Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Case of the Missing Sock

Ok I went for a quick recovery run today. I headed out the door wearing my Kinveras, a pair of warm socks(ski socks actually), a pair of tights, a shirt, and a light coat. After 35 minutes and 30 minutes of running I arrived home with everything I left with except for one thing. I was missing one sock. Why did I leave with two socks and arrive home with one? Here are a few more clues. I saw 5 people and one dog on the trail. First off I saw two girls walking and one carried a bag with a heavy object in it. I then saw a women walking furiously down the trail who kinda looked at me sideways as I passed her and lastly I saw an older couple and their off leash dog who greeted me then ran off to greet the lady walking so furiously behind me. I reached my turn around point at 20 minutes and then ran home. It had been 35 minutes since I had left home and I arrived there missing one sock. Why, where, how and by who did my sock get removed from my foot? Have a guess and then I will tell you tomorrow;-)

OK I can see that my mystery as maxed out the deductions skills of the small part of your brains that isn't consumed by running and other things like dressing yourself and feeding you and your family. So here is the solution to, "The Case of the Missing Sock". 

I had just started down the trail which is all of 200m from my house and I could see two girls about another 200m ahead of me. From where I was I realized something was amiss, but what? Was that a dog they were dragging behind them, was one of them limping? As I got closer I noted that one of the girls was wearing a Frontenac Fury Hockey jacket, the same my daughter wears so it must be one of her teammates I thought.  But what was that draging behind her and why was she limping. "Oh no, is she wearing a cast with a bag on it because the trail is wet and muddy?" "Hey, I recognize that cat hat", I said to myself. "Actually I gave it to her for her birthday last year".  The girl with the bag on her foot was none other then Brandy T. You will all remember her from the, "Liquid Snowshoing video". So there stands Brandy with her foot in a bag(no cast thank goodness) and carrying another bag with something heavy in it. Of course I stopped to ask her what was up. "I stepped in the mud really deep and it went in my boot so I went in the store and they gave me 2 bags", she explained. "So you put your boot in one bag and your wet foot in the other," I asked. "Yep, but I am still cold, my foot is really cold and we have to walk all the way to Paige's house." My mind began to swirl as I pictured poor Brandy asking for help at the store, being given two plastic bags from someone, then emerging from the store and trying to figure out what to do with them. Her solution was to put her muddy boot in one bag and to tie the other bag over her wet socked foot and then continue on her way. Poor thing she had it so wrong so I had to set her straight. I told her, "take both your boot and your foot out of the bags. Now take your wet sock off and put it in one of the bags to take home. Now put the other bag on your foot and put it in the boot". "But my foot is so cold", she said. "Ok I will give you my sock, I just took them out of the laundry and have only had them on a few minutes so take mine because I am not going very far". So she put my sock on and put her foot in the bag then in the boot and continued on her way. I know her Mom will return the sock to me so I had no problem leaving my expensive skiing sock on the trail on Brandy's foot. I continued on my run passing the lady walking furiously who noticed that I was only wearing one sock, and then I passed the couple with the dog off leash who gave me a good sniff(could he have noticed my missing sock also?) and I then arrived 5mins. late to my turnaround point and later arrived home without my sock 35 minutes after I had left. Mystery solved;-) I hope you enjoyed "The Case of the Missing Sock".

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Victory!!

I was working on a poem in Tim Horton's today...isn't that what people do in Tim's?? No, you are correct I should have been in a Starbucks but really I don't "GET" Starbucks. I don't know how to order and I really don't want to learn. It is coffee people not rocket science. They get out all of the blenders and shakers and foamers and flavors and syrups for everyone else's order and then I ask them to put a a drop of cream and teaspoon of sugar in mine and they look at me like I have a contagious disease and point me towards the little table across the room. It is like being sent to the child's table at Thanksgiving or Christmas and I refuse to stand for it so that is why I was writing my poem in Tim's.

Anyhoo(as some of you like to say) back to my story..err..my poem. So I was writing this poem in Tim's, it all started with a comic I had just doodled of URGal running down the streets of China through a maze of mooing cows and as wild monkeys try to snatch the hat off of her head she mutters to the wild dog running next to her, "Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore", which then morphed into a sketch of a victorious URG coming to the finish of the JFK 50 which morphed into "the poem" which is still incomplete-ish and will probably remain so because it morphed into a quote I thought of about "Victory" which then morphed into my writing a 12 page Morality Tale about people putting off their dreams until it is too late which I will try to finish one day even though I already feel that it is probably not nearly as good as I thought it was when I began it. But the morning had passed quickly today and it was now time to go to the appointment which had brought me into town in the first place for which I was killing time before in Tim's.

So I packed up my notebook of doodles and poems and sketches and quotes and morality tales and as I walked out the door I immediately became aware of a homeless lady. She was muttering to herself as she pushed a shopping cart stuffed full of  her worldly possessions down the sidewalk and I wondered about her state of mind. I thought that perhaps like Dorothy and URGal she was confused by a changing world that had become foreign to her and then found herself unable to cope. Perhaps like me she was asking the world for some cream and sugar and all the world had to give was foam and syrup and so sent her across the room to the little table. I wondered if she ever drew pictures and wrote poems and morality tales. I wondered if she and I were more alike then different? I wondered if I could find myself pushing my cart down the street one day? I am pretty sure that the world doesn't make much sense to her and if the truth be told it doesn't make much sense to me either.

And why the title, "Victory!!"? I must admit that I forget. I am sure it had something to do with the quote about victory I wrote which was, "Victory is sweetest when aged in Defeat" or "The Sweetest Victories are the ones Aged in (bitter) Defeat". I later googled "Victory quotes" and found something similar, "Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat".- Malcolm Forbes

I guess I then decided I wanted to share the quotes with you all  so hence the title and here are two more.

