Sunday, January 29, 2012

Get Your TRAIL On!

This morning I did something completely out of my normal marathon training comfort zone.

I went for a trail run.  A lovely 21k trail run in Nosehill Park with some seasoned trail veterans.   An amazing, unique experience, a beautiful morning and I loved every second of it!  In fairness to the road (I sort of feel like I cheated on the road with the trail), I also love my long training runs on the paved pathways and roads, but I have to admit it was nice to get out onto the trails this balmy (+7C) Calgary morning.  I can totally see how this trail running thing could be addictive.  The pace is less, the pounding is less, but the run was still very, very challenging with all of the inclines and declines.  Also, zoning out is completely out of the question, as you need to be aware of every footfall to ensure you are picking the "path of least resistance" (dodging ice, rocks, roots) on the trail.

Of course, this was likely an aptly timed foray off of the pavement and onto the trail as my next marathon is less than two months away and occurs on a trail.  A little bit crazy perhaps to think that I can manage to ready myself for a trail race in just two short months with 1 trail run notched on the proverbial belt, however, I'm a gal that likes a challenge and an inevitably large one this trail race in the swamp will certainly provide!

Recall if you will, just one and a half short months ago, my southern running buddy who I met at the NYC marathon, Mr. Larson, suggested that since I was going to be in the Orlando area at the end of March and since I was unsuccessfully looking for a full road marathon, that I give the Big Green Swamp Marathon a shot.  I almost felt like I was being called out on this one, as in a Canadian gal like myself certainly can't take the heat (plus humidity) and challenges that running a 26.2 across a swamp will certainly throw my way.  So I naturally did what any sane non-trail runner does when faced with a trail challenge such as this and signed up.  Which brings me back to this whole trail running experience today.  I figure I'd better get at least a few miles in on the trails before I hit the swamp in March.  Coupled with the challenge that a trail marathon in a swamp will bring (think: roots, wet, hot and humid), also noteworthy is the fact that I'll be running alongside the gators and spiders that are indigenous to the Florida swamps.  Awesome?  Please note the question mark following that comment since I'm not entirely sure that the website is exaggerating on this one.  A bonus, I suppose, is that this may inspire me to pick up the pace ever so slightly.  I have no plans to run a fast race in Florida and am using the run as a training race for my targeted goal race, which is the Ottawa full in May.  However, I am certain that there is nothing like the fear of being taken out by a gator or spider to inspire a bit of speed here and there on the old trail.

All things considered, I'm really looking forward to this one.  It should be fun if nothing else. 

And in case you missed it, it was an epic, EPIC finish to the Australian Open this morning.  Nadal may have lost, but he lost in 5 of the best sets of tennis that I have ever had the pleasure of watching.  And it made me love him just that much more.  An insanely intense display of athleticism.  Love.

Last, but certainly not least, 5 runners at the lulu run club on Saturday at noon.  5.  Oh.Ya.Baby.  And two of them were hungover.  6 if you count the furry four legged Ellie that joined us.  Note to runners:  let's double this next weekend please!  No excuses!  4th st. lulu!  Saturday!  11:30!  DO IT!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I'm going back to my roots.  And no, not with my hair.  I actually am a brunette.  With blue eyes.  Weird.

But this isn't about my hair or my eyes, it's about the fact that I am going to create the most amazing all metal running playlist.  Oh, ya, that's right.  I'm going back to my banger days of bush parties and Kenora dinner jackets.  Metallica- yes.  Megadeath- check.  Tool- yes PLEASE.  GnR- yes, yes, yes.  I may even sneak some rock in there. 

If you see me out running, I may be in lulu's and a Metallica t-shirt.  Do me a favour- give me a headbang and a "How she go?".  Much appreciated.

Rock on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Groupie, Repeat

Wow, Calgary.  Did you go running today?  Did you?  I sure hope so.  After days of sub arctic temps and nothing short of brutal windchill, we finally got a break.  And an awesome break it was!  What an amazing day for running.  I hope that everyone had the chance to get out there and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful weather.

