Lessons from the 2016 Balmoral 15 Mile Trail Race

Over a month ago, I ran the Glacier Energy 15 mile trail race around Balmoral Estate. I wish I could write that the race was amazing and that I got a new personal course record. I wish I could tell you that racing in my Inov-8’s went smoothly and will set me up well for Ring of Steall training. Finally, I wish I could write a timelier, proper race recap, but instead lots of living and weekly Primal Eye deadlines made that difficult. So here I am, a month on, having done a lot of thinking and learning along the way.

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Race goodies + my cat photobomb

In short, the Balmoral Trail Race didn’t go nearly as well as it did last year. I had hoped to best my 2:28:47 result from last year, knocking minutes off my time as I’ve (slightly arrogantly) grown accustom to, but that just didn’t happen. My time was instead 2:30:57, and rather than running the entire race and all of its hills, like I did last year, I stopped to walk a few times, especially during the last few hills. My feet hurt (real bad!) and my calves were so tight, and I finished the race with a huge blister on sole of my foot, below my big toe. I confess, I whimpered as well.

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Knowing My Limits

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Pat has entered the D33 Ultra marathon for March. It is a 33 mile out-and-back race from Aberdeen to Banchory and back. He has just started training for it, and being the supportive wife I am (read: I actually just need to push distance beyond my comfort zone of 8 miles lately), I elected to join him on his long runs. They started last week with a very hilly 11 miles of landrover track through the woods of Drumtochty. This past week, Pat decided to increase to 15 miles, and reluctantly I went along.

I say ‘relucantly’ because realistically, I shouldn’t be increasing distance so much, so soon. At this time last year, I was half marathon fit and mentally, I would’ve been comfortable with a 15 mile run. This year, my current long run fitness is at the 8 mile mark – I can bang out an easy 8 mile run with no adverse effects. My hips wouldn’t ache, I wouldn’t feel tired after the run, I’d be fine to get on with writing, meal prep, cleaning, whatever for the rest of the day. And I wouldn’t feel the after-effects of stiff muscles and tiredness the following day.

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SwimBikeRun – an update

I am two weeks away from my first triathlon, the Grantown Try a Tri. I’ve been training all summer for it, but have kept it all under wraps, until now. When you have so much information you want to share regarding primal eating, one gets distracted 😉

Swim

Although I’m a capable swimmer, having taken lessons and earned all my badges as a child, I literally hadn’t swam laps in a pool for about twenty years. I got back into it at the end of June, after entering my triathlon. Monday nights were designated swim nights in our house, where Pat and I would head up to Stonehaven to swim laps. The pool itself is 50m long, heated, outdoor and a combination of saltwater and chlorine, which makes for some very shriveled lips post session.

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My goal initially was to just survive a session. I started swimming straight laps of front crawl, with brief rests between each length; I managed 800m my first time. And I was exhausted afterwards! As the summer progressed, so did my swim fitness to the point where each session is easily 1000m (or 1km), without rests, and even incorporating some speed intervals into the mix. I’ve done either 5 x 50m one way with 50m back as my recovery, or 3 x 100m with 50m recovery. I genuinely enjoy swimming in the outdoor pool, especially on sunny days. Continue reading

{Coconut Friends} Amie the Runner

Coconut Friends is a new, monthly series I’ve started to showcase people’s journeys and success using a variation of primal eating. Primal eating affects us all in different ways, and the reasons we start doing it varies as well. The term comes from my friend Amie’s boyfriend Jamie: whenever she would talk to him about me, he called me her ‘Coconut Friend,’ especially since Amie cooks so much with coconut oil. And, as we know, coconuts and all their goodness are the cornerstone for any primal eater.

It’s only fitting that Amie is my first Coconut Friend. She is a good friend of mine: we met through work, but we’ve bonded over some running, but mainly our passion for paleo and primal eating, and spreading the message of just eating real food (aka JERF!) to others. I think Amie is an elite runner, but she’s so humble she’ll never tell you that. Amie will also be a partner in my primal business. Here is her primal journey.

I’m an athlete therefore I’m healthy!

