Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Week 13

Total Miles This Week: 34.75
Total Miles Overall: 321.25 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Tuesday: 5.75 Miles (5 miles slow- 10:00 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- 8:58 avg pace)
Friday: 9 Miles (10:06 avg pace)
Saturday: 6 Miles (10:08 avg pace)
Sunday: 14 Miles (8 miles steady-10:20 avg pace, 4 miles fast- 9:42 avg pace, 2 miles steady- 10:40 avg pace)

This week was PEAK WEEK! Aka- the hardest week of training with the most mileage. After Sundays run I started tapering to get my legs ready for my Oct 18th race! The hardest part of training is over!!!

I was really worried about mastering this week, however. On Tuesday I started to come down with a bad cold- sneezing, sore throat, swollen glands- the worst!! My general remedy to ward off colds is Oil of Oregano. I take 4 drops in a glass of orange juice every morning from the moment I start feeling "off". It works like a charm! Generally I am REALLY tired and worn out for a couple days and then I am back to 100%. I did my Tuesday run as the cold hadn't really sunk it's teeth in yet, and then I basically slept Wed/Thurs. On Friday I felt about 95% so I got out there and thankfully I completed all my runs so I am still on track with training!

My main rule for running while sick is to listen to your body and see if I need to rest vs just sniffling but otherwise fine. Also, I wouldn't run if the issue was below the neck- don't mess with lungs or stomach! So on Tuesday and Friday I felt fine, just had a bit of a runny nose, so out the door I went! I also packed some tissues in my running belt, but never needed them. Running seems to be a great way to clear the sinuses!

I am now getting super excited for race day to get here! I have done everything possible to prepare and I am READY!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Trimming the Den

Big news- I finally finished the den!!

After months of procrastination I finally got around to installing the trim along the top of the built-ins and along the baseboards at the back of the room. I'm not sure what took me so long- I even bought the trim ages ago. It only took me two evenings to knock out- one to cut and attach all the trim to the top of the units (I used glue and taped the pieces to hold them in place) and then another night to caulk it all up and make it it look pretty. It ain't perfect, but it is done and I am proud of it!

Please pretend I don't have popcorn ceiling

I am simply loving all the storage in here- though I do plan to go in and purge a whole lot of stuff. But it is nice that the lower half of these built-ins have concealed storage so I can get away with being lazy on the whole purging thing awhile longer ;)

I also installed a grommet in the lower left of the middle bookcases so that the printer can be plugged in discretely to the outlet in the lower half of the unit. I just bought a white grommet off Amazon and then borrowed a hole saw from my dad. 10 minutes of labour and a couple of bucks and my wireless printer is sitting pretty!

You may also have noticed that I painted the den too!

Ya...okay it is hard to notice. haha. I painted it the same light greige of the rest of the condo. I really wanted to paint the room something fun, but the room is slightly too large for a quart of paint, but way too small to spend $40 on a gallon of I just cheaped out and painted it with paint I had on hand. Oh well. Looks way better painted than unpainted and I can always repaint one day!

Lastly, I recovered the chair in some fun geometric fabric that ties in well to the desk and filing cabinet. And I hung my degree and skydiving certificate up with some old wall art from the old condo. Nothing like shopping around the house for things to hang! The paintings and frames actually tie in really well with the mint and red theme that has evolved in here, so that's nice! Eventually I would like to put a big mirror on this wall as I now do my makeup in here, but I haven't found the one yet.

All in all, I really love this little room and I get a lot of use out of it! It is also my woodworking room (though there will be much less woodworking from now on) and my sewing room!

Eventually I plan to get a new light fixture in here as I broke the old one when building the shelves so there is only a bare bulb on the ceiling. I also think I may upgrade the chair down the line, but I have been in a very cheap mood lately and I already have a perfectly good chair, so we shall see on that. But basically this room is done for all the big stuff so it will just be tweaking from here on out!

Oh, fun fact and for everyone who keeps telling me how handy I am- this is how many wrong cuts I made trying to install that ceiling trim:

I think I am more stubborn than handy :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

How Not to Get Bored When Running

I was having a chat with some friends last weekend about my run training and when I mentioned that some of my runs are 2+ hours long, they were shocked. Neither of them minded running as an exercise in and of itself, but they claimed running was incredibly boring to them. This actually kind of shocked me because I don't get bored on my runs! Here is how I keep my head in the game:

1. Get off the Treadmill

I really don't like the treadmill. I am instantly sweating on it, no matter how air conditioned the gym is, and it is boring. The only fun would be if my gym had personal TVs, but it doesn't and usually sports is on the shared TV and there isn't even sound. Bo-ring. I like running outside- lots of sights and sounds and obstacles to keep your mind active. I am always telling Cam about things I saw on my run- ducklings, a 3 legged dog, a pretty sunset, ten thousand teenagers in line for a concert, etc. It is much more enjoyable being outside! I am going to TRY and keep running outside during the winter. I am a wimp, so we shall see.

