Day 167: back at it…

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: “I’m with you kid. Let’s go.”

love you felixWell, it’s been a long week.

I won’t go into much detail, but I do want to thank everyone for their care over the last week. It was a devastating time for us and the outpouring of support has touched us deeply. To our family and friends who have flown thousands of miles, and drove through the night to be with us, thank you. For the meals, notes, calls, texts, prayers, messages – everything – you know who you are, thank you.

So after more than a week, today I finally hit the gym for some cross-training. It felt great to be back at it. I did about 50 minutes on the AMT and performed four tabatas. I was sweating when the time came to go home, but felt good. It had been a long week and I could feel the stress leave me with every stride on the AMT.

I’m going to attempt a run tomorrow – looks like it will have to be on the treadmill as it’s snowing and we’re supposed to get 15cm!

Hope everyone is happy & healthy out there.

Day 164: 5km trail run by Fish Creek Park

winter its time for you to leaveWhat heck, Calgary?!

Sunny and +18 yesterday, snow today – make up your dang mind! I was hopeful that the temperature would be warmer today but I was mistaken. After four years here in Alberta I should be used to this, but I’m not.

“Good things come slow, especially in distance running.” – Bill Dellinger

It took all my willpower to run 5km today. It’s funny how some days are just like that. I could have pushed through and done a miserable 10km, but I felt like it wasn’t in my best interest. I started out with 1km hill, literally. I parked at the bottom and just started running with no route in mind just that I needed to get out before the day got on too far. I decided I’d try to run on the grass as I’ve been getting shin splints lately and was hoping this would help – it didn’t seem to make it worse! There was a fellow with an enormous black dog (off-leash) who smirked at me as I ran by nervously. I don’t get people like that? Even if your dog is the “nicest” dog in the world, don’t you think you should still at least call to them when strangers are in the picture? I thought it was really weird, especially as I seem to be a dog magnet! Seriously. I’ve had more dogs hump my leg whilst running than Samantha Jones has had in her bed. And that’s a lot!

Further, I’m still not quite over this cold business and my nose was running faster than me. But I have to say that I really enjoyed running on the grass, it was a nice change from the sidewalks and pavement (not to mention, the treadmill!) My pace wasn’t super fast, but I’m okay with that. I pushed hard yesterday at the gym, so my legs are still a little tight. I will be running an 8km tomorrow with my running pal and I’m looking forward to that!

Here are tonights stats:runkeeper kat macaulay

  • Distance: 5.06km
  • Time: 31:23
  • Pace: 6:12
  • Best pace: 4:48

Day 159 and Day 160: If I can do it, you can too!

stronger

Recently, I’ve had a few people ask me how I manage to get family, work, volunteer work and exercise balanced…well to be honest, I can’t take the credit. A good friend of ours just published a book called, “Boardroom to Base Camp,” and in it, he has this exercise called: “The Balance Exercise.” It asks you take the hours in each week, subtract sleep and then divvy up the remaining hours to different things like: yourself, mission, spiritual, community etc. So when I was first completed the exercise it made me rethink how I approached each day because it clearly shows that we have a lot more time than we think. Just to give you an idea: I’m a work-at-home mom. That means I watch my son and also work about 8 – 10 hours each day; Monday – Sunday 😉 but not necessarily straight through.  Now I will admit that he does go to daycare one day per week so I can get out to meetings in and around the city, but that’s it. I also usually do a bit of volunteer work 3-4 times a week (sometimes more or less depending on what’s going on); I exercise 5-6 times a week ranging from 1-2.5 hours each time and on top of that, I make time to socialize with friends. I’m not saying a busy life is for everyone, but I am telling you that there’s a whole lot of time available to get this stuff done if you really want to! 

Anyway, with that I want to tell you about my awesome workouts both yesterday and today – I think the fact that it’s been above zero (well above) has really turned my attitude around. Even despite having another nasty cold again (and it’s quite nasty) I managed to do 35 minutes on the treadmill and another 20 minutes on the bike today! And yesterday was terrific as well. I completed my hill work on the treadmill (which I’m normally against) However, I started out at an incline of 2 and every 1.5 minutes, I moved it up. I believe when I was finished I was somewhere past 11. And I kept my speed at a steady 6! I was absolutely sweating out my cold, and it felt amazing. I’m not sure if I could have pushed much harder, but I’m completely satisfied with both workouts.

In the spirit of encouragement when I know some people are also having a rough time getting out with the transition of seasons and sickness, read this quote. I hope it’s as effective with you as it was with me! 🙂 HAPPY TRAILS!

 

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

Day 157 & Day 158: Cross training and a wicked fast 5km run!

photo 2So yesterday was such a busy day that I completely forgot about blogging- whoops! But I didn’t forget to work out. I did almost 50 minutes of cardio between the AMT and the bike. Both were great, well, the bike was boring as usual but I felt the burn. Then I did about 25 minutes of weights using my tabata timer. It’s loud and obnoxious but it does the trick! There’s really nothing spectacular to report from yesterday’s workout – felt great to sweat through this cold.