I didn’t get into the Paleo lifestyle to lose weight, far from it; I was just over 8 stone (112 lbs = 51 kg. Amie is 5′ 1″ tall), with an enviable body fat percentage of just 14.5%. I run for a well respected athletic club: Fife AC, representing my club at regional and national events in Scotland. I have been selected to run for the East of Scotland in the international championships on two occasions. I train six days a week and sometimes twice a day. I thought I was fit and healthy. My half marathon PB – 1:24:57 – told me so, right?

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My Primal Journey

I hadn’t intended on writing a post today, and then something special happened this morning: I achieved my goal weight. After having spent my five years in Scotland with my weight number beginning with a 7 – as in 73kg, 76kg, up to 80kg after my first half marathon – I’ve now maintained a lower weight for about two months now, getting into the 6’s – 69, 68, 67, 66 and now finally 65.9kg. You may think that this is a really random number, but convert kilograms into pounds and you get 145lbs, or in UK terms 10 stone 5 lbs. I haven’t been this weight since I graduated from high school, 16 years ago, (that long!!?!?). This was the weight I was aiming for four months ago when I started my primal journey. And now I’m sharing that journey with you.

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When I used to eat therefore run

First, my life as an athlete to help put things into context: I played softball at an elite level into my adult years, and earned two Canadian Championship silver medals as a result. I played high school volleyball and trained five nights a week. As a twentysomething adult, I did Olympic Weightlifting for a few years, gaining serious muscle mass (hello big traps, glutes and quads). All throughout, I ate and drank whatever I wanted and was able to maintain my weight. I also had a decade-long Pepsi habit to boot, and would indulge in a piece of cake here, some gummy candies there, a meal out, takeout, or second helpings often. Everything in moderation, right? (I now hate that phrase). Continue reading

#trustthetraining | The value of a training programme

This week, I started training for my second half marathon. I am using the same programme I used for the Aviemore half, the same one that incorporated speed work, hill training and long runs and that was rolled into a neat little package of three days a week, perfect for my needs and my body. This programme gave me the chance to rest, to do ab work and to learn so much more about myself than I ever imagined. This programme solidified my love for running and helped me run a strong first half marathon.

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This isn’t the case for everyone though. As runners, I think it’s safe to say that we think we know it all, but really we only know the tip of the iceberg. We hear tips, we assume, and we push ourselves far beyond our body’s limits, and as a result, we become more prone to injury and illness.  And because we think we know it all, we train ourselves, we assume that the programme we’ve created in our minds (and that can be so easily manipulated because nothing is really set in stone) will be the one that will help us smash our current personal bests and allow us to become stronger, faster runners. Only we’re wrong, and race day comes and goes, the PB was non-existent, and we’re left wondering what happened. And in case you’re wondering, yes I’m describing myself for the most part.

I now know that training programmes work for me and today I’m writing to preach the benefits of choosing a structured programme over trying to train yourself. I’m not a certified run coach or personal trainer, I’m just someone who’s been there, done that and failed, then been there, done the programme and succeeded, and I want that for other runners too. During these next twelve weeks of half marathon training, on top of Half Mary Musings (my weekly reflection on training), I’m going to write a series of posts on the benefits of training programmes, all with that familiar hashtag #trustthetraining.

Today, as you may have guessed, we begin with the value of a training programme:

1. They are created by fitness professionals who have studied extensively in this field and know what they’re talking about. They understand the science of the sport, the human body and the science of recovery, so they’re best placed to be making the training calls. They’ve done the ground work, you just need to follow willingly.

2. And because the ground work is already done, there is no thinking involved in a training programme, just doing. Actually, I take that back: you do, at times, have to re-read what’s set out to make sure you understand it. Or maybe that’s just me 😉

3. A no-brainer: they improve your overall fitness to ultimately help you succeed race day.

4. You go outside your comfort zone and you make space between I can and I can’t. I know that over the twelve weeks I trained for Aviemore my confidence in my running improved greatly. While I didn’t become the fastest person in my running group, I became the fastest I’d ever been to date, and all down to the different types of runs I did for my programme.