2. Find a Good Playlist

I am constantly tweaking my playlist. I google around for good running songs (catchy with a beat is key for me). I like to browse  for inspiration. Basically, I like every song to be an upper and to amp me up even more than the song before. Recently I discovered Girl Talk and it is amaaaaazing. Just one long mashup of all the best and catchiest parts of hip hop and pop songs. LOVE IT.

3. Audiobooks

I have listened to a lot of audiobooks this summer as I run. I get them from this magical free source called "the library". I love them! I didn't know if I would be able to concentrate on listening while running, but I get totally lost in the book and barely pay attention to my legs. I would love some recommendations for new books? New releases often have a long waiting list, so older books are better :)

4. People Watching

I run along a paved path that hugs the waterfront for 95% of my runs. There are a lot of other runners, bikers, and pedestrians out there and I like to challenge myself to pass people. Or I just imagine what they are like and how they got to be on the same path as me that day. Sometimes I judge their choice of clothing (sweater?? I'm dying of heat!). Sometimes I envy their bodies and use it as motivation (though my addiction to sugar will surely eliminate any chance of abs). People watching is good fun!

5. Imagination

Sometimes I just think about stuff. I think about a problem at work, or what colour I want to paint my den, or I imagine what my life will be like in the future. Sometimes I just come up with ridiculous day dreams of myself being in perilous situations, which actually gets the adrenaline up and I run faster!

6. Running in Intervals

I have no shame in taking walking breaks. In fact, I often find my overall pace is faster if I take the odd break to rest my legs. The best part about this is I never leave my home thinking "I need to run for 2 hours". Instead of head out and think "I need to run for ten minutes". Sometimes I keep running when 10 minutes is up. Usually I walk. I always allow myself to make the choice- without any shame- at any time ending in 0 on my run. It really breaks up the long feeling of a long run and I never get discouraged if I am tired, but not even half done- just 10 more minutes to go!

7. Sign up for Races!

And lastly, I think the most important way to keep from being bored at running is to challenge yourself. I love my training plan because there are all these concrete goals to hit and I feel really proud completing a particularly difficult run. I actually have trouble sleeping the night before big run because I am so excited to set a new record for myself. Races help keep me on track- knowing that I have set myself a goal and not wanting to fail at it when race day comes around.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Week 12 Training and Terry Fox Run

Total Miles This Week: 32.75
Total Miles Overall: 286.5 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Tuesday: 5.75 Miles (5 miles slow- 10:26 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- 10:02 avg pace)
Thursday: 8 Miles (10:22 avg pace)
Saturday: 5 Miles (10:10 avg pace)
Sunday: 14 Miles (9:17 avg pace)

My earlier runs this week were a little slower than normal- I was recovering from the half marathon last weekend I think. I was really surprised with how my recovery went after that run too- A real race where I pushed myself- I had just a little tightness in my calves, but no pains or anything! High five! The 8 miles on Thursday was rough. I found myself quite worn out after getting home from it and crashing early. 

This past Sunday I ran my 7th Terry Fox Run! The Terry Fox Run at my chosen run site (Wilket Creek Park in Toronto) is a 10km run, but I had 14 miles (22.5km) on my training radar for that morning. By complete coincidence, the park is about 13km from my home so I just got up early and ran there!

The run was actually really enjoyable-except for some phone issues I will get to later. I started off at 7:00am running across King St from my end of town, through downtown, and then on the Lower Don Valley Trail. I felt great and running through downtown as the sun was coming up was very nice. I wouldn't want to run there any other time of day due to crowds. The weather on Sunday was perfect for running too- sunny but nice and cool. 

When I got to the end of King and hit the Don Valley River, I headed down some stairs to take the Lower Don Valley Trail up to the run site. At this point my phone started acting up. It has taken to turning off at random and so I had actually packed a portable charger in my running belt to get it to turn back on. It was really annoying because obviously my running app was not able to properly track me on this run, but oh well. I really enjoyed running along this path- not a traffic light in sight to slow me down!