 "There are some defeats more triumphant than victories."- Michael Eyquen de Montaigne

"A loser doesn’t know what he’ll do if he loses, but talks about what he’ll do if he wins, and a winner doesn’t talk about what he’ll do if he wins, but knows what he’ll do if he loses."- Mario Puzo.

More Victory quotes here.

"The Poem"
Sometimes we RISE
Sometimes we FALL
Sometimes we RUN
Sometimes we STALL

Sometimes we FLY
Sometimes we DROP
Sometimes we GO
Sometimes we STOP

Sometimes we're UP
Sometimes we're DOWN
Sometimes we SMILE
Sometimes we FROWN

Sometimes we WIN
Sometimes we LOSE
Sometimes we SHINE
Sometimes we BRUISE

Sometimes it's GOOD
Sometimes it's BAD
"SOMETIMES" is BETTER
then never HAD.
(please feel free to fix this ending or add a verse or 2)

Morality Tale to be published soon on Amazon.ca

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Finding an Alternate Fuel Source

Note: There has been a week delay in posting this. I think I decided not to post it originally because I am becoming tired with myself for saying what I am going to do when I should be doing what I say I am going to do. If that makes sense. Whether I will carry through with my plans as stated below is yet to be seen but I think I was able to take some baby steps towards my goal during my race and the first step is always the hardest so here goes.



Have you ever stopped to consider what powers you through a race? What fuel source do you call on to keep you motivated and moving? I asked myself that question yesterday at 1km of a 5.3km cross country race. I had hit that point where energy and exhilaration had been replaced with tiredness and hurt and was wondering why I do this to myself again and again. That thought usually triggers a response of thinking about quitting which then leads to my becoming desperate to NOT FAIL. I call on my desperation to keep me moving even when I want to stop and though desperation is a powerful fuel I have discovered lately that it is not the best fuel source for me. While in that state I am trying TO NOT DO certain things such as fail, lose etc. rather then trying TO DO certain things such as SUCCEED, WIN etc. I am not an expert but I do think it makes sense that negative motivation is not as good or powerful as positive motivation as a fuel source.

So there I was at 1km beginning to feel desperate and not wanting to go down the, "I want to quit road" again I began to analyze(so much for running dumb like a horse) what I was truly feeling and what I realized was that I really didn't want to quit, what I wanted was to stop being desperate about not beating certain people, not running X time and all I really wanted to do was run hard and feel good doing it(run dumb like horse?). So I did it, I let go of the desperation that usually fuels my races and switched to FEEL GOOD ENERGY mode. The old feeling of desperation did try to poke itself into my head every now and again and made me question whether I was using my new found philosophy as a reason to not try my best, however I kept coming back to the fact that I really don't want to run "desperate" anymore. I just plain need more motivation then being worried about NOT reaching my goals to fuel my races these days.

As I sit here now I am not sure what is going to fuel me in my future races but I do know that running strong and proud is better for me then running scared and desperate and if that costs me 100 metres at the end of a 5km race then so be it. I do think that I will run better and for longer if  I enjoy my races more and although switching fuel sources may hurt me in the short run I am confident that in the long run it is the best thing I can do for myself. Switching from desperation to an alternate fuel source is going to be hard for me. Yesterday I tried running on "FEEL GOOD ENERGY" and it did well for me but I do think there are more powerful fuels sources I have yet to tap into and finding the right blend for me will take some time. What I do know now is that not all fuel sources are created equal and though they all have positive and negative aspects to them it is the ones that power me through a race but then eat away at my insides afterwards that I need to avoid at all cost.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Running Shoes and Toilets


Warning: This is a ramble, unedited and uncensored. I won't even spell check and be warned I can not spell well so this should be fun.(BLOGGER NEEDS SPELL CHECK)

Q: What do modern running shoes and modern toilets have in common?
A: Both inventions tried to fix a problem that really never needed fixing.

OK running shoes in general were not a problem until someone had the idea that we needed to pad our heels more so we could heel strike more comfortably and then someone decided we need pronation support(god forbid we try to strengthening our feet when a bit of ridgid plastic can support our bones and tendons and muscles for us) all of which has weakened our feet enslaving us further to the clutches of our running shoes laces. Yes I am being a bit dramatic here but it does seem to me that the more advanced we are getting the less natural we are becoming and so less human. Which brings me to the "toilet" part of my ramble. For goodness sake we humans of the Western World don't even know how to have a proper bowel movement. Sitting on a toilet the way we do is an unnatural position for getting the job done. It is not only unnatural but it is also unhealthy and whoever had the idea to build the first "sitting" toilet pretty much set us all up for a long string of physical problems which permeate our society today. I am not going to go into the list of the internal reasons why we should not be sitting while using the "potty" but can read for yourself here and here and here. The one reason this sitting vs squatting issue has irked me is my personal inability to squat without tipping over backwards due to my tight short Achilles tendon . Squatting to stretch my Achilles and soleus has been an ongoing battle for me and although I am making progress it is very evident that what should be a natural position is virtually impossible for me to hold while barefoot. Yet if I were to have lived a few centuries ago that same position would be a natural one, one I would have held every morning(after my coffee of course), perhaps noon and night. I am sure heeled shoes also play into my current disability. Yes that's right, we are all disabled. If you can't squat without a heeled shoe and hold it for a few minutes than you are less abled then every person aged 2 -100 who lived at time when squatting was the way of the world. People squatted to eat, squatted to work, squatted to rest, squatted to relieve themselves. But you know what, I can't do it and neither can you. We are a weaker less mobile kind of a human that once inhabited this earth and knowing that doesn't make me happy for our progress it makes me mad at how we tend to screw things up when we think we are making things better.

Rant over.
Running has been going well. Lots of long slow kms at 120 bpm. My tight calf that pulled on my foot when I ran Emilie's Run has loosened up a bit from my rehab exercises and stretching and the foot has held up well to the increased time on my feet. I have a 5km race this weekend and although I am not optimally trained for the speed I think running with a happy foot and calf will make up for the lack of intensity of my current training. There are so many layers to training and getting back to basics and adding in the longer runs really feels like it was the right thing to do. I am happy and lucky to have a great coach who knows when it is time to pull back, regroup and make changes.
A favorite quote I have been using lately from Tony Robbins, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten."