5. You will do runs that make you feel like a more serious runner. I used to read running blogs and articles with the words tempo, threshold, negative splits, progression, intervals, and hill sprints and think to myself “I’ll never do those, only serious runners do those.” Now, along with long runs, these are the only types of runs I seem to do!

6. You learn what your paces feel like. When I first started half marathon training, I kinda panicked because I had to know my 10km pace and 5km for some training runs. At first, I thought using the McMillan Running calculator and my Garmin would help, but I found this made me into a perfectionist runner, and I didn’t like that. Then, I read an article and with the advice of a friend, went by effort and feel for paces rather than what my watch said. I’ve been doing that ever since, and it’s been working.

7. You learn how to run smart. I ran 10 races last year, and only after half marathon training and seven of those races did I finally learn how to be a smart runner. Rather than start out way too fast at the beginning of a race then fading away and losing speed, I learned to start slow and finish fast, all because of some clever 80 minute long runs with the last 20 at threshold pace. After my first run like this, it clicked. And it’s been clicking ever since.

8. You learn your running time. This is a difficult one to explain and I’m not quite sure ‘running time’ best describes it, but I’m going with it. You know you’ve got to run another half mile and based on your training to date, you know that that half mile will be, say, up that hill and around the bend. And sure enough, it is. It’s a strange thing to try to explain, but I’m sure there’s a few of you reading this right now, nodding your head in agreement.

9. Your body adapts to the long runs and recovery. I used to never think that I could run further than 6 miles because whenever I did, my knees and hips ached. All it took was for me to gradually increase the distance of my long runs and my body adapted to them. Recovery is something that we don’t seem to think about, and some take for granted, but it’s one of the most important aspects of your running. We push our body to work hard in our training programme, but then equally, with scheduled rest days and strategic easy weeks, our body’s are also learning to adapt to the hard exercise and as a result, they become more efficient. They are learning to recover, which will lead to easier recovery after the big race.

10. You will have a great race because you’ve trained hard, done all of your sessions and given your body the required amount of time to adapt and recover.

Do you follow training programmes for your races?

What kind of running mistakes did you make after you assumed something?

What races are you training for?

Arbroath Footers Smokies 10 race recap #PR

The first race of the year is in the books! And with a new personal best…. yesss! I entered this race way back in November, while still basking in the glory of the Templeton 10 and Glamis 10km. This race is what kept me running through the holidays and into 2014, not missing a Sunday long(er) run to maintain my fitness. I think entering this race was a great way to keep up my motivation during the winter.

Race day started yesterday with choosing my outfit:

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What to wear, what to wear…

I went for my winter Brooks tights (with pink waist band) and my blue Gore half zip. I should’ve worn my compression tights and Adidas top instead because *spoiler alert* the weather was ideal for running: warm and sunny, with a slight breeze. Much better than all the Sunday’s this year has given us so far, and much better than the weather I’ve heard about from previous year’s races.

I woke up this morning, not to my alarm, but to what sounded like ducks laughing and talking. It’s moments like this that make me happy to live so close to a stream. I had my ritual smoothie and vanilla latte, browsed the Ikea website, made a raspberry-oatmeal recovery shake, and was out the door to my friend Wendy’s.  We headed down to Arbroath and to a very busy sports centre, just in time for registration.

20140302_102941If you can’t tell by the photo, Smokies 10 is a women’s only race, so the men above were there only for moral support. It’s presumably called ‘Smokies’ because Arbroath is famous for their smoked haddock, also known as a smokie. Wendy and I picked up our race numbers and had just enough time for a performance enhancing toilet break (and for me to down my pack of Jelly Belly Sport Beans) before making our way to the start. My only goal for this race, despite also doing speed and hill training for it, was to better my time from the Dundee Templeton 10. The race organisers, as well as a colleague from work, informed me of hills from miles 2 to 4.5; I just hoped they wouldn’t be as steep and frequent as Templeton. The gun went off at the non-existent start line and we were off!