I've got some exciting news on the running front...exciting for ME, anyhow.  I've become a groupie again!  At Dr. Oats' suggestion, I've joined a group of incredibly fast runners called Adrenalin Rush.  My plan is to run with this group once a week on the track.  For those of you that know, or for those of you that are curious, I am a firm believer that the kind of work that happens on the track is absolutely integral to becoming a faster runner.  Coupled with this is the fact that these track intervals are possibly the most challenging part of training, both mentally and physically.  You are often running at a very, very tough pace and repeating the set distance until exhaustion.  The benefit of the doing this training with a group is that you are suffering I mean training alongside others, and for some reason (I'm sure there is psychology that backs this up that I don't know about just yet) makes it that much easier.  Plus, I am a bit of a competitive gal and I don't like to be left in the dust which means I do my very, very best to keep up with runners that are significantly quicker than myself.  I've now had the pleasure of two track work outs with these folks, and I can say, with relative certainty, that this group will push me to be a better and faster runner. Both sessions have been tough, but it felt so very good to be running hard on the track again.  It's nice to be focused and training for a goal!  A lovely added bonus is that there are some incredibly fast women running with this group.  And guess what?  One of them is a sub 3:00 marathoner.  Eek!  I will do my very best to keep up.  Promise.  I'll keep you posted on that if I even have any energy to type.

And just because I have to because it makes me happy...

Shine on peeps, enjoy the beautiful day, the fabulous week ahead and of course...


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Note to Self

Dear Me,

Do you remember why you run?  I'm not sure if after the week that you had that you do.  I thought I'd remind you before each step, each kilometer, each lap on the track turns into something running has never, ever been for you which is "just" a workout, something that needs to be completed and checked off the never-ending list of things to do.

You see, YOU are a busy person, very busy, just like most people in this world.  You have obligations to your professional life and your personal life, just like most people in this world.  You wake up early, eat breakfast, go to work, race home, drop your stuff, pick up new stuff, head to the next activity, get home, drop your stuff again and crawl into bed, just like most people in this world.  But remember, please, please, please remember, that you do NOT have an obligation to run, that this is a choice you make and that you continue to make because you truly believe in the positive effect it has had on your life.

This crazy week, time seemed short.  In between the job, the classes, the clients and other things, running became something that you just fit in.  And fitting running in is simply not acceptable, since it is the small amount of time that you devote to yourself in this life.  Running is a gift you give yourself each and every time that you go.  It is the time that you set aside for YOURSELF; to think , to dream, to move, to feel good and to put it all into perspective.  This week this was not what running became for you.  It simply became a task.  Something that had to be checked of the list of things to do, and that is certainly not a reason to keep going.  As you move a head in this year of big, big changes, remember just that.  There will be ups, there will be downs, there will be celebrations and there will be setbacks, but running will be with you every step of the way, so honour it the way that you always have, by looking at it as an integral part of your life that leaves you with peace in your mind and happiness in your heart.  To do it for any other reason, simply cannot and doesn't make sense...if you are doing it to get it done, well, then, you need to stop.

Thanks for taking the time to read and remember this.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Running. Funny.

If you have never watched a video on my blog, please, please, PLEASE watch this one.  So very funny and a lovely break for a laugh during the day.  Laughing seems to just make the stress flow right out of the body, so I highly suggest investing 2 minutes in this video.  Trust me, your mindset will be changed instantly and a much more productive day you will have. 

Nice work, Brooks! Not quite enough to encourage me to get out of my Asics, but entertaining none the less.

On another note, it looks like the warm streak is over, running friends.  Sad but true.  I had to don the long underoos and a big pink toque for last nights 44 with the Tech Shop half marathon group.  Fingers crossed for more tropical temps soon...I am SO not cut out for the cold. 

