Friday, February 27, 2009


Help please...

Last week on Friday I went for a long run. Shocking, I know. My Nike/ipod chip told me I ran just under 18 miles in 2:44. I was quite pleased since it was my intention to only go 16 miles and THIS week was to be my 18 mile one. I decided that this week I would do another 18 miles before I cycle down again.

So I embarked on another long run this Friday. As a matter of fact, I embarked on the exact same run this Friday as I did last Friday. Boring, I know, but since it was the right distance and I wanted to get into my new book (Are You there Vodka, its me, Chelsea), I just did it. And this time my Nike/ipod chip told me I ran 15.5 miles in 2 hours and 41 minutes.

I'm confused.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Turtles (no, not the chocolate kind)

Well people, I am half way to being a personal trainer. I survived the theory portion of the course and only have to complete the practical exam before I am full-fledged. Look out, world, I plan on conquering the realm of personal training one newbie marathon runner at a time.

Speaking of my course, I learned something in my course that ya'll may want to consider. SO. We all know that our long run is a priority run when training for a full or a half. And this past week I have learned the science that makes it so. In a nutshell, the body operates on energy called ATP. The body has 2 different systems for making ATP- the aerobic system and the anaerobic system. The anaerobic systems are used when we are doing very high or high intensity activities that last from 10 seconds to 2 or 3 minutes. Therefore, as you may have guessed, they are NOT in use when you are training for a half or full...or at least NOT on the long run. The aerobic systems are the systems that create ATP using oxygen...they will continue to create ATP forever and ever as long as there is fat and/or glucose and oxygen available. Thus we need to train our aerobic system to be ready and efficient on race day, as it is the system that is used in running long distances. The best way to do this is to stay in the aerobic training zone when you're doing your long runs. How do you know that you're in your aerobic zone, you ask? Well, if we were going to be very scientific about it we would calculate your aerobic zone and take your heart rate from time to time on the long run to make sure you were exactly where you needed to be....but we're not, so the best I can tell you is that you need to SLOW DOWN. You should be able to carry on a conversation the WHOLE time you are running. If you want to push your pace, you need to do it on one of the shorter runs! Think TURTLES...slow, steady, happy, lovely little creatures...

You know, I've always loved turtles. They are just so unassuming and cute, sunning themselves on rocks in the heat of the summer. My lovely sis and I decided to take a stroll down memory lane this summer while she was still unmarried and free as a bird so we went for a bit of a turtle hunt, just like we did when we were kids. It wasn't quite the same as when we were chilies, we had a tin boat with a motor instead of a little wooden green boat with holes in it that we had to paddle, but it was exciting and adventurous nonetheless. Anyhow, to make a very long and funny story short, we found one of those quiet, unassuming, cute little turtles sunning himself on a log in the bay across from our cottage. We tried a few times to corner him on the log but he swam away from us and ended up where we couldn't quite angle the boat in to get him. So I made my dear sister (who was getting married in a week and really didn't want scratched and bruised legs for her wedding), climb up this rock face with tons of prickly branches, lichen and such to "scare" the turtle into swimming towards me in the boat so I could catch him in the net. Oh- and she wasn't wearing any shoes. Well, after several minutes of trying, we finally caught the little gaffer, tossed him in the bottom of the boat and took him home to brag to my sis' husband to be about our turtle hunting prowess...and to obviously prove to him that he had chosen a worthy mate. Gone are the days of the dowry, are the days of the little wifey bringing home the shape of a turtle! Needless to say, I don't really think he was that impressed and may have thought our passion for this whole turtle hunt was a little strange. Obviously he has NEVER had the thrill of netting an animal that is the size of his hand and whose defense mechanism is to pull its head inside of its shell...

I digress...the point is this. On your long run, run like turtles people! Not like the wind, not like a rabbit, not like some axe murderer is chasing you down the a TURTLE. Slow. Steady. Breathe easy. Enjoy.

Thank-you and good night.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


So many things to blog about, so little time!