Note: For the past 3 years I have run "The Sandbanks 5km" at this time of year however I entered a contest to design a logo for an upcoming local race called "Run With The Wild" and I decided that if I won the contest then I would run that race instead. Well I won the contest which asked you to draw something you would see in the wild near the race course. Here is my entry and winning design. I call it, "The Wild Man of Lemoine Point".

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"I have to get up early to run".

A few weeks ago as I was tucking my 11 year old daughter into bed(a ritual I will surely miss as she gets older...boo hoo hoo) she turned over to face me pulling the covers up snugly around her neck and enthusiastically said, "Mom, I have to get up early to run." After picking my jaw up off of the ground I casually asked her why she was running in the morning without letting on just how proud her statement had made me. She explained that she and her fellow kayakers at "Sprint Camp" all ran as a warm-up before their morning paddle. This was the first time I ever saw my daughter looking forward to "running". Having joined the "Running Club" at school the past 2 years it seemed that her experience with running had been dampened by the "unfunness" of the workouts. I was very grateful that her morning warm-up runs had shown her that running is a great way to wake up her mind and body to prepare her for the new day. 


She competed in her first regatta in Ottawa this past Saturday and took home 3 first place ribbons in the Pee Wee K2 , Pee Wee K4 and Bantam K4. I was such a wreck before each race you'd have thought I was racing myself. We really had no idea how their little club would stack up against the larger clubs at the regatta but the proof was in the ribbons and I guess that the warm-up runs really paid off not to mention the many hours the girls spent kayaking of course.  
Rhiannon and Harmonie celebrating their win in the K2

Paddling for victory in the K4





Thursday, June 30, 2011

Race Pictures




Sitting down in front of a blank page is a fearful thing for me. I know if I dare to make a mark that I must be prepared to see the truth as it is revealed to me in graphite. No matter the outcome though I am always amazed when I am able to make something from nothing.

That blank page in my sketchbook is very much like the starting line of a race. The race course is the white void of the paper waiting for me to put my mark upon it. Every step is a stroke of my pencil and as the outline of the race takes shape the final picture is revealed when I cross the finish line.

Though never 100% satisfied in the end all I can do is look at what I have created, see the truth that was revealed and take some pride in the fact that my sketchbook now has one more picture and one less blank page.

 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Emilie's Run

Emilie Mondor
"Emilie's Run" had a strange vibe for me. I was there to run a race but could not help but think about how Emilie Mondor was running and winning this very race only 5 years ago a few months before the car accident which took her life. I felt at odds with my reasons for being there and the celebration of that life. The two events did not gel for me because running a race in honour of someone should be joyous where as I was more wrapped up in the anxiety of racing well. With my ankle and calf being sore I was struggling to hold on to my optimism as I was becoming quickly aware that my running gait had been reduced to a lopsided mess. I tried not to think about the discomfort which was causing me to favor the sore leg and hoped I would be able to run through it. I was well warmed up and managed a few more short strides before the start then lined up as close to the front as I thought reasonable. I did not hear the start but everyone began running so I did also. It was raining but I barely noticed and it was not a downfall by any means. I noticed I was out fast after 200m so began to hold back a bit and found myself running with the same people for most of the race. I made it to the halfway at 10:38ish(this is where we turned around but I am not sure if it was actually halfway?) if I remember correctly and thought I was on pace for a good race. I held off a few challengers then began to pick off runners. I looked at my watch and saw 4:16/km at around 3km. I really had no idea that I had slowed down and was actually running 4:30ish/km. There were so many people around and I was not being passed so I assumed I was still on pace. I checked my watch at 4km when I was really tired and realized I had lost a lot of time as it was around 18:38ish. I tried to do the math and realized I on was on pace for 22:40ish again or slower. WTF. A few girls challenged me again and again I held them off as I made my way towards the tents and the finish I heard my Mom call out my name and I saw the timer was 22:30ish and crossed at 22:41. My Garmin says I ran 5km in 22:20. Thinking back I realize having so many people around me mid race kinda kept me running at their pace. Also between 2.5 km and 4km I thought I was running at approx. 4:16/4:20/km and could not make up the time at 4km although I tried to my legs just did not pick up the speed with the growing limp and fatigue. I tried to run a cool down after the race but was limping quite bad and after the knee pain kicked in(probably due to compensating) I thought it best to stretch and walk it out. After making my way back to the tents I checked the results and was shocked at being 4th in age. I didn't have anywhere to go so stayed for the awards which began with a speech by a man who I believe was Ken Parker(race founder) and Emilie's Mom. It has been 5 years since Emilie's passing and Ken was still brought to tears speaking about her and there was not a dry eye in the house afterwards.

As much as this race celebrates Emilie's life I realized in seeing the depth of the sorrow in Ken and Mrs. Mondor that we are remembered by those who knew us or of us but we are missed by those who loved us.

one km splits: 4:06, 4:35, 4:35, 4:37, 4:31(22:24) I forgot to stop my watch so don't have the final data of the last 17secs. with my official time of 22:41

Today I really feel a tightness in my calf/soleus and it seems to be the root of the cause for the sore ankle/achilles.

One thing about this race is they really go all out picture wise which is a good and a bad thing. My daughter had fun going through my pictures and telling me which ones looked good and which ones DID NOT. Here are a few of her pics for "GOOD".

START
 
MID RACE
note wonky foot on landing
 
FINISH




Friday, June 17, 2011

Tomorrow, Tomorrow...