And one last thing...thanks to Dr. Oats for the radical core work last evening.  Chinups were hard but I will get there.  Yes, I will. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Green Goodness

I get asked a lot for my recipe for my morning Green Goodness shake.  It is spectacular.  Fabulous.  Full of spinach and kale and just an amazing bunch of goodness to put into your body first thing in the morning.  I wish I could take full responsibility and credit for creating this lovely glass of green morning goodness, but I most certainly didn't come up with it myself.  However, I have tinkered with this recipe and I beleive it's morphed into something extra special and nutritious that I can't wait to have first thing when I roll out of bed. 

Green Morning Goodness
1 large handful of spinach
2 large stalks of kale (rip the leafy bits off, no need to throw the stalks in there)
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
1/2 a banana
1/2 a cup of UNSWEETENED and UNFLAVOURED almond milk
1 scoop of whey protein powder (please, please, PLEASE don't add a sugar laden or worse an artificially sweetened one...use an unflavoured kind; I like Sisu brand.)

Blend and enjoy.  It's that simple.

  • Skip the kale and just add lots and lots of spinach, although I'm not certain why you would, as kale is an amazing natural anti-oxidant (especially important for distance athletes who generally have quite a few little free radicals floating around the old system); vice versa you could skip the spinach and double up on the kale.
  • Substitute whatever kind of berry or frozen fruit you would like in place of blueberries, although again, I'm not sure why you would.  Blueberries.  Yum.
  • Skip the berries altogether and use a full banana. As one specific trainer I highly admire and the women whose nutrition philosophy I attempt to follow, one AT says, there is really no such thing as half a banana...nature made it just the way it is for a reason.  It's supposed to be eaten in one serving!
  • If you're not partial to protein powder, greek yogurt is a nice substitute (chalk full of protein); add a dollop
  • Toss in a tablespoon of chia seeds.  Or flax seeds.  Or hemp hearts.  Or a combination of all three.
Now there are those of you, I just know, who are asking yourselves right this moment, why on earth should you even consider drinking a morning Green Goodness shake?  Personally, I like to have this shake as a vehicle to get a large serving of leafy greens in the morning.  More vegetables certainly can't hurt a gal, yes?  Most people I know don't eat nearly enough vegetables.  This is a great way to consume 2 whole servings in one tasty shot!  Also, I find it difficult to get enough protein, particularily when I'm training.  And protein is just so important to repair the tear down that you're doing if you are training for a distance event of any kind.  Of course, it also keeps you feeling full for longer which is a nice added bonus. 

And just so you know, as long as you throw at least half a banana in the blender, you won't even taste the green, I promise.  Go ahead, try it...who know you just may like it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012. Bring It.

Lots going on in 2012 so far!

One: Resolution Run 5k this morning in the Peg with my amazing sis and lovely friend Chaney.  Windy but fun.  I especially enjoyed my post 5k chai tea latte.  Half sweet.  Skim milk.  Extra hot.  Yes, a bit high maintenance but worth every sip!

Two: Big Green Swamp Marathon, Dade City Florida, March 24, 2012.  Signed up.  Reptiles, spiders, swamp.  Sounds fun.  Sounds intimidating.  It will be awesome.  My very first trail race.  Will be a nice jog as I am clearly much more focused on my time goal for the Ottawa marathon, which leads me to three.

Three: Ottawa marathon.  May 27.  Goal: 2:59.59.  Just in case you missed it.

Four:  Time to start getting my buttertart butt in gear.  Xmas vacay has been wonderful...some cross country, some hill running, some workouts...but I feel like I have been waiting for go time.  So why wait any longer?  Training will start...right...NOW- or at least tomorrow morning.

How about the rest of you running peeps?  Got anything going on in 2012?  Looking to have anything going on in 2012?  How about a Half marathon clinic through the Tech shop?  How about coming out to a lulu run or two (deets to follow)?  How about setting some goals relating to your own health and wellness? 

And just a quick thought...

A healthy lifestyle does NOT start or end.  It is something you commit to.  Period.  There maybe days that you miss your workout or your nutrition derails, but that doesn't symbolize the end of the journey, just a small bump in the road.  Small details in the overall picture.  Next time you catch yourself saying, I'll start over next week...or next month...or after the weekend, consider WHY it has to wait.  Now is the time.  Yes, YOU CAN.