About an hour into my run I started to get a little nervous because I should have hit the end of the Terry Fox Run route about then. I started checking my GPS (which slowed me down) and eventually the GPS showed that my path was going to take me east and then end. do I get north?! I was stuck on this wrong path!! I ended up finally finding a service road and getting to Don Mills Rd, which I ran on the shoulder of (thank god for Sunday morning traffic), until I could get back to civilization. Turns out apple maps was just missing some of the trails and if I had stayed on the trail I would have found where I needed to go. Oh well. No real harm done! I think it took me 9 miles to get here, but as I said my app wasn't tracking properly due to the phone continuously turning off.

Finally made it to Wilket Creek!
I got to the run site right on time- enough time for a bathroom break and to hand in my registration before the opening ceremonies. Then I listened to the opening talks (Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mayor John Tory were there!) and did the group warm up- then a little after 9am we were off to run 10km! Unfortunately about 6 or 7km in my phone turned off and would NOT turn back in. I was worried because Cam was picking me up and I needed to contact him to arrange where to meet! Thankfully I left it plugged in and about 10 minutes later it just turned on all by itself! I think it was having trouble registering the charger? I finished strong around 10:15am. I THINK I actually ran 15 miles total and I THINK it took around 2:20. My app says I went 14 miles in 2:10, but it wasn't recording properly for some large chunks of time. 

The pace spikes around mile 6 are when I was lost and that dip at the end is when my phone gave up on life for 10 minutes

Oh well- it was a really good run and my legs felt good and strong the whole time, so that was great! After the run I was ravenous (my app says I burned 1600 calories), but the Terry Fox Run is full of amazing food by their sponsors so it is a great place to end a long run! I wolfed down a hot dog, a whole ear of bbq corn, a bag of chips, and I got some reece's peanut butter cups for later. I did not take any photos of my well deserved binge- my mind was focused only on eating. My usual Terry Fox teammates weren't able to make it this year so I was riding solo so I didn't stick around and just went to go meet Cam after stuffing my face :)

I also want to mention that I got a new running belt which I tried out for the first time on Sunday! It is a flipbelt and I really liked it. Totally comfortable the whole run (I tried it on in the store beforehand), and it held my phone, charger, keys, a mini Clif bar, and some ID, money, and registration papers. Everything was secure and didn't bounce at all. Felt like I was wearing nothing at all! I am also getting an iphone 6+ in a couple weeks to replace this stupid phone and the reviews all said this belt holds that model well and won't feel like I'm running with a tablet. And until then it can easily hold my phone charger, which is nice. The running belt was $40, so not cheap, but definitely something I will get a lot of use out of

All in all, a great morning and a great run for a great cause! I raised about $1120 (a new record for me!) and there is still time to donate if you forgot- just go here!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Nadia Lloyd presents: Women of Toronto

If you remember waaaay back in May I did some modelling for a local artist named Nadia Lloyd. Well I am happy to say that her new campaign to highlight various real women of Toronto launched this summer and last week my photos and bio were featured!

You can check out the article (and articles on some of the other women- one goes up every week) HERE

I think they made me sound way cooler than I am ;) but it was very exciting seeing it go live and I loved the photos they got! Fun fact- during the shot of me sitting, someone was holding my leg up :). And the background really was that crazy yellow- it was a feature wall in a condo building where we had the shoot.

I was their pillow model mostly, with most of the other women doing shots in Nadia's skirts and leggings, but I also did some shots with some scarves and clutches that Nadia designed. I had to sashay my way down the street in high was probably very entertaining. And it was very hot that day and I was roasting in my fake leather coat!!

Nadia herself is really nice and the team she was working with was amazing. It was a lot of fun, and definitely outside of my comfort zone- which is a good thing!

I still love my Nadia Lloyd pillow that I got as a gift for helping out with the campaign! I recommend you check out her artwork, pillows, and clothing line. Her style is very edgy and graffiti-esque with bold colours. A great look for those with a modern style!

Anyway, I just wanted to share this campaign with all of you because it was very fun to participate in, and I really do like and want to share Nadia's art! Plus, things have been a little quiet around this blog this summer (too tired from running, I think). But I will have an update on the den soon, so stay tuned for that! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

MEC Toronto Half Marathon!