My race plan was to run easy for the first half, especially for the hills, then to pick up the pace at mile 5, then again at mile 8. I also planned to eat my second pack of beans at mile 5. The race took us away from the sports centre turning left from Keptie Road onto a road that would take us into the countryside Arbroath. I maintained a slower pace of around 9:45 to 10 minute miles, but this took some discipline to keep me from charging ahead.

Mile 1: 9:44

Mile 2: 9:59

At Mile 2 we had our first water station on a picturesque stone bridge before beginning our climb of the hilly section. That first hill was steep! But short, and luckily it leveled off again to allow us to recover. I managed to pass quite a few ladies who decided to walk up the hill, only to have them speed past me in the downhill sections. The so-called ‘hilly’ 2.5 miles were undulating, with another steep hill later on, but nothing horrible and long like Templeton. This section actually felt like the routes we do for our Sunday runs, so I felt quite at home.

Mile 3: 10:59

Mile 4: 10:31

Mile 5: 10:15

We hit 4.5 miles with a race marshal yelling to us “It’s all downhill from just after this last [small] hill!” I love it when race marshals yell that. The hilly section was over, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as my mind and others made it out to be. I played a game of cat and mouse with a few women who would walk up the hills then bomb it down them; I maintained an easy pace on the downhill sections to save my legs. I also met a race friend named June and we stayed together for the majority of the race.

At mile 5, I took my second batch of Sport Beans and picked up the pace. So much so that by mile 6, I looked at my Garmin and said “Shit, I’m running too fast:” sub-9 minute pace with 4 miles left was not a good idea. I still needed to pace myself until mile 8. The heat and light wind was also taking its toll as I had to take off my buff and top layer, and run in my thermal top instead, with my fleece gloves sticking out of the wasteband of my tights.

Mile 6: 9:15

Mile 7: 9:33

We made our way back to that picturesque stone bridge and our last water station, then headed back along the road that took us out of town. Mile 8 came and I picked up the pace. I was feeling a bit weird though and tired in the head. I was glancing at my Garmin frequently to make sure my pace was below 10 minute miles; I knew that a PR was within reach. I was averaging about 9:15 pace but it felt hard. I was telling myself that the race was over in less than 20 minutes and to make space between I can and I can’t. Over and over again. At this point, with my hair all over the place, top layer tied around my waist, and having just spit on my hand, a photographer took my photo. That will be a great #keepingitreal shot!

June was in my sight all the way back to the sports centre and the finish, and I managed to pass her just as we entered the parking lot. We ran through the field towards the non-existent finish, and my watched beeped 10 miles. I wasn’t actually sure where the actual finish line was, so I ran through the finisher’s chute and stopped my watch. The time was 1:39:05, a new personal record (or best). I beat my Templeton time by two minutes!

Mile 8: 9:56

Mile 9: 9:17

Mile 10: 9:07

Because the finish was kind undetermined, I’ll take 1:39:05; looking at my Garmin time, 10 miles beeped at 1:38:40, but I’m not going to get pedantic about it. Wendy and Nanette,who we’ve run with in the past, were waiting for me at the finish. Wendy smashed her Templeton time by 13 minutes! I opened my goodie bag to find a cool race t-shirt and hat, and promptly downed my water.

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We went into the sports centre for the treats we were promised post-race: sandwiches, rolls, sausage rolls and plenty of baked delights from Pie Bob’s in Arbroath. I managed to eat a small egg salad sandwich, but couldn’t eat the red velvet cupcake and chocolate fondant fancy I took, I just didn’t have the appetite. I chatted with Kirsty, our host when we ran the Aviemore half, and with Rachel, whose story of a lost toenail during her beauty appointment last week entertained Wendy on the race course.  We then headed back to the car to make our way home.

But first we snapped some photos!

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Including a #keepingitreal first attempt at the photo above:

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I look like I’m farting actually

 I’m so happy with my result and my start to the 2014 racing season. I ran the majority of my miles faster than 10 minutes, which is really encouraging going into half marathon training this Tuesday. Yes, Half Mary Musings is making a comeback! 2014 only gets better from here!