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I love ya, Tomorrow, You're only a Da-a-a-a-ay... A-a-a-a-a...Wa-a-a-a-ay!!
I really love to day dream about Tomorrow. Tomorrow is full of conquering my fears and fulfilling my dreams. Tomorrow keeps me hopeful. Tomorrow never let's me down. Tomorrow is always there waiting for me to hurry up and arrive so I can turn all of my fantastic visions into reality. This Tomorrow I race another 5km. This Tomorrow holds my destiny in its hands. This Tomorrow is beckoning me and I am counting the hours and minutes until I can embrace it and live in it. This Tomorrow promises to be a wondrous, beautiful, glorious day. This Tomorrow is my 47th Birthday. Happy This Tomorrow to everybody. I hope yours is as magical as your dreams envision it to be.
PS
No I did not smoke anything funny before writing this blog. I am just feeling excited about Tomorrow is all;-)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Beethoven's 8th..er 8km!


The Town Crier reads the Proclamation to begin the 16th Annual running of
The Beat Beethoven 8km race in downtown Kingston.



 The Kingston Symphony waits to begin playing the 50 min. selection of Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 "Eroica" in the free outdoor concert!

512 racers stand ready for the music to begin playing and the race to commence.
My Arch-nemesis Stacey with me behind at 2km
Why is everyone chasing me?!?;-)

Chip time- 36:56 which was a PR by 11 seconds
Thank goodness Stacey was running strong today because she kept me running hard the entire distance and helped me run a PR and win 2nd in my age(which was a 10 year age group) so I was happy with both of those accomplishments today. I ran a very even race pace wise and at approx. the same pace as I ran my 5km a few weeks ago so it is nice to see that my training is taking hold and my fitness is building. Hitting the 5km mark was tough for me as mentally I was done however the old legs still had some gas in them and carried me to the finish line despite what the rest of me wanted to do.
Note: I believe my first official race ever was The 2005 Beat Beethoven 8km where I placed 480th out of  543 runners in a time of 51:52(I didn't beat Beethoven). Today I was 69th out of 512 and almost exactly 15 minutes faster;-)

PS- lest I forget to mention I wore a HR monitor for the first time in a race today. I wore it on my long run with Tammie last weekend and for the 16km my hr jumped between 140bpm and 160 due in part to the many hills on the course with an average of 150bpm for the run. In my one interval workout of the week I was running in the mid 170's bpm for my repeats and topped out at 181 which was pretty much the same for my race with an average of 175ish and a max of 182 although I think my true max might be a bit higher but I will have to wait and see about that. Here is a link to the data my Garmin collected from the race including HR, pace etc. Kinda cool to see.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

TGIT

Thank Goodness It's Thursday;-) Thursday afternoon means that all of my "workouts" are done for the week. My intervals, tempo and strength/core workouts are but a memory and I can now sit back and reflect on the past week and look forward to my long run on the weekend. This Sunday I will be joining Tammie and many of her other clients for a  fun 15km run on a part of the Cataraqui trail that I have never run on before so I am very excited about that.

I am very grateful that I am heading into the weekend content with all of my workouts. I was able to control the tempo this week and got it done steady and strong unlike last weeks fiasco which had me heading into the weekend dissatisfied and anxious. Luckily it did not reflect on my long run which was one of my best runs ever and reminded me why I savour the little extra time I take each week to run a little longer and a little slower taking time to enjoy the little moments on my little trail. The littlest things really do make the biggest difference.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Which one do you think I ATE?

Which one do you think I ate????
That is my daughter's hand. She went for the soft warm gooey straight from the oven chocolate chip cookies.
She did manage to fit in a few carrot and celery sticks also.
I just started reading Matt Fitzgerald's book "Racing Weight, Quick Start Guide". To date I have calculated my lean and fat body weight(110 and 31 lbs.), my sleeping, training and daily calories burned(458, 742, 1055) and finally my daily calorie requirements of 2255/day. This is very close to the number of calories I discovered I eat in a normal day without thinking about it. It was nice to have my guesstimate validated and with such complicated math to boot. I was validated again as I read Matt's recommendation of 50-60% carbs, and 20-30% fat and protein also, all of which is very close to my current diet. I also liked how he only encourages weight loss in a way that compliments ones training and performance and does not encourage a calorie deprived diet during a heavy training phase. Rather then suggest cutting calories during such a phase he instead encourages substituting high quality foods including whole grains, high quality protein, fruits and veggies for low quality ones such as chocolate chip cookies! BTW I went with the veggies! Yeah for me!!

Really what it comes down to is if eating a chocolate chip cookie is worth keeping those extra pounds that are keeping me from reaching my ideal racing weight. After putting in so much hard work training day in and day out I would be sabotaging myself if I was not seriously pursuing a goal to drop those unnecessary pounds. After a few more calculations I discovered that at 22% fat I need to lose 3.5 lbs.(137.5 lbs) to reach 20% fat and 8.5 lbs.(132.5 lbs.) to reach 17% fat. I think my ideal racing weight lies somewhere in between as I was 136 lbs.(5 lbs. lighter) or 19% fat when I set my 5km PR last year. Matt also makes the point that we cannot truly know what our optimum racing weight is until we race at that weight and until then it is all a guesstimate. To put this all into perspective the average woman elite athlete of my age  is between 13 and 20% body fat so it makes sense that my ideal lies somewhere within that range and probably(hopefully) on the high end of it ;- ) At 13% body fat I would weigh 126 lbs., at 20% 137.5 lbs. so I have a good 11.5 lbs. to play with.

Rather then give you the complicated mathematical equations(although I know some of you like them) Matt had me do I have found this website with some good calculators that gave me pretty much the same numbers I calculated myself.

Well it's 15 days until the Beat Beethoven 8km and 35 days to my goal 5km race Emilie's Run. I have no idea if substituting good food for bad will bring any weight loss my way in that time and it really is not a concern. I know that my training will probably shed a  few pounds alone and I can't be concerned about what I cannot control. I will do all I can do without sacrificing energy to power my workouts which is the most important goal I can have between now and June 25th.

