Day 18: 3 mile run through Glenmore Reservoir with stroller – YEAH BUDDY!

Today was a perfect morning for training. The temperature was around 12 degrees, the sun was shining and Felix and I had an awesome run through Glenmore Reservoir. We went the hilly way and survived (surprisingly.) I didn’t wake up thinking I wanted to do hills today (or any hill), but when we hit the trail I just felt like I could handle it (even with the stroller.)  I do believe that it was all due to my amazing mathematical skills. I worked out how far I needed to go so that when we turned around I would only have to do one really steep hill and get to finish at the top. It worked out perfectly.

That hill was a real bitch though (excuse the language.) I didn’t even want to look up because I was scared I’d lose steam so I just looked at the ground, pushed with one arm and prayed to God that if I passed out they’d find me before the bear did. Oh yes. There’s been a bear out on the reservoir. I truly hope I never see him (I do have bear spray, though I have no idea how to use it.) We made it to the top and I really wanted to do the Rocky move but thought the old fella I met up there would think I was a total nutcase, so I did it in my head. Todays run wasn’t fast but I really enjoyed it.

I continued “Project Morning” and said “Good morning” to everyone we met (some we met twice); I have to say, 99% of the folks we met today

were smiling and cheery. I talked to a few people along the way. One older man asked me if I planned to do the whole trail; I asked him if he was crazy. But did say “maybe some day!” There were lots of dogs and bikers; Felix loves seeing both. We snapped this picture of the pond as we were nearing the turnaround point. Yes, for my Nova Scotia friends, this is exciting for us here in Alberta. Water. It actually looked really nice; despite a little voice in my head telling to keep checking to make sure there are no moose, cougars or bears around it. I don’t even know what I would do if I saw any of the three. Surprisingly, I am most scared of moose.

I have to say that the runs and recovery are getting easier, but I do know that in the coming weeks my mileage will go up quite a bit. I’m also dreading the hilly runs that are also coming up in training e.g.: 5 x 200 yards uphill. Ouch.

Here are todays stats:

  • Distance: 4.81 km
  • Time: 32:07
  • Pace/km: 6:41
  • Best pace: 6:05

Anyway, as you can see the time wasn’t the best, but I’m not a bit sore and had a great run – it’s all about the journey, right? Here’s a picture of me and Felix after we finished. YAHOO! Big Smiles all around.:)

Is it okay to drink coffee before a workout or run?

As I sit here drinking instant coffee (yes. instant. a travesty.) I was wondering whether I should be drinking coffee before a workout, after a workout or at all. Let’s be serious, there’s probably no way I’d ever give up coffee (it would be disastrous for everyone around me.) That is to say, unless a study comes out showing me definitively that coffee will give me a third eye, tail or something weird. And in any case, I may even take those consequences gladly if it means I can enjoy my daily cuppa joe.

I love a good cup of coffee. From Cappucino and latte to espresso. I like beans from Columbia, Hawaii and Peru (just to name a few.) Enjoy my Keurig and relish using my French press. For those of us coffee fiends, there is some good news: no impact, positive or negative, on cancer development. YAHOO! When was the last time you heard such a thing?

Other studies suggest that coffee consumption reduces the risk of being affected by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s,heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver and gout. Further, a longitudinal study from 2009 showed that those who enjoyed 2-3 cups of tea/coffee per day (mid-life) were less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s. (This is compared to those who drank little or none.)

But with the good, comes the bad. Coffee can increase the risk of acid reflux, headaches, lead to iron deficiency anemia and of course can cause sleep disturbances.

So back to the purpose of this post: is coffee okay to drink before a workout or run?

  • Well, coffee before a workout can potentially increase weight loss (thank goodness.) The caffeine in a cup of coffee can speed up your metabolism, providing a burst of energy to help you with your workout (perhaps helping you push harder at higher intensity.)
  • Caffeine can trigger muscles to use fat as an energy source, rather than carbs (affects are short-lived and vary)
  • Caffeine has been found to enhance athletes performance during endurance activities and boosts stamina

These are all great things. But with the good comes the bad. Again.

  • If you have a cardiovascular condition, having a cuppa joe before a run or workout may be dangerous (coffee + jogging is intense effect on heart rate and blood pressure)
  • And, if you have hypertension, you should avoid coffee before a workout

I’m curious to hear what everyone else thinks about coffee before a workout. Has it made any difference? Good/Bad?

To learn more, check out the Livestrong website.

Day 17: 3 mile run through my “hood” with stroller

Not going to lie. I absolutely hated pretty much every minute of my run today, but I’m grateful to have it behind me.

The tell-tale sign that it’s not going to be good is when I wake up and want to push it out further in the day. I find myself rationalizing back and forth on why I should push it out; Oh it may be nicer later; it won’t be as busy; Felix just wants to hang out at home. But alas they’re just excuses and truthfully I just didn’t want to run today. I feel as though I should blame it on the amazing meal we had last night at Ruth Chris Steakhouse (everything was coated in butter; delicious.) I argue that that made me more lazy today… right? It may have been the bottle of red we had, too. Or perhaps that I didn’t get to have coffee this morning because I ran out (no pun intended.) At any rate, out we went for our 3 mile run.