Have you run Smokies?

Did you race this weekend?

What’s the best post-race treats you’ve ever had?

#streaks and #challenges over the holidays

The problem with December is that it’s such a hectic month, isn’t it? With Christmas, and all that it encapsulates, our routines go out the window.  It’s a challenge to stick to regular eating and exercise regimens in December as every type of indulgence is practically in our face all the time: treats at work, drinks with colleagues, appetizers at parties, big family dinners. The food follows us. And exercise? Again, when our routine is all over the place, it’s difficult to stick to that structure. To sum it all up, it’s all a challenge!

December and the holidays aside, another challenge that I face as a blogger is that I want to increase my audience. I want more people reading this humble blog. It seems that one surefire way to get this done is for me to spend a lot of time on social media. I need to tweet on Twitter, instapost photos on Instagram, and keep spreading the word, all day, every day. But I don’t like living my life all over social media. I often wonder what kind of life those that constantly tweet live? Are they one of those people with their nose in their phone all the time? The type that sits in a busy restaurant, oblivious to their company? These are stereotypes, of course, but my blog roll features many bloggers trying to get away from the constant socialising over social media, more that want to be in the moment.  It seems while they’re trying to pull away from that time-consuming engine, I’m trying to make an effort to use it more. While I refuse to join Pinterest, and have no plans of starting a LinkedIn or Tumblr account, the least I could do is tweet more than twice a week, right? And if I’m going to share more over social media, I might as well get creative with it.

What better way to overcome these many challenges than to face them head on? This is where the #streaks and #challenges come in. My exerise #challenge over the holidays is to do the Runner’s World 2013 Holiday Running Streak: I will run at least one mile a day, every day, from American Thanksgiving to the New Year. And I will tweet about it on Twitter using #RWrunstreak. Check out my progress since Friday below:

Click on any post to follow me on Twitter, or check out my right sidebar for my daily tweets. And apparently, I did Day 3 twice 😉

I’ll also take on another #challenge: a photo challenge. The Travelettes, some pretty cool ladies that travel all over the world, all the time, have started an Instagram challenge for December 2013, the Happy Holiday Edition.

Each day features a different theme for your photo, and how you interpret and present that theme is up to you. Yesterday’s theme was ‘Season of Love’ so I enthusiastically posted two photos with #dailytravelette:

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Our first batch of Christmas cards from family

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Doggy love by the fire

Day 2 (today) was all about ‘Make a Wish;’ I wished that all this laundry, mostly running clothes from the #RWrunstreak, would dry itself! This is when not having a tumble dryer is a pain.

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Believe it or not, this isn’t my first set of #streaks and #challenges I’ve done lately. Last month, I did the 30 day plank challenge, and went from a shaky thirty second plank to a solid two minute plank! And I still keep it up, just because I like the challenge.

It seems I’m not the only blogger trying something new and challenging herself: Andrea, over at On a Fun Run, is also doing a few fitness challenges. Good luck!

Are you doing the #RWrunstreak or #dailytravelette challenges?

What’s your favourite type of challenge?

What do you do to stick to your healthy regimen over the holidays?

Do you like the snow?

Bum Belly Blast! or New Training Program

The new training programme! I’ve been running for three (?) years now, and I can safely say that I’ve hit a plateau. I have had aspirations of becoming a faster runner and a runner of longer distances for a while now, but I’ve never actually done anything about it. I’ve stuck within my comfort zone of 4-5.5 mile runs, with the occasional 6 mile run (gasp!), and intentions of doing interval training, but only ever doing one session. The hill running has helped over these three years of running, but I know I need to do more. And while the running has been beneficial for my physical fitness and keeping my weight in check for the last two years (up until earlier this year, I was overdoing the IEat Therefore I Run mentality), my no-training-programme regime has done nothing to improve my fitness for longer distances and faster paces. I need to venture out of my comfort zone to get better, and in order to do that, I need to increase the intensity of my running.

