up with some of the front runners. I kept trying to reel it in, but I let my legs get away from me. Not so smart when this run is sandwiched between my two workout days. I need to be more careful. That being said, I had a really enjoyable run and felt good.

13.3KM (8.3mi) - 1:15:21 - 5:40/KM (9:07/mi)

Thursday - 12K hills

This clinic doesn't typically include hill repeats as part of the regimen, but coach decided to mix it up a bit this time around so we get a taste of everything. I'm not much of a proponent for hill repeats myself*, but I decided to go along for the ride. We ran a ~3K warm-up over to one hill, finished 3 repeats, then a short run over to a second hill for another 3 repeats, followed by a cool-down jog back to the store. My legs felt pretty tired from the get-go, which was not a surprise since I'm pushing it quite a bit this week after a week of vacation. We tackled one hill at a time and before I knew it, the workout was done.

The distance ended up slightly shorter than planned, but Tuesday and Wednesday had both been longer so I didn't bother with my usual laps around the parking lot to round it off. ;)

11.5KM (7.1mi) - 1:04:55 - 5:39/KM (9:05/mi)

Friday - 10K recovery

I was running at lunch and I knew I didn't really have time for 10K at a slower pace, so I shortened it a bit, knowing I still had some distance in the "bank". My legs felt surprisingly good and I had a really hard time slowing down to a true recovery, but I ended up with a nice consistent run (only 8s difference between my fastest and slowest KM).

8.7KM (5.4mi) - 50:50 - 5:51/KM (9:24/mi)

Saturday - 8K easy

I met a friend for a jaunt around the neighbourhood, and ran a little longer than planned. The miles ticked by easily as we chatted away, not bothering to look at our Garmins at all. I love these runs sometimes!

10.3KM (6.4mi) - 57:08 - 5:33/KM (8:56/mi)

Sunday - 28K long run with 13K MRP

Perfect Sunday

30.0KM (18.6mi) - 2:47:08 - 5:34/KM (8:58/mi)

Total Week 4 Mileage: 94.4KM (58.7mi) 
Total time: 8:46:55
Average pace: 5:35/KM (8:59/mi)

Today I will be enjoying a rest day and an appointment with my favourite physio tonight. What could be better?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Perfect Sunday

But first - it was Girls' Night on Saturday! Dinner out, a big clothing swap and many shenanigans ensued.

We even played dress-up:

And the runners provided a realistic ridiculous demonstration:

As usual, the party continued long after I had to leave. Sometimes having a long run on Sunday morning really cramps my style! Luckily, I have awesome understanding friends who do their best to accommodate my lame schedule and don't tease me too much for always being the party pooper. 

I managed to get to bed at a reasonable hour, but the Sunday morning alarm still came early (doesn't it always?).

We were running from a local golf club where we would enjoy a delicious brunch after the run, organized by one of our runners who works there. The change of scenery was a nice as we started along the golf course paths (cleared specifically for us!) and headed toward quiet country roads. I could probably count the number of cars we saw on one hand.

It was another cold morning (though not quite like last Sunday), but the wind was light and the roads were clear - what a treat!

Hubs and I both had marathon race pace (MRP) on the schedule as part of today's long run, so we planned a route that would start with the others and veer off after a warm-up to run an out-and-back on flatter terrain. I also recruited our good friends P & U to join us us (well, they joined me; hubs is too fast).

We ran the initial 14K at a nice and slow pace before taking off for the 13K (8mi) MRP portion. My goal was 5:20-5:25/KM (~ 4:45 to 4:48 marathon). The results:

avg = 5:15/KM (8:27/mi)

The pace felt completely comfortable and we chatted away the entire time. I had been admittedly nervous about this run, but it turned out to be a great confidence-booster. We kept it on the conservative side for the first few, then gradually picked it up and eventually finished off by pushing it for the last couple.

Hubs, of course, was far ahead (and also had a great MRP run!) and turned around to pick us up once he had finished. After a cool down of a couple miles, we were back to the golf club to freshen up and dig into brunch.

30.0KM (18.6mi) - 2:47:08 - 5:34/KM (8:58/mi) 

Feels great to have my first 30K of this training cycle under my belt!

On the way home, we made a mini detour to the Adidas Outlet store. Don't you just love the smell of clearance running gear?