I am currently healthy and back to training hard. Monday I had 7x 2 min. repeats @ 5km race pace with 1 min. recovery's to build strength. I also persevered through a hard strength workout on Tuesday adding in a few of the plyometric exercises I was forced to take out due to my sore hip a few weeks ago. Yesterday I ran in the hottest, muggiest day to date and I did not fair well in those conditions. It didn't help matters that I headed out too fast downhill to begin the hilly tempo workout. Half way into it I felt like my head was going to explode. My face has not been that red in a long time and I actually stopped mid workout. I can honestly say that in my 3 years of training that I have never stopped a workout early for anything other then real pain due to injury. So stopping was a bit of a shock and a blow to my ego and sense of pride. As I gasped for air I thought I could try it again tomorrow but knew that would throw off my entire weeks schedule and perhaps even next week so I decided to start up again. Of course me being me I tried to makeup the time I had lost and bonked again big time. What I should have done was given myself a good minute recovery then started back slowly. The funny thing is that I did complete the loop of the tempo course faster then I have ever before as I ran it in a series of fasts and slows and stops and collapses and not a nice steady tempo pace. I was then suppose to extend the route by another 5min at a slightly faster pace. I knew I could not do that but some part of me wanted to try and I actually made it an entire 83m at that faster pace until I had to stop again. I now realize that not only was my body fried but my brain was also and although I did manage to finish the workout I am not sure what benefit will come of it. It was certainly not the tempo effort I was going for however coach assured me that my erratic behavior must be of some benefit although he was unable to quantify what that may be and that it was at the very least a learning experience. What I did learn from it was that on the first few hot muggy days of the year I need to ease into my workouts and back off the pace a bit the way I might if running into the wind or uphill. I am also looking forward to redeeming myself on my next workout so if anything it was certainly a good motivator for me. C'est la vie!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Limestone 5km 2011 and the Taper Mind Effect

It was a beautiful still day in Kingston Ontario for The Limestone Racing Weekend. Hundreds of people lined up for the 5km and Half Marathon at 9:30 am on the warm spring day. I went out slow with the 1:40 rabbit for the Half then picked it up to finish my first km in 4:35. Heading into my second km I had lots of energy and picked it up a bit as I passed under the RMC arch way. I know it is only a 5km race but for some reason after finishing the 2nd km with a 4:30 split I began to have trouble staying focused. I think it was due to not having run more then a 15 minute tempo in what had seemed like an eternity and in dealing with some injuries my training of late had become much like an extended taper. Coach had reminded me before the race that tempos do not determine fitness however I think it was more my mental fitness that was lacking in this race then my physical fitness. My legs had no problem churning away at that pace and it was my head that seemed to keep wandering and becoming doubtful of my ability to maintain the effort. I think I get this same sort of effect after a normal taper also so I am going to call this the "Taper Mind Effect"(until I think of something better).

My mind really prefers to be constantly reminded of what I am planning to do with my body and if it has time to forget then it starts to get nervous and doubtful of my ability to accomplish the task. I get this all the time with my strength workouts also. As soon as my trainer decides to switch my workouts and focus on different muscles I suddenly get very anxious to the point of coming very close to having an anxiety attack. This response then lessens each time I perform the routine and after a few times I am usually OK. But give me a weeks break from the workout and I am back to being doubtful and anxoius again. What I need is a way to taper my body but at the same time stimulate and engage my brain to remind it of my ability to perform the task. I was thinking that next time I have an injury or am tapering that I could sit and visualize my race or workout in real time, thinking and feeling and trying to live the entire process of the race or workout from the beginning to the end. In one sense I have already done this when I was aqua running. I was going through the motions of a workout but not actually running. OK that is a bit of a stretch since aqua running has a physical aspect to it however I often felt that the act of aqua running was a clever ploy of my coach to keep my mind active while injured. In aqua running there is zero impact on your body, very minimal reisistance from the water and you can not get your heartrate up no matter how you try. It always struck me as much more of a mental exercise then a physical one as I wrote in a past blog entry. When I finally did recover from my runners knee injury after aqua running for a few months I was able to pick up where I had left off rather quickly and I had a very easy transition back to running. I can't help but think alot of that was due to my mind going through the process of the workouts.

I am really not sure how my race report came to this but to summerize I do think that just because a taper is good for our bodies  and makes us stronger that for some of us the same taper is not as good for our minds and makes them weaker. Coming up with a way to counteract the "Taper Mind Affect" could be very helpful to me and perhaps yourself and I would like to hear your personal opinions and if you have felt the same effect from a taper.

OK now back to the race. After fighting to stay focused after 2km a girl began to come up on my shoulder at 2.5km. It felt as though she was running stronger them myself and was ready to pass me when I decided to try to hold her off and I picked it up a bit and and passed a few others as well. I was coming to the "Magic 3km mark" and there was a small hill to go up and I kept the same effort running up it as on the flats so everyone I had passed previous now surged passed me racing up the hill. I kept my cool and stuck with the plan to run up over the top steady and overtook every single one of them again and never heard from any of them for the rest of the race. I was heading home with 2 more km to run and looking at my watch I knew I was not on pace for a fast race. With my mind still doubting my ability to keep up the pace I had to overcome the negative thoughts as I pushed over the bridge to the final 1km stretch. I could see the finish line and was able to pick up the pace to finish strong feeling completely spent both mentally and physically.

It had been a real mental struggle and I was very happy to have held it together with such a steady race with the last 2kms run at 4:30 and 4:28. Mr Garmin says I ran an extra 50 m and my final time 22:48 which was good enough for 1st in my Age.
Below is a video of the awards, race and start strangely in that order; ) The  kid in the purple top is just so cute. He was so tired and his dad was so proud.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Top 10 Things Not To Do In or At a Hometown Race!

Start of the Limestone 5km/Half Marathon 2011
Is there such a thing as racing/race day etiquette? I am not talking about racing in the Olympics here but a local hometown race where most of us are racing for fun, training or personal bests and not Overall medals. Here are a few observations from my race on Sunday that may or may not make the "Top 10 Things Not to do In or At a Hometown Race" list.