Which is exactly what I’ve decided to do. Combine my desire to improve my running with the mixed feelings I have towards my 33 year old body, and you get what’s been dubbed the Bum Belly Blast training programme. The phrase ‘Bum belly blast!’ is from my friend Amy, who leads our running group. Whenever we do hills, her mantra is ‘Bum belly blast!’ and it’s rubbed off on the rest of us. This programme is from Runner’s World Complete Guide to Women’s Running, a novel-sized book jammed full of articles on getting started, training, health, nutrition, weight loss, running & pregnancy, motivation, cross-training and racing. It is my bible in many ways, and is already worn out from all the dog-earing I’ve done to pages and referencing I’ve used it for. It also has some fantastic recipes in it, and yes I will be sharing them here.

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The programme comes from the article ‘Your Bespoke Body in Just Six Weeks’ (p. 180 – 187), which, as I write this, seems like some loss weight quickly scheme that doesn’t really work, found in the pages of Cosmopolitan magazine. Seriously though, I’m doing this because it’s an actual programme that contains the type of training I want to do to (but don’t know what to do) to get faster: interval running, tempo runs and the long run. The fact that it is also a bum belly blast is secondary. It is designed to help you ‘sculpt up’ and train you to potentially run a trail race, but also helps develop ‘your aerobic capacity and running economy so you can run faster using less oxygen,’ (p. 185). In a nutshell, my stamina and speed will get better, which is exactly why I’m doing this.

The programme runs for six weeks, three days a week and is as follows:

Week
Tuesday – intervals
Thursday – tempo
Weekend – long run
1
6 x 3 min, 1 min rest between each
3 x 10 min at race pace, 5 min jog recovery between each
60 to 90 min
2
20-30 sec hill reps x 10 (recovery is the jog back down between each rep)
30 min. Hilly at 85% max heart rate
65 – 80 min
3
12 x 90 sec, 1 min rest between each
20 min at  race pace
75 – 90 min
4
2-3 min hill reps x 8 
3 x 15 min, 5 min jog recovery between each
75 – 90 min or adventure race
5
8 x 3 min, 1 min rest between each
25 min hilly at 85% max heart rate
80-105 min
6
1 min hill reps x 10
20 min
90-120 min

While I have a degree in Kinesiology and Applied Health, I’m no expert when it comes to running programmes or even fitness programmes. So I consulted one of my colleagues, an elite runner who, at close to 60 years old, runs a cycle of seven days on and two days off. His marathon personal best is 2:46:xx, which in case you don’t know, was the 2012 qualifying time for female marathon runners for the Olympics. His current marathon time is around the 3:16:xx mark; still amazing! From now on in this blog, I will refer to him as my Unofficial Running Coach (or URC), as I suspect he’ll be helping me out more in the future. The guidelines below come from him:

  • Each interval and tempo run should include 10 minute easy jog warm-up and cool down.You should always stretch after the warm-up run and after the cool down run.
  • Intervals on a flat should be done at 80% maximum effort (unless otherwise stated), while hill reps are sprints that should be done at 100% effort going uphill.
  • Tempo runs are done at your desired ‘race pace;’ the McMillan Running Calculator can help you figure out your race pace. I want to run a sub-57:00 10km, so my race pace should be around the 9:08 /mile mark.
  • Long runs are run at a significantly slower pace, about 1:30 slower than desired race pace. You should be able to have a conversation without any problems. For me, this is around10:30/mile. Once the long run is over, elevate your feet for a while, (I did this yesterday after my seven mile run, it made my feet feel so much better!).

It is an intense and difficult programme, which requires dedication, discipline and willpower. You’ll also notice that it alternates between running on a flat surface one week, and hilly running the next. After two weeks of sticking to the programme, I can say that it is such a feeling of accomplishment to get through each session without modifying things, (which is something myself and my running group have been guilty of in the past). Yes the sessions are tiring, but I know they will help for my upcoming races. There are fears before every run, but about half way through, those fears dissipate and become excitement instead. I’ve also done a few of the sessions with my running group ladies, and having them there doing it with me, as well as giving me encouragement, makes it all worth while. I can also admit that I woke up yesterday morning excited for my seven mile run. What is wrong with me? The former Danielle would have dreaded that. 