Between the flu, that very important someone leaving for Algeria, my personal trainer course (its official- I WILL be official), my real job and teacher's convention, my posts have become less frequent. For this I apologize. While my blogging has been lacking, my running has not. Well, except for the turn I had with the flu...which as I learned wasn't really flu as the stomach flu simply doesn't exist. What I seemed to contract (thank-you, Shannon) was what the world wide web informed me was some sort of gastrointestinal virus. ANYHOW- you can't run while you're barfing and laying in bed with a fever and very intense bone aches. Rest assured, I am BACK...and I have lots to say.

First of all, a bit of disappointment. Sadly, I will NOT be running the Vancouver marathon this year. It seems my alter ego committed to presenting at a conference in Kananaskis that same weekend and declined to inform me of this commitment. In the sad face of reality I decided that since running is not my career that I should follow through with my conference commitment even though my lovely colleague Christine did offer to present on her own without me so I could run in Vancouver. What a woman! Anyhow teaching is my job and running is my hobby (I do have to remind myself of this every so often) so I made the executive decision that I will be running Calgary on the 31st of May instead of Vancouver. I am saddened that I will not be at the finish line to see the lovelies complete the half but I will be with them in spirit and will be excited to have some people to hang out at the starting line with this year!

Next. This past Thursday and Friday was teacher's convention. I had the very fortunate opportunity to see Mr. Stephen Lewis speak at the conference on the topic of character education. For those of you who know me well, you will know that I heart Stephen Lewis. Not in the same way that I heart running or Tim Riggins, but the man truly is a humanitarian in every sense of the word...he makes me proud to be a Canadian. Of the many, many topics that Mr. Lewis covered in his speech, his passion regarding gender inequality that persists in the world today particularly struck a chord with me. He spoke of the women in sub-Saharan Africa that are raped, mutilated and enslaved in the various armed conflicts occurring in this region and how he cannot understand how, in this day in age, that the world allows such atrocities to continue. He also spoke of the fact that a whole new branch of medical science is being created in and around "vaginal reconstruction" to deal with the "vaginal destruction" that woman in sub-Saharan Africa are suffering from as a result of being brutally raped, gang-raped, raped with object such as guns (often which are fired while inside the woman during the rape) and sodomized. We are fortunate ladies, to be living in Canada...where, by the way, women are still paid 73 cents for every dollar a man makes for the same job. Something that seems small and insignificant when you consider what the women in sub-Saharan Africa face on a daily basis, I suppose, but it still made me angry. He also spoke in disbelief of the current economic situation in which our neighbours to the south in 48 hours could find $400 billion dollars to bail out their financial institutions but since the commitment to the millennium development goals by the G8 countries in 2005 the world cannot seem to come up with $25 billion dollars to forgive the debt of African countries. Curious indeed. Anyhow, Stephen Lewis is simply an amazing speaker who is passionate about a variety of causes...if you ever get the chance to see him speak, DO go...and to think he owes his very first UN posting to Brian Mulroney. The world works in strange ways, I tell you!

As for running (which does seem trivial at times in light of certain situations in the world) I did my first long run back after the flu on Friday. And I did it at the track. Yuck. Boring. But the ice and snow did scare me a bit after I had a major wipeout on Tuesday and I made the executive decision to bring it inside. So, I tried something a bit different...I downloaded a book to listen to whilst pounding around the track. And I surprised myself by enjoying it! It was great to focus on something besides the track and the boredom! I downloaded Diablo Cody's book- Candy Girl which essentially chronicles a year in her life as a stripper. While crass...VERY CRASS...the book is interesting and held my attention for the whole 2 hours and 6 minutes that I was on the track. I highly recommend the book download for anyone that is wondering how they will get through the boredom of their long training runs!

Anyhow- this post is long and random...I'll blame the rambling on my post flu brain. OOOHHH- but I am very excited to share some of my new found training knowledge and how it applies to the long distance running training in the very near future!