Observation #1-Don't line up near the front of a race with your 10 lady friends wearing matching tops with huge letters saying, "Walking Club" on the back.

Observation #2- Don't talk to someone as you pass them and say, "Good job" or "Keep it up". I think this shows disrespect. You might as well be saying, "I have so much energy that I can race and cheer you on at the same time and BTW it really looks like you need some cheering on and so sorry but I can't hang around with someone as slow as you so enjoy looking at my rear end for the next little while".

Observation #3- Don't get "Picked Off" by someone who is not faster then you. Generally when someone passes you in the middle of the race they are trying to "pick you off". This means that they are speeding up just enough to pass you and may never get much further ahead then their initial gain. So if someone tries to pass you then do your best to hold them off  and wait them out. Most people will let such a person pass assuming they are stronger when in fact they are not. This will keep you running faster and if they keep trying to pass then you could have a good little race on your hands.

Observation #4- Don't pace off someone the entire race then sneak up from behind and pass them at the tape. First off if you've been hanging back just enough then they don't know you are there and won't have time to respond. If you had any guts then you would run shoulder to shoulder with them sooner in the race or take the lead yourself to demonstrate your true superior skills. When you pass them at the tape you aren't doing yourself any favour either as you would run faster racing them then merely passing them at the end.

Observation #5- Don't check out someones time after the race then throw it in their face. Let them tell you their time if they want to share it with you. You don't know how they feel about it so leave it to them to discuss it with you or not.

Observation #6- Don't stare at the Elite runners who will be huddled in a pack of their own kind after the race. Staring at them will not make you any faster. Although checking out their shoes and gear is acceptable if you keep it quick and to the point.

Observation #7- Don't get flustered and babble on incoherently if an Elite runner talks to you especially if they are only asking when the awards ceremony starts.

Observation #8- Don't look too eager to get your Age Group Medal. If the Overall winner isn't that hyped then you shouldn't be either.

Observation #9- Don't be too cool to pick up your Age Group Medal. If you could care less about the medal you just beat someone else out of then why did you go in the race to begin with?

Observation #10- Don't tell other people how superior your choice of footwear(or lack of it) is to theirs.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bryon's Advice

I NEED TO TAKE BRYON'S(and my own) ADVICE!!
The picture and the text really do speak to me concerning this coming weekend's race. It's as though I drew  it myself! Thanks Bryon for the advice although my coach has been saying it to me since Day 1. The 3 gals I should not see behind me are Shirley, Myra and Margarita. I will make sure to line up well behind them; )

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prepare for the Worst, Hope for the Best!


Limestone 5km 2010

I am running in the Limestone 5km this Sunday. I have no idea what to expect as I have had some injury issues of late which have just resolved themselves this past weekend. I had a great training season through the winter and a few good training runs this spring but not nearly enough of them for me to feel confident about racing this Sunday. I know my mind is strong but I am not so sure if my body is willing so I need to put aside my grandiose dislussions and accept the hand that reality has dealt me. What the F&%K does that mean? It means I can't bluff my way through this race and go out as though I am going to run a 20 minute 5km without some consequences. I have to go out as though I am going to run a 22:30 5km which is 34 seconds slower then last years time. If feeling good at 3 km then I will have a good 2ks remaining to pickup the pace and makeup lost time. The first 3km of this race will probably be and historically has been run into the wind. It will be during the last 2km that I will be able to test the legs and the heart to see what I have left inside.

It was two years ago during this race when I was challenged at the 3km mark by a fellow masters runner. As she passed my shoulder I had to decide to let her go or go with her. It took me a few strides but something inside me told me to catch her and I did. Since that race I have found myself at that very spot on that same road hoping that no one would challenge me the way Stacey did. I just hope I don't feel that way this year and if I can go out at my intended pace than I should be in a good place to answer any challengers. That is what I am calling the "Best Case Scenario".

I am however also preparing for the "Worst Case Scenario". That scenario would have me hitting 1 km at 4:15 or faster and feeling my legs get heavy along with my breaths and my heart. I will probably look to the side of the road for a place to quit without being too conspicuous about it. If I get thinking about quitting then I will immediately give myself  1 minute to recover by slowing down considerably. I will breathe through my nose and wait for the oxygenated blood to return to my brain. Then I will restart the race again in my mind and see if I can arrive at my magic 3km mark ready to race the unfortunate soul who attempts to pass me. OK that is not exactly the "Worst Case Scenario". The worst case would be arriving at the magic 3km point and still be looking to the sidelines for a place to stop and lie down, letting runners pass me by unchallenged and feeling really bad about it but not able to do anything to stop it. If that is the way it plays out then I will resort to thinking about my form. Taking my mind off of the race and just thinking about putting one foot in front of the other will be my fall back, "Worst Case Scenario" plan. If it all comes to that then the last 2 km will seem like an eternity and crossing the finish line looking at the timer will undoubtedly be a hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately it will be a bitter dose of necessary medicine because getting this race under my belt should have me in a better place to train hard for my goal race on June 25th.