And should I feel totally drained and not at all up for a speedy interval or tempo run? I can supplement with a normal run as per my URC. I could then push back the workout to the following week.

Finally, the training programme is supplemented with high intensity interval training exercises to help continue to improve my overall strength, stability and plyometric strength (read: the training that helps for speed). I do these two days a week:

  • Wednesday: Do each exercise for 15 seconds, with 15 second rest between each. Once all four exercises are complete, rest for one minute. Aim for 10 sets, (I’ve done eight so far).
        • unassisted chin-ups – I’ve not got a bar at home nor the upper body strength, so I do modified pull-ups lying on the floor while holding on to table top above, then pulling myself up.
          • Jackknife – I don’t have an exercise ball so I use an office chair with wheels instead. See image below.
            • Split lunges – Standing in a lunge position with both legs at a 90′ angle. Power upwards and jump off your toes and switch legs in the air, landing in the lunge position again.
              • Squat jumps – with feet hip width apart and hands on hips, squat down with your weight in your heels. Power upwards and jump off your toes, then land and repeat.
            How to do a jackknife – source
            • Saturday: Same set of exercises as above. Do each exercise for 30 seconds, with 30 seconds rest between each. Once all four exercises are complete, rest for one minute. Aim for six sets to start, then build up to ten sets by the end of the programme. 

            In case you’re wondering, my rest days are Monday and Friday. 

            Overall, I’m very happy I’m doing an actual running programme and, with it full of intervals, tempo runs and long runs, I now feel like a proper runner because I can throw around that terminology no longer in aspiration of doing them, but because they’re a regular part of my running routine. I will post some reflections on the programme soon, as well as some stuff I’ve been thinking about lately that I want to turn into posts:

            Aren’t you happy I have this entire week off??!?!? Happy Monday everyone!

            What’s your current running programme like? Any big goals you’re working towards?
            Which do you prefer: interval running, tempo runs or long runs?
            What’s your favourite healthy recipe?

            The Pros and Cons of #ThisBody

            I know I said that I would continue writing about our Ski Adventures in the Italian Alps, but I’ve had an epiphany and need to get it out. Hopefully you’ll understand?

            Yesterday I went to the doctor for a regular check up. We went through my information, then I got weighed and had my blood pressure taken. Good news: no change in weight in two years, and my blood pressure is in a good range. I hadn’t weighed myself in quite some time before yesterday, and had mixed feelings towards the result of 73 kg (or 160 lbs). At 5’7″, 160 lbs isn’t obese, but according to a BMI calculation of 25.1, I’m now in the ‘overweight’ spectrum. BMI isn’t the be all and end all determinant for what is deemed a healthy weight: I look back to my weightlifting days, when I trained with girls who were much heavier than me due to their sheer muscle mass and their ability to lift well over 100kg (or 220lbs – 1kg = 2.2lbs). I also am very aware of my muscular build, and my husband and physio have told me I have muscular legs. I will never be someone with long and lean muscles, and I also know that genetics is a huge factor in how you put on muscle and what your muscle mass will look like. Both my parents have muscular builds; it’s basically inevitable for me.

            This news of weight led to some very mixed feelings, which one could see as the Cons of This Body:

            This body needs to lose weight.

            This body runs regularly, but has maybe hit a running plateau and needs to up the intensity in one, or more, ways.

            This body has a small muffin top I get when I wear my jeans and work pants (trousers), of which I’m not that crazy about.

            Then I started thinking about this more, and began putting things into perspective. Last month, Christine and a few other bloggers wrote letters of apology’s to their bodies. They detailed the negative things they’d done to their bodies in the pursuit of fitness and thin-ness, how they sacrificed food and their bodies, resulting in injuries and sickness, and leading to further unhappiness. While I haven’t deprived myself of food aside from a week of healthy and controlled-portion eating to begin to lose weight for my wedding, which ultimately drove me crazy and led to taking up running instead, and the whole I Eat Therefore I Run mentality, I have had negative thoughts about my body in the past, and even every now and then. I could’ve also written a letter of apology, but I choose to celebrate the things my body has done in the past instead. This tattoo of mine really does help!