Total Miles This Week: 32.25
Total Miles Overall: 253.75 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Wednesday: 5.75 Miles (5 miles slow- 10:02 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- 9:15 avg pace)
Thursday: 8.5 Miles (9:57 avg pace)
Saturday: 5 Miles (9:45 avg pace)
Sunday: 13.1 Miles (9:13 avg pace)

I ran the MEC Toronto Half Marathon this weekend! As part of my training, I am running a lot of 13 and 14 milers leading up to my big race on October 18. This is because my training plan is for time, not just to finish, so it is getting me comfortable with the distance. A few weeks ago I was chatting on twitter with Jeanette from This Dusty House and she said she was running the MEC half marathon on Sept 13th and I should join. I had to run 13 miles that day anyway, so why not! The fee to enter was only $20.

I think entering this race was very smart as I made a few mistakes that I will be sure to rectify before Oct 18th:
1) Do not sleep in, then take a nap, then down a giant bottle of coke with dinner the day before your race. You will be up until 2am 
2) Do not ride your bike 8km to and from a half marathon unless you've packed extra legs. 

Actually, other than those two things, it all went pretty smoothly. I got up around 6:30am, too excited to sleep any later. I had a bagel and peanut butter with some green tea and packed up all my stuff and was out the door at 7:45. It was a really cold, windy, and rainy morning, but I biked on over to the starting line at Tommy Thompson Park. Thankfully the rain let up before the race started! I wore pants, but left my sweater and raincoat in my bike bag and locked everything up. I was a little worried about running in long pants as I hadn't trained in them, but other than being a little too warm it was all good!

I met Jeanette and her family around 8:30am at the start of the race. The two of us had never met in person before, but she is awesome. I ate a Clif Bar while we waited to keep my energy up during the long run. I had also packed a Gatorade, that thanks to the cool weather lasted the whole run. Thank god it wasn't a hot and humid day!

At 9:00am we were off! Jeanette and I soon drifted apart and I put on an audio book to keep me company. The race was an in-and-out run to the end of the Leslie Spit, repeated twice, so I actually saw Jeanette 3 more times as we passed each other, which was fun!

I was doing really well, keeping around a 9:00 min/mile pace, which is REALLY fast for me and would mean a sub-2 hour finish. I was worried I was going out too strong, but surprisingly half way through I was still keeping it up! The course was really windy at times, but relatively flat so not too tough. Then at the 1 hour mark disaster struck- my phone just turned off and wouldn't turn back on! I have been having battery issues, but it was 100% fully charged! ARGH! I have never run without music or a book before and now I had nothing to keep pace with too :( I found the 2nd half really hard because of this- I didn't know when to take walking breaks or if I was going too fast or too slow. Plus most of the km markers had blown over in the wind.

Finally the finish line came into sight and I gunned it and finished in 2:00:38!!!!! They actually had the chip times printed off right there soon after you finished so that is indeed my official time :). I actually also think I ran farther than 13.1 miles too. It was a very muddy/puddly course and you had to do a lot of weaving to keep your feet dry.

All in all, I really enjoyed the race (moreso the first half, when I still had my running app and audiobook). For $20, the course was well marked, had lots of water stations, and had only a few hundred runners so it never felt crowded. There were no medals or technical shirts, but I was fine with that. And I am SOOO happy with a 2 hour finish! That knocks 11 minutes off my 1/2 time from 2 weeks ago! I am definitely going to aim for a sub 2-hr time for my half in October!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fundraising for the Terry Fox Run 2015

Next weekend I will be doing my 6th Terry Fox Run at Wilket Creek in support of cancer research with the Terry Fox Foundation. I look forward to this run all year...mostly because of the free food. So much free food. But I also love the trail there and spending my morning supporting a good cause! I believe in the past 6 years my friend and I have raised almost $7000!

If you don't know who Terry Fox is, he is a young man who lost a leg to cancer and decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research. Unfortunately, half way through his run the cancer came back and he passed away before getting to finish it. His one dream is that others finish the run for him- and we have been for 35 years!! I was actually lucky enough to meet Terry Fox's Dad at last year's run!

This year, I am training for a half marathon (have I mentioned that here? ha!), so I am actually going to be running TO Wilket Creek and then completing the 10km Terry Fox Run, for a cumulative distance of 22-23km.