I just grabbed a couple of tees - my husband is the shoe whore in this family! (He likes them flashy!)

After some laundry and a trip to the grocery store, this afternoon/evening involves some serious couch time...  and possibly some chocolate covered almonds.

How was your Sunday?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foto Friday: Antigua!

Arriving in paradise

Greeted with welcome champagne and cool towels

The place was spectacular

Tea by the sea

A glass of wine with my toes in the surf

Reading RW... ON THE BEACH (haha)

Midnight chocolate buffet - I'm in heaven

Awesome restaurant on the water, shoes optional!

BBQ beach buffet - food served over ice in kayaks!

Mmmm daiquiri

Pool-side pizza

How I spent most of my days

After a post-run dip


Sunset on the beach

We rented a private cabana by the pool for a day

Pre-dinner wine on our balcony

Strike a pose


at the teppanyaki restaurant

I'm a little teapot?

Until next time...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. It's been pretty chaotic getting back into the swing of things since returning from vacation. I feel like I'm in a constant state of catch-up as I try to claw my way back into the routine of work and laundry and groceries and television. I've been trying to get caught up on everything I missed in bloggyville too - thanks for bearing with me!

2. Nutritionally, I have a lot of work to do. We had quite the indulgent week ("moderation" and "all inclusive" do not mix) at a time when I was still trying to make up for the holidays. It's amazing how easily the weight goes on when you work so hard to get it off. At the moment I'm feeling a bit like a blob and craving junk food like crazy. Isn't it about time for my first daiquiri? When does the buffet open? No more! The fridge is stocked with healthy goodness and I'm tracking on again, chipping away at the damage. It was a lot easier back on November/December when I wasn't in heavy training mode because I could get away with a greater calorie deficit. Now that I'm running a lot more and have key workouts to consider, I have to be more careful about eating enough.

Aron has a great post on food today: Foodie for a Day (thanks for satisfying my curiosity, Aron!) I think it would be fun to photograph and share my eats for a day, so you may be seeing something similar around here soon.

3. One thing I have not had an issue with is getting back into training. I was excited to look at my plan to see what's in store for the week and start tackling workouts. I had a great double on Tuesday (medium-long including tempo) and a nice run with the group last night. We have hills on deck with clinic tonight and lots more to come. Thankfully the extreme cold snap only lasted a couple of days and the temperatures have been a lot more reasonable - although the roads and sidewalks have been a mess! Is it Spring yet?

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!

Trip pics will be up tomorrow, so you may want to start addressing your hate mail now...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week 3 (running in Antigua!)

I didn't do a whole lot of "training" during our week in Antigua, but we did manage to run 6 mornings out of 7. We looked at some maps online and did a bit of exploring off the resort. The heat and humidity were a shock to the system and we quickly found ourselves huffing, puffing and sweating profusely. We didn't get very far, but it was still nice to see a little more of the island.
After almost every run, I took off my shoes to run a few laps barefoot on the beach. I felt it in my feet and calves by the end of the week, but loved every minute of the wind in my hair, salt on my lips and sand in my toes. After that, we marched straight into the surf for a refreshing swim. No better way to start the day!

Monday - 5.1KM (3.2mi) - 28:54 - 5:40/KM (9:07/mi)

Tuesday - 6.2KM (3.9mi) - 36:05 - 5:52/KM (9:22/mi)

Wednesday - 4.5KM (2.8mi) - 24:54 - 5:32/KM (8:54/mi)

Thursday - 7.6KM (4.7mi) - 43:37 - 5:46/KM (9:14/mi)

Friday - does this count as cross-training?

Saturday - 6.7KM (4.1mi)  - 37:36 - 5:38/KM (9:02/mi)

Sunday - 19KM (11.8mi) - 1:44:36 - 5:30/KM (8:52/mi)
(The freezing cold "welcome home to reality"  run.)

Total Week 3 Mileage: 49.1 KM (30.5mi)
Total time: 4:35:42
Average pace: 5:38/KM (9:03/mi)

It's not much, but it was a planned recovery week and totally worth it! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011


After a truly amazing week in Antigua, we got home late last night to a harsh dose of reality. We quickly traded the flip flops and sunscreen for winter boots and mittens. Hubs was in denial at first:

For the record, it was -11C (12F) when we arrived in Toronto. Quite an adjustment from 30C (86F) in sunny Antigua. *sigh* (I know you're probably not feeling too sorry for me right now.)