I hope to avoid the "Worst Case Senerio" at all cost but I am none the less prepared for it. Let the games begin.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mr. Disappointment and The Nugget of Wisdom

Last week I had a little setback. At the time it seemed like it might turn into something huge and I could feel the disappointment trying to encapsulate my entire being. It is hard to deal with disappointment especially when you have a plan set in motion only to see the whole thing go up in flames when the unexpected happens. Which is why my friend Mr. Disappointment came a calling when a whispering nagging hip thingy turned into an roaring exploding hip thingy in the middle of a tempo run last Friday. A part of me wanted to become desperate and panicy about having to deal with another injury however another part told me not to sweat it. But why? Why did I not get worried about this setback the way I usually do? "It's elimentary my Dear Watson", you see I have been there before, "Been there, done that". I have learned that disappointments and set backs are par for the course if you are going to be a serious runner. It happens to everyone, the disappointments, the setbacks, no one is immune but how you deal with it separates the new guy from the seasoned pro. Simply stated when you are starting out you just don't get it, there is no perspective, no past events to put things into their proper place. But the events of last Friday showed me that I do now "Get it", and that can only mean one thing, (dare I say) that somewhere along the line I had become a seasoned runner and not the way I ever expected to. The title wasn't handed to me as a medal around my neck on a podium but rather it was seared with pain into my burning hip unceremoniously so when I was forced to stop running last Friday. In the midst of the uncertainty I didn't panic, I didn't think my career was over, I didn't say, "Oh well maybe running isn't for me", I didn't worry that I was not going to be able to run for the next few days or even weeks because I knew that no matter what it was, I would wait it out. I would heal it, baby it, pamper it, strengthen it, massage it, roll it and stretch it as much as it needed and that I would be back to run another day. What set me apart from the newbie runner I had once been was that I now had the benefit of perspective, a coming together and understanding of my collective experiences, a "Nugget of Wisdom" found when I wasn't even looking for one.

So now if anyone asked me for my advice about running and racing among other things I would have to tell them to be prepared to be disappointed. Disappointed in your body, disappointed in yourself, disappointed in your times, disappointed in the process. The sooner they realize that running and racing is fraught with disappointment the better. Learning to deal with those disappointments is fundamental and a much better plan then giving up because you think you just don't have what other runners have. How do you think the other guy/gal got so good to begin with? Once again, "It's elementary", for every win they lost a dozen and for every loss they came back more determined. You do the math, the answer is undeniable and irrefutable, it pays to lose, setbacks and disappointments make us stronger.

Let's break that all down then. If you want to win more you gotta fail more. With every failure comes disappointment but if you can find a means to deal with it, learn from it and carry on then you too can become like all of those runners you thought possessed some magic you did not. Don't let your next setback or disappointment make you fearful and lose hope and know that you are on a journey of learning no matter what your discipline may be, "Nuggets of Wisdom" are out there, in every experience and when you least expect it one will jump up and find you just like the one that found me.

And now for something completely different...
Imagine yourself at a race in the future(a small local race, a regional race, the Boston Marathon, Western State), the RD is getting ready to give the race instructions and you find yourself moving towards the front of the pack. You know where you need to line up and you aren't there yet so you inch your way up, saying, "Excuse me", "Pardon me", keeping your head down trying not to step on peoples feet or note the annoyed look of those who's position you have usurped. Then you finally find it, that just perfect spot and you look up only to be staring directly into the RD's eyes and do you know what???!!! You don't see him/her questioning why you have ponied yourself all the way up into the front of their race because both of you know that that is exactly where you are suppose to be, "Runners take your mark, BANG!!"

I also know that not everyone runs or races to win and that reading my little story about accepting disappointment might make my idea of racing seem like a dismal way to spend ones time. I realize that racing to win and racing for fun each has it's place which is why I came up with this little quote for myself.

There are only two ways to Race,
Racing for Fun and Racing to Win.
Know which one you are doing,
Then do it with No Apologies.(Then do it unapologetically)(Then do it without Apology) I'm working on it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Spiral Staircase

Once again I find myself in this very old house with a spiral staircase. I look up and cannot see where the staircase ends as it appears to go on and on so I begin to climb it. Looking up as I climb I do not notice the many people behind me who are now also climbing the staircase. After some time I become aware of the others and I wonder if they know where all this is leading to but I do not ask. We continue to climb looking up and no one speaks as the stairs begin to narrow, the turns of the spiral begin to tighten and I begin to get pushed from behind by the force of the others. The walls are closing in and I realize we are climbing some sort of tower and that we must be near the top now because the stairs are much too narrow and the walls are much too close but the others are still climbing and I begin to panic. My stomach sinks and the horrible truth becomes clear that I am trapped and being pushed up into a soon to end stairway. The tower is so tight now and there are no more stairs to climb. All that is infront of me is a long wooden tunnel and I don't want to go in but I cannot turn around so I crawl in. The tunnel is rectangular like a box and I can see it is narrowing and I feel it is narrowing and soon it is so narrow that I can barely crawl but I am being pushed further into the long narrow wooden box and I see the end is coming and I am afraid. I reach the end and I know there is no escape because the ones below are still pushing forward up the spiral staircase unaware of their destination. But I know where it all ends and it is too late for me, unless they stop, please stop I cry silently, please stop pushing. But I know they cannot hear me. Then I wake up.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You CAN Teach an Old Dog NEW Tricks!

Jane & JT
Well it is a beautiful sunny day outside and time for me to brag about my Mom (Sherpa) Jane again. Recently with her goal to make the Canadian World Agility Team she decided to step up her game and began a core and walking/running routine with the help of Tammie Stanton .

My Mom has always been active however she has never ever followed any sort of exercise plan. When she was young(40) she played tennis, rode her bike around town and kept fit as a horse trainer switching from horses to dogs when she moved off the farm. So when she started her new training routine I was skeptical if she would in fact be willing and able to incorporate it into her daily/weekly life. Afterall learning new tricks at her age is a hard thing to do, isn't it? Well a few weeks into it the calls began. She was not calling to chat or to tell me about her wonderful dog JT but to report that she had completed her scheduled workout. It has now been 3 months and the calls have not stopped and continue on  twice weekly like clockwork. 


My Mom showing Striplight circa-1970ish???