The Terry Fox Run is actually where my hobby of running developed, when I ran 5km of it in 2010. I said I was going to run the full 10K in 2011, but never trained. Then I tried to run 5km again in 2012 thinking it would be as easy as it was in 2010, but it was SO hard and the worst run ever. After that, I decided to actually try to improve my running skills and signed up for the 2013 SportingLife 10K...and now the rest is history :)

My first 5K!
Anyway, I would love it if you would take a couple minutes today and donate to my run! I am hoping to raise $1000 for the Terry Fox Foundation this year!

Here is the link:

Thank you!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Week 10

Total Miles This Week: 23.75
Total Miles Overall: 221.5 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Wednesday: 4.75 Miles (4 miles slow- 9:52 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- 8:59 avg pace)
Friday: 6 Miles (10:37 avg pace)
Saturday: 5 Miles (10:13 avg pace)
Sunday: 8 Miles (9:58 avg pace)

This past week was a HOT one, which thankfully coincided with a "rest" week for running. After this my mileage amps up again to crazy levels so it was nice having a shorter-mileage week. Except I feel like I pushed my pace this week so my legs are tired anyway.

I am learning how to run in the heat, though! I thought I would shares some tips

1. Water. water water water water water. Stay hydrated. For longer runs, I drink sports drinks
2. Sunscreen! I wear SPF 30 designed for sports, no matter what time of day I am running
3. Proper clothing. I wear materials that wick sweat and are designed for working out. I generally wear shorts (3 1/2" pique mesh shorts from Old Navy are my favourite) and a light technical Tshirt. I prefer a tee over a tank top for sun protection. I also wear a Buff with sunscreen under it to protect my scalp. I probably should also be wearing a hat with a brim, but I generally just wear sunglasses. Oh, I also wear running socks vs regular socks!
4. Try and time your runs for off-peak sun hours. I am not so good at the early mornings, so I run after work during the week. I try to wait until closer to sunset to avoid the worst of the heat and sun. I don't like running in the dark so I generally am home shortly after sunset. On the weekend I get up early and then take a nap later in the day.
5. Go slow. Honestly some days it is just too hot so I don't try and push myself too hard. It is simply a fact that I won't get my best times on a really hot day.

Now it is your turn- how did you survive working out this summer?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Week 9 (AKA I ran a Half Marathon!!!)

Total Miles This Week: 29.75
Total Miles Overall: 197.75 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Tuesday: 4.75 Miles (4 miles slow- 10:51 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- 10:05 avg pace)
Friday: 7 Miles (1 mile slow- 11:11 avg pace, 5 miles fast- 9:59 avg pace, 1 mile slow- 10:36 avg pace)
Saturday: 5 Miles (11:03 avg pace)
Sunday: 13.1 Miles (7 miles steady- 10:17 avg pace, 4 miles fast- 9:13 avg pace, 2 miles steady- 10:46 avg pace...I wasn't actually supposed to do the last 0.1 mile, but I had to!!)

I ran 13.1 miles on Sunday!!!!!!! And my time was only 2:11!!!!!! Though, I think my GPS might have glitched a bit in mile 8 as it said I ran a 7:48 mile. I don't recall boarding a jet in that mile so I have to imagine my real pace was somewhere in the mid 9s. However, the rest of miles all looked correct so I am still going to say this was a sub 2:15 half marathon.

I felt REALLY good on Sunday, despite running both Friday and Saturday. I actually went out late afternoon, due to morning plans, and it was hot and sunny. I expected to just run slow, and honestly the first few miles were rough, but around 10km in (6miles), I really found my stride and I was running on a new path, which was fun. I ran my usual way westward on the Martin Goodman Trail, but then looped north at the Humber River. This is the path I use whenever I have biked to work so I knew it, but it recently got repaved and was so comfortably underfoot. 

I also packed some Gatorade for extra calories on this long run, which is something I started recently. I actually don't like sports drinks usually, but around 10km in that stuff becomes the nectar of the gods. My bottle tends to empty before I am done and I refill it with water to finish off. If there was only some way of doing water first, and then Gatorade, I'd be set, but the city seems reluctant to install Gatorade fountains. Anyway, I know there are many ways of keeping energy, salts, and calories up on a long run, but for now I like sports drinks.

I know you are probably wondering why I have already run a half marathon distance when my race is still 7 weeks away, but I am actually training for time, not distance. My training plan is actually for a sub 2:30 half, but clearly that was an inappropriate choice. My goal was always 2:18, but now I am reconsidering that. Should I aim for another sub 2:15? Should I got for 2:10?? I think I might see where September runs take me and then decide. All I know is that October 18th can't come fast enough!!
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