We finally walked in the door at 10:30 PM, shoved our bags out of the way and collapsed in bed. By this time we were both having second thoughts about our plan to get up early and meet the group for a long run. Sleeping in, having a lazy morning at home and getting a head start on laundry seemed a lot more appealing. Somehow we found the motivation to get up, bundle up and show up for the run.

There was an extreme cold weather and wind warning, with an actual temp of -22C (-8F) and a biting "real feel" of -30C (-22F), the coldest weather I can ever remember running in. Considering we were on the beach less than 24 hours prior, it was quite a shock to the system.

Given the conditions, we collectively decided on a shorter run (19K/11.8mi) consisting of three separate loops starting and ending at the Running Room, so we were never too far from un-frozen water and warmth if needed. Breaking the run up this way also made it a bit easier to handle mentally, but it was far too tempting to call it quits after each loop. The cold was excruciating, especially on my face which was only be covered so much. Somehow, with a little complaining and a lot of support, we made it through.

And now I'm ready to go back to the beach!

More trip pics to follow!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week 2

Monday - 6K recovery

Although Monday would typically be a rest or xtrain day, I added a recovery run since we would be travelling Saturday and I wouldn't be able to fit in a run that day. I expected heavy and tired legs, but I actually felt pretty fresh and had to concentrate on slowing down while running errands.

6.0KM (3.7mi) - 35:06 - 5:51/KM (9:25/mi)

Tuesday - 18K medium-long (2 runs) with 6K tempo

Tempo Tuesday!

Lunch - 10.0KM (6.2mi) - 51:08 - 5:07/KM (8:14/mi)

Eve - 7.9 KM (4.9mi) - 43:11 - 5:28/KM (8:48/mi)

Wednesday - 10K recovery

I had a late afternoon appointment with Dr. Pain for some maintenance and knew I would be in no conditions to run afterwards, so I hit the gym early in the morning for my recovery run. I always find the first mile or two on the treadmill to be complete torture. I feel stiff, sore, awkward, tired and bored. Thankfully it usually passes and I find a groove around the third mile. This run was particularly boring since I wasn't playing around with the speed as I usually do. I just punched in my recovery pace and plugged along. I ended up calling it quits a mile early because I was running a bit late and knew I had a slow (snowy) drive to work ahead.

8.05 KM (5.0mi) - 48:18 - 6:00/KM (9:40/mi)

Thursday - clinic (I didn't have a plan b/c I wasn't quite sure what we would be doing)

On Thursday night we had a gentle introduction to speed work with the group. We all headed over to the local trails where we broke into our respective pace groups and ran three sets of strides at the end of our warm up. The workout was just 3 x 4 minutes at a "moderately difficult" pace. I wanted to keep it on the easy side since I would be completing my long run in the morning, so just tagged along with the group and made sure I wasn't working too hard. I was talking away and didn't bother to record the splits.

9.24 KM (5.74mi) - 51:19 - 5:33/KM (8:56/mi)


Friday - 29K long

Remember that time I ran 18 miles to work?

29.1 KM (18.1mi) - 2:44:16 - 5:38/KM (9:05/mi)

Saturday - off (travelling)

We're off to the beach!!!! (Have I mentioned that??)

Sunday - TBD

Week 2 Total (up to Friday): 70.3 KM (43.7mi)

I'm hoping to bump that up with a hot and sunny run in Antigua on Sunday. We packed our running gear and even mapped out a few routes from the hotel. Hopefully we'll be doing some exploring on foot! I'll check back in when we return...


Sunday - We ran from the resort to "down town" St. John's and it was the perfect way to explore a little bit of Antigua. The heat and humidity were pretty intense, but it was the perfect way to start the day - especially followed by a quick dip in the ocean.

11.7 KM (7.3mi) - 1:08:45 - 5:52/KM (9:27/mi)

Updated Week 2 Total: 82.0 KM (50.9mi)
Total time: 7:42:03
Average pace: 5:38/KM (9:03/mi)

See you in a week!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Lived to tell the tale

I made it. 18 miles on foot to work, the majority of which in a straight line.