            Some of these next points would’ve featured in a planned post on 33 ways life has been good OR 33 reasons why I don’t do bucket lists, but I found that sitting down to write that post was difficult because I felt like I was bragging. Instead, I’m celebrating how my body, in all it’s postive and negative glory, has taken me to some pretty amazing places and helped me do some incredible stuff.

            Or, in a more simple form, the Pros of This Body:

            This body in the early years

            This body hasn’t gained weight in two years.

            This body eats whatever she wants in moderation (and no fast food), and running contributed to that.

            This body has remained the same clothing size since high school, fifteen years ago.

            This body has battled nameless aches and pains for almost a year now, but was determined and never stopped running, and is now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And also is seeing a really good physio therapist.

            This body ran its first 10km in under an hour, (59:13).

            This body has clean and jerked 60kg (132 lbs) and snatched 45kg (99lbs).

            This body has hit an out-of-the-park homerun, which was also coincidentally a grand slam.

            This body runs weekly and has never taken more than a week off of running in three years.

            This body has never, and will never, run a marathon, but is okay with that.

            This body has done Moksha hot yoga and pilates.

            This body has had many sprained ankles, a few painful bone bruises, two concussions, and sprained ligaments between her first and second vetebraes.

            This body has skied all over the Canadian Rockies.

            This body has successfully glided across boxes and landed spread eagle jumps off-of table tops in terrain parks at ski resorts.

            Ski friends for life!

            This body has landed a few 180 spins on skis, (which is also how I sprained my neck!).

            This body has skied the Italian Alps and a wee bit of the French Alps.

            This body has hiked up some big hills!

            This body has hiked around Uluru, or Ayers Rock, and Kata Tjutas, or the Olgas, in the Australian Outback.

             This body has done a massive road trip around Australia, from Cairns up to Darwin, down through the Outback to Adelaide, along the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne, and onto Sydney.

            This body has scube dived (dove?) the Great Barrier Reef.

            This body has toured around a good chunk of Scotland.

            This body has experienced the northern tip of New Zealand’s North Island (and loved it!).

            This body has stamps on her passport from the USA, Mexico, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, the Canary Islands, Portugal, Germany and the countless from the UK.

            This body has also visited Spain, France, Switzerland and Italy, but not received passport stamps from those countries, (and doesn’t know why).

            This body has seen Jack Johnson in concert in Toronto and Paris.

            This body has seen Jamiroquai in concert in Melbourne.

            This body has seen the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team play in Edinburgh.

            This body has flown on the largest passenger plane to date: the Airbus A380.

            This body earned two university degrees.

            This body lived in another city and province of Edmonton, Alberta, aside from her home of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

            This body currently lives in another country besides Canada.

            This body will always remain a Canadian citizen, wherever she may live.
              
            This body is a teacher.

            This body is 33 years old.

            This body will one day carry children, but isn’t ready for that yet, despite its age.

            This body has an amazing family of people in Canada, the USA, Germany and Scotland.

            This body cooks and bakes some pretty delicious food.

            Blueberry shortbread anyone?
            How about some beef brisket with creamy white bean mash?

            This body has made many fantastic friends from high school, through playing softball, going to two different universities, working at different restaurants, and through many life experiences.

            This body played softball for a total of 19 years, and has two silver medals from Canadian Championships as a result.

            Calahoo Seniors: I’m top right corner

            This body will be running the Balmoral 10km at the end of this month!

             


             This body puts a lot of pressure on itself, but is dealing with all of that slowly.

            This body does yoga and pilates, and has tried barre exercise and CrossFit.

            This body really likes stand-up and paddle surfing.

            This body is always a work in progress, but….

            This body has done some pretty amazing things.

            What are the Pros and Cons to your body?

            How have you celebrated it?

            Let’s tweet about it! ‘Hey @IEat_IRun, the pros and cons of #ThisBody…..’ why not?

            With that, This body is hungry and wants its lunch!