And then there was todays run, which was frickin’ amazing! I had only about 4.5-5 hours sleep last night and an incredibly busy day with work stuff, so by 6:30 this evening going for a run was the last thing I wanted to do. However, both Wedgie and I weren’t feeling it so we set up a run together and I’m glad we did. We had a super, super fast run. Wait for it… wait for it…. we did 5km in 25:39!! Fastest run in a long time!! Way to go Sue!!!!! We can get it under 5:00 min/km for sure 🙂

Tonights stats:photo 1

  • Distance: 5.00 km
  • Time: 25:39
  • Pace: 5:07
  • Best Pace: 5:00

Should You Run When You’re Sick?

flu Recently, with the season change, several people have inquired as to whether it’s safe to run whilst sick. Y’all know I follow the rule of “Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.” Which included my 10.5 km run yesterday with the start of the cold. However, I am reblogging this article from Runners World, because they get into a little more depth. Hope it helps!

Should You Run When You’re Sick?

By Marc Bloom

Runners seem to live by a creed that’s stricter than the postman’s: “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sniffle, nor fever shall keep me from my training schedule.” Indeed, the coming of winter presents many issues for runners who’d prefer to keep at it even when sick. Oftentimes, symptoms aren’t severe enough to make you stay in bed, home from work, or off the roads. And while exercise can give you a mental and physical boost when you’re feeling run-down, there are other occasions when going for a run may do more harm than good.

David Nieman, Ph.D., who heads the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, and has run 58 marathons and ultras, uses the “neck rule.” Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.

This view is supported by research done at Ball State University by Tom Weidner, Ph.D., director of athletic training research. In one study, Weidner took two groups of 30 runners each and inoculated them with the common cold. One group ran 30 to 40 minutes every day for a week. The other group was sedentary. According to Weidner, “the two groups didn’t differ in the length or severity of their colds.” In another study, he found that running with a cold didn’t compromise performance. He concluded that running with a head cold–as long as you don’t push beyond accustomed workouts–is beneficial in maintaining fitness and psychological well-being.

But, doctors say, you still walk, or run, a fine line. Take extra caution when training with anything worse than a minor cold because it can escalate into more serious conditions affecting the lower respiratory tract and lungs. Sinus infection, or sinusitis, is an inflammation of the sinus cavity that affects 37 million Americans each year. Symptoms include runny nose, cough, headache, and facial pressure. With a full-blown sinus infection, you rarely feel like running. But if you do, consider the 72-hour rule of Jeffrey Hall Dobken, M.D.: “No running for three days,” advises the allergist/immunologist and ultramarathoner in Little Silver, New Jersey. Even without the presence of a fever, says Dr. Dobken, some sinus infections, when stressed by exercise, can lead to pneumonia or, in extreme cases, respiratory failure.

Not surprisingly, winter weather increases risk of sinusitis. In dry air, the nasal passages and mouth lose moisture, causing irritation. “The sinuses need time to recover,” says Dr. Dobken, “just like a knee or foot.” So Dr. Dobken recommends including treadmill running in your winter training regimen.

Another option for sinusitis sufferers is pool running. “The water adds moisture to nasal passages,” says John J. Jacobsen, M.D., an allergist in Mankato, Minnesota. Pool running is preferable to swimming, says Dr. Jacobsen, because chlorine can be irritating to the nose.

If you’re still in doubt about whether it’s safe to run or not, take your temperature. If it’s above 99 degrees, skip your run. “Some people think that they can ‘sweat out’ a fever by running,” says Nieman. “That’s wrong. Running won’t help your immune system fight the fever.”

Nieman saw this firsthand when his running partner once ran a marathon with a 101-degree fever. Soon after, the runner developed severe and persistent symptoms similar to those of chronic fatigue syndrome. “Every day he’d wake up feeling creaky and arthritic,” says Nieman. “When he tried to run, he’d stumble and fall.” Eventually doctors concluded he had a “postviral syndrome,” a latent condition that was exacerbated by the race.

Although this syndrome is rare, it’s an example of the risk you take by running while ill. “Running with a fever makes the fever and flu-like symptoms worse,” says Nieman, “and it can lead to other complications.” During exercise, your heart pumps a large amount of blood from your muscles to your skin, dissipating the heat your body generates. If you have a fever, your temperature will rise even higher, and your heart will be put under greater strain to keep your temperature from soaring. In some cases, this can produce an irregular heartbeat. Also, a virus can cause your muscles to feel sore and achy; exercising when your muscles are already compromised could lead to injury.

Nieman recommends that runners with a fever or the flu hold off until the day after the symptoms disappear–and then go for a short, easy run. Runners should wait one to two weeks before resuming their pre-illness intensity and mileage. Otherwise, you risk a relapse, he says.

Above all, obey your body and the thermometer–not your training program.

Know Your Limits

How much running can compromise your immune system to the point of making you sick? For average runners, the dividing line seems to be 60 miles a week, according to David Nieman, Ph.D., of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University. Nieman conducted the largest study ever done on this question by examining 2,300 runners who competed in the 1987 Los Angeles Marathon. “The odds of getting sick were six times higher than normal after the marathon,” says Nieman, “and those who ran 60 miles a week or more doubled their chance of getting sick.” The illnesses were of the upper respiratory tract, including sinus infections. Nieman says there’s no doubt these findings are still applicable to runners today. He’s also used himself as a test case: When Nieman trained up to 90 miles a week, he constantly battled sore throats. When he dropped his weekly mileage below 60, the symptoms stopped.