Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Half Marathon Training: Week 14

Total Miles This Week: 25.75
Total Miles Overall: 347 Miles

Workouts Completed:
Tuesday: 4.75 Miles (4 miles slow- 9:43 avg pace, with faster intervals for last 0.75 miles- 8:50 avg pace)
Thursday: 6 Miles (1 mile slow- 10:05 avg pace, 4 1 mile intervals- 8:31, 8:45, 8:26, and 8:28 respectively [SPEEDY GONZALES OVER HERE], 1 mile slow- 10:43 avg pace)
Saturday: 5 Miles (no time- phone was le broken)
Sunday: 10 Miles (slow- 10:25 avg pace)

This week brought a lot of firsts for me! On Tuesday I did my first ever training run in the rain. I don't know if I just shifted my runs around to avoid the rain all summer, or if I just got lucky, but Tuesday was the first time I ran in the rain. Weird. It was really nice, actually, except I didn't know what to wear. I wore a very light raincoat and was boiling, so I ended up tying it around my waist and then it annoyed me by bumping into my leg. I also wished I had a hat because my face was getting all wet. And I learned my eyebrow glue is definitely not waterproof. All good things to know before my race, in case it rains that day!

Then on Thursday I did intervals and broke into sub 9 minute miles- whoa there!! I definitely took 2 minute walking intervals between each of those, but I was pretty proud of maintaining that speed across all four miles!!

And THEN on Saturday my phone decided turning on was too much of a hassle so I ran sans phone (which means no running app, no watch, and no music/audiobook!). I had previously done this in the MEC Race in September when my phone shut off half way through, but I had never purposely gone out just to "do a run". But I knew the 5 mile turnaround spot by heart, having run many 5 milers this summer and it was actually a really good run. It was cold and like 65km/hr winds so it was challenging for sure, but I never felt like I missed my phone or that I was bored. And since my Saturday run is always an easy pace one, I didn't care about time anyway!

All in all, a good week of running :). I also got some new running gear now that fall has shown up with it's chilly temps and brisk winds. I love Old Navy running gear and I got the following items on sale and wanted to share!

Sweater Fleece Vest
I haven't run in this one yet, but I think it'll be good for staying a bit warmer as the temperatures drop to below 0 (shudder).

Maximum Support Sports Bra
I really didn't have high hopes for this bra as I need a lot of support to keep these ladies under control, but this bra pleasantly surprised me for the price! I find it super comfortable and supportive. I only wish the straps were a little thicker. But I have done a few runs in it now with zero issues!

High-Rise Patterned Compression Leggings in Always Bright Neo Poly
I wish the website had a better shot of these leggings, but they are sooo fun in person. I also love that they basically go up to my ribs (I questioned if they were maternity leggings?). I have such an issue with leggings falling down as I run, but I ran 10 miles in these and never needed to adjust them.

Long-Sleeve Go-Dry Tee in Carbon and Kelp Forest
I bought this shirt in Carbon and loved it so much I went and got the Kelp Forest one too (which is much more green in person than it looks online). They are soo warm and comfortable. I wore one on my 5 miler on Saturday, which was about 6 degrees Celsius and very windy out and at times I actually felt a little TOO warm so I am going to keep these on hand for the really cold days.

As well, I got a fleece hat and a fleece headband from Old Navy to keep my noggin warm in the winter. I also got another pair of running pants from Winners a couple weeks ago that are pretty comfortable and warm. And I picked up some running gloves awhile back.

So all in all I think I am ready for fall and winter running, but we shall see. I am still learning what I like to wear at different temperatures as that really is something that is unique to every person. But I am learning! For instance on Saturday it was 6C and windy and I wore a long sleeved shirt and pants and remembered I felt a bit warm at times. Sunday was a few degrees warmer (9C, but it was sunnier too), and not nearly as windy, so I wore leggings and a Tshirt and was quite comfortable. I will have to keep adjusting as the weather changes!

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 6th 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! :)
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