There were some challenges: water completely froze in my Nathan Intensity Hydration Pack straw after about 5K, roads/sidewalks more messy than anticipated, sidewalk completely disappeared at one point when traffic coming toward me was heavy.

But I made it in one piece, felt pretty decent and have a good story to tell. :-)

I really enjoy point-to-point runs and didn't find it mentally tough at all to run along one road the entire time. I enjoyed picking out the landmarks that I always see on my commute to work. Interestingly, "almost there" by car doesn't quite feel the same on foot.

It's a pretty awesome feeling to know that I just replaced a frustrating 40-minute commute with a pretty awesome run. But I have to say, I have probably never been so happy to arrive at the office.

Walking in the door wearing full running gear complete with safety vest and blinky lights, responding to questioning looks from co-workers by explaining that I just ran here: priceless.

One thing I neglected to consider - now I have to work for 9 hours. ZZZZZZZZZZZZ!


29.1 KM (18.1mi) - 2:44:16 - 5:38/KM (9:05/mi)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. Thanks to everyone who entered the Sof Sole Giveaway. The lucky winner is:

lilmeg at Worth a Tri

Congrats and thank you Sof Sole!

2. Bedhead meets Emz:

I hope she doesn't sue me.

3. I may have mentioned that we leave Saturday morning for Antigua (eeeeee!) and I'd like to squeeze in my long run first. Tomorrow I will attempt the unthinkable: barring any unforeseen circumstances (i.e. weather) I will be commuting to work on foot - approximately 29 KM (18 miles), 27 KM of which will be run in the same direction on the same road. I've done this once before, only that time hubs drove me part way to shorten the route. And it wasn't January!

Needless to say, there is some preparation is involved. Clothing, "shower" essentials, food and my car need to be left at work today. I was able to able to borrow some safety gear from a friend since my collection is non-existent sparse. I also let a couple of co-workers know just in case they have to come looking for me!

Hopefully I'll be back with a good story tomorrow...

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tempo Tuesday + Lunch Running Revolution

Feeling sick last Tuesday foiled my plans for a triumphant return to Tempo Tuesdays, but I was able to make up for that yesterday!
Tuesday is also medium-long day this time around, which means tempo run at lunch and another run after work to finish off the miles. Whew!

I was nervously anticipating my first continuous tempo run of this cycle, and "lunch" couldn't get here fast enough. I was out the door before my co-workers could start fighting over the microwave.

The plan: 2.5K warm-up, 6K tempo @ 4:50/KM, 1.5K cool-down


I have a bad habit of taking off like a rocket, so I looked down frequently during the first little bit. I kept seeing paces in the 4:15-4:20 range - whoooooahhh! (5K pace of my dreams, but definitely not tempo pace.) It took good couple of kilometres to find the pace without staring at my Garmin constantly, but once I found it I was cruising. The last few kilometres almost felt too easy. (Did I really just say that?) I need these to feel "comfortably hard", but this one was definitely closer to "comfortable". How could I tell? I wanted to keep going. Hubs says that means I should be running them faster. *gulp*

The splits: 4:50, 4:52, 4:45, 4:46, 4:45, 4:40 (no breaks!)

Average tempo pace: 6K (3.7mi) @ 4:46/KM (7:40/mi)

After work, I rounded out my medium-long day with another run. My legs felt pretty decent, surprisingly, as I ran around the neighbourhood for 7.88 KM (4.9mi).

That's 11.11 miles on 1/11/11. I can't help it - I'm a numbers nerd!


I think I've mentioned before that my new shorter hair cut is really not conducive to lunch runs. Without the option of throwing it into a ponytail, I seem to end up looking like a haggard mess after a run. (In case you're new - there are no showers here!) Winter hat-head combined with sweat-head is just not a good combination. Click here to see what it typically looks like after a run.

It's almost as bad as bed-head.

I discovered that the private washroom has an electric socket and I had an idea: I decided to bring my blow dryer and straightener along. (the bag just keeps getting heavier!) I'm sure my co-workers are wondering what the heck the racket is as they walk by the washroom door - but then, I don't think anything surprises them anymore.
It's not ideal, since I am essentially blow-drying the sweat directly out of my hair (yummy), but it seems to do the trick. I'm a bit more presentable, even if I'm no cleaner. Wouldn't you love to come work beside me??

Last day to enter my Sof Sole Giveaway!