It was a cool, grey morning. I wore a long-sleeve and Felix was bundled in a knitted sweater we got from Aunt Mary. He was as tired as I was because he barely made a sound the whole run. The sidewalk was pretty brutal in areas and I question how those with mobility issues get around – it’s unbelievable. But Felix enjoyed the bumps; they kept him entertained.

We did a loop around the neighbourhood and we watched a few golfers (the ones Felix ordinarily heckles from our deck.) These golfers must’ve been die-hards because it was so cold and grey out that I would have stayed in  if I didn’t have to run!

Anyway – here are todays stats: 

  • Distance: 4.81 km
  • Time: 32:40
  • Pace/km: 6:48
  • Best Pace: 5:58

Most beautiful places I’ve run – what about you?

In three weeks I’ll be heading to Cape Breton for a family event (YAHOO Nick & Trace). Like most runners, I enjoy different scenery and challenges, so this got me to thinking: where is the nicest place you’ve run?

Voted one of the best Islands in the world (and #1 in Canada) by Leisure + Travel magazine readers, I’d have to say that the most beautiful place I’ve ever run is Cape Breton.I grew up on the island so I do happen to feel quite biased in this decision, but I’ve run on other islands and this one is by far the most beautiful; bursting with colour and personality. (And of course, great people.) 

Of the 276.33km of the Cabot Trail, I’ve run 66.88km. Of course, not all at once (I wish.) For several years I participated in the Cabot Trail Relay – a 17 stage relay race through the trail. The race itself was a ton of fun and the camaraderie of runners has been unmatched anywhere else (at least for me.) The challenge of the trail, the jovial spirit of the teams (or most, anyway) and the milestone of being able to say “I ran part of the Cabot Trail” is well-worth the ups and downs of training. Now, if Westjet would lower their prices for flights going West to East, I would be one happy camper and make it out there annually!

I’ve also participated in the first Race to the Sea in Port aux Basque, Newfoundland. I can truthfully tell you I absolutely HATED every minute of this run. The scenery was beautiful and the people were wonderful, but I did NOT enjoy my run. I ran leg #8, which was a 12.4 km run from the ferry terminal to a cemetery. I mentally blocked a lot of things during the race (like not drinking any water)…but I do remember being at the base of  a hill and a onlooker told me that the finish line was at the top – he lied! I still had a bit of ways to go – and hills. It was hot. And muggy. And they were so lucky it was a free bar (sponsored by I don’t know who, some beer company) because I was fit to be tied. I had an awesome team (despite them trying to scare the shit out of me by lying & telling me to watch for moose up ahead)! And other than the running part, the team + celebratory drinks were the best! We also got screeched in, which was hilarious! And then met one of the Canadian Idols. It was a cool race.

And as much as I complain about the difficulty of running in Alberta, there are some pretty beautiful places to run. In the next few weeks I’ll be running hills in Springbank. YAHOO! The icing is that despite being pretty steep, the view of the mountains is incredible. When I first moved to Alberta it was January and Calgary was experiencing a Chinook. At the time I thought it was the strangest thing in the world (I had just left the cold, damp eastern Canadian winter.) But I put on my shorts and went for a run. It was so bizarre! I do remember it being harder to breathe, but I guess over time it’s gotten easier.

These are the three nicest places I’ve run.

Where’s the nicest place you have run?

Day 16: 4 mile Fartlek Run with Stroller

YAHOO! Day 16 –  4 mile Farlek run is done and it was terrific!

I wasn’t too sure what the run would be like today. I woke up feeling tired and felt like it may be a struggle to get motivated. I didn’t sleep that well last night (may have been the cappuccino I had late yesterday afternoon) and therefore, was wired until the very wee hours of the morning. However, I got up, pumped myself full of oatmeal, an apple, water and a cup of hazelnut vanilla coffee and out the door we went!

It was a gorgeous morning; the sun was shining, there was a strong breeze and I had some fantastic company: Felix. This morning (for added challenge) I took Felix with me in the stroller. It was great fun and he enjoyed himself. He was smiling and grabbing at all the bushes and trees he could along the route. At one point we were running straight into the wind and he had his head tilted back, taking in the rays, he looked so much like this photo it made me laugh out loud.

I was really thankful to have a good run day. I’m starting to get into the heavier distances and training, so I want to keep my momentum going! We didn’t see too much else on our route. I did say Good Morning to most people; and most said it back, except for the Grouch (she lives in the neighbourhood) and I wasn’t surprised when she ignored us. 🙂

 Here’s a breakdown of todays training:

  • 1.5 km warm up run
  • 2.5 km steady race pace
  • 0.25 km slow
  • 0.25 km fast
  • 0.25 km slow
  • 0.25 km fast
  • 0.25 km slow
  • 0.25 km fast
  • 0.25 km slow
  • 0.50 km steady pace
  • 0.25 km slow

I even went a little bit further than I was supposed to (not purposely, of course!) Anyway, hope everyone else is having a good week of training. Happy Trails!