I was watching footage of a recent Agility trial and where I would usually concentrate on JT and his speedy maneuvers I instead could not take my eyes off of my 72 year old Mom as she ran effortlessly around the ring leading her very fast Border Collie through the course. I could readily see where her hard work from the past 3 months has really paid off in endurance and speed. I am very happy that my skepticism was proven wrong as the video evidence is undeniable and certain proof that you can teach an "Old Dog" NEW Tricks (and thank goodness because I still have many to learn)!
Keep up the good work Mom, Love Eliza
Note to veiwer- not that my Mom is vain about her appearance however she did point out to me that she is wearing 3 layers of clothes because the barn was like a freezer; )


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Quietly Waiting Ramble


Doing the Scorpion
 I have been quietly waiting. Waiting for something to happen. Something worth writing about. Some monumental accomplishment that will have you all dropping your jaws to the ground and gasping in awe as you read my account of my superhuman feats of glory. But Spring is threatning upon us, Winter's cold is lifting from my bones and the quiet has become deafening as I wait so I have decide to break the silence and speak to you of my not so superhuman accomplishments.

I was fortunate to compete and place 2nd in my now annual running of the Frontenac Dion Snowshoe Race and I also managed 3rd in the Switzerville RedBarn snowshoe race. I then made a dismal attempt at a 5km race when I was sick as a dog and wishing I was home on the couch. I just hate running a race you know you never should have lined up for. It's not just the discomfort of trying to hold your aching body together through the distance but seeing the timer as you approach the finish and the time you knew was coming but did not want to see. Knowing it does not represent anything about who you are or how hard you train doesn't help when you think back to all the times you ran hills in the icy, dark, freezing night just so you could look up at the end of that very race to see all that hard work had paid off in at least shaving a few seconds off of last years time. Instead what I saw was a time which I had seen 2 years before. I couldn't help but feel I had lost 2 years of training in one single race. No matter how I tried to console myself seeing the time was devestating, overwhelming, dumbfounding. I was sick yes, but I should have been faster and I wasn't. Then reality hits me a few days later, I was slower because I was sick and I didn't feel like running fast. Could I have run faster? Yes. Did I want to? No! I didn't feel like it, and that is that. Sometimes you just don't feel like it, or you just don't have it. The perfect race is a lottery. So many numbers have to come up for you to be a winner. I had perhaps 3 of 6 numbers I needed for a perfect race that day with a good race needing 5 numbers, an OK race 4, an "at least I finished" race  3, a bad race 2, a terrible race 1 and a devestatingly horrible race 0. So on that scale I guess it wasn't so bad, things could have been worse.

Once again this year will be another chance for me to work on my running form and to study the art of  the 5km race. Emilie's Run is my goal race in June and is the one that I missed last year and I also plan to run the Limestone Mile again.


Doing one legged jump squats

I have been building strength all winter running hills and doing strength and core. Hills were hell. They are done with. I learned a lot about myself but I am glad to move on. Derrick(my running coach) now has me running hilly tempos which are much more fun as long as my Achilles and twitchy hip decide to co-operate. I also have a new strength routine I am progressing through adding reps weekly to strengthen my weak parts. Squats are not my friend. I hate them. They hurt me. But I do them because they are written on the paper my strength trainer gave me. Doing my strength routine with Tammie(my trainer) is OK. I can usually get through them because having her there is motivation for me to do well, and not slack. Doing them at home for my 2nd time of the week is another story. I tell myself I will skip reps. or skip complete exercises just to get my lazy butt down to the basement to get at it. Today I decided I needed some extra motivation because I really didn't want to get all sweaty and start lifting and pushing heavy things(my butt) around. So I decided to film me doing my entire routine in real time with no breaks so I kept it moving along and did not cheat. The camera did switch off at one point but this was purely accidental and I swear I did do the missing set of squats.  After a few minutes of watching it becomes as much fun as watching paint dry. Enjoy. Unfortunately youtube rejected my video...too graphic...no too long; ) so I put it in my Dropbox which is not working but I think it is busy uploading. I did say it was long(40min).
.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cookie Diet; )


Mmmmm, I love cookies and I can't stop eating them lately. I told myself that I had eaten my last one. Well maybe one more then no more after that one and definitely no cookies tomorrow. That is what I said last night. Then I woke up this morning, poured my morning coffee and decided one more cookie couldn't hurt but it was the last one and then after eating 3 more I said enough is enough. Then it was time for my long run. I wondered how much energy my cookies would provide me. They are 65 calories each so that was a good 260 calories or pure sugar carbs. The run was only a little 75 min. today and I figured I could start eating healthy again starting at lunch time. Well I made it through the run, 65 minutes of it and after having my protein shake(which I never miss after a run and has 130 calories) I poured myself another coffee and well those cookies looked so good and hey just one or two or 3 turned into 4 then 5 then 6. It was afterall coming onto lunch time so lets see 6x65=390 calories. Not so so bad for lunch. I do afterall need 2500 calories to maintain my 140lbs. although I am weighing in 5lbs heavier then that these days. Soon it was time for my strength workout and again I wondered how my cookies would do energizing me through my squats and pushups and what not. I was feeling a bit dizzy after one set so I made a protein shake quickly, had a few sips and got back to it. As I was pushing out my second set of decline pushups I started to feel my cookies in my tummy coming up and thought how I really never wanted to eat another one. But then again I say that all the time and thought that perhaps I should just force myself to continue to eat nothing but cookies all day(plus my shakes) and perhaps that will cure me of my cookie habit. Thing is I don't think I can do it. I am feeling sick just thinking about it. To pull this off I will need to eat another 1500 calories of  cookies and shakes. I have 14 cookies (about 800 calories) left and I could have 2 more shakes using milk this time to increase the calories and perhaps add in a banana to round out the day. OMG I am feeling so sick at the thought of eating another cookie. This cookie diet just might work afterall.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snowshoeing in Frontenac Park

A gif of me during the Dion Frontenac Snowshoe race in January. This is my first time using a gif on blogger. Thanks to the photographer who snapped so many successive pictures I just couldn't resist making the gif.  I had to reduce the pixels down to 200x300  and reduce the number of shots until I was able to get the gif to run on the site. You can also post a larger file and when people click on the image it will play in a new window(see below)

Good Luck to Sara tomorrow today at the the Batawa Frozen Ass Snowshoe race.