Day 109: #YOGA with @BryanJonesYoga — SLAINTE!

yoga stretchSo TRX didn’t happen. It was a busy morning at our joint and I didn’t manage to get over to the gym in time, so I pulled out the old yoga mat and followed along with Bryan Jones on YouTube. It had been a while and was long overdue.

It felt really great to do the stretching and complete poses that a few months ago I found incredibly tricky. It’s unreal how it gets easier and easier; binding isn’t nearly as painful as it used to be (it’s still not always comfortable though). The pace of his yoga session allowed me to push just enough, but not too hard to quit. I also spent some time afterward doing a few circuits of weights and planks. It was grand!

Now that I’m all stretched out I’m ready to bring in the new year with some great friends!

SLAINTE! 

Day 79: 4 mile run through the neighbourhood

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

-Christopher McDougall

This morning I woke up and couldn’t even think about going running. I didn’t feel like it. I’m certainly no gazelle and if you asked my son, he would say I was more like a bear 😉 Now, I’m not sure if I’m just hitting a wall or if it’s the fact that my legs are killing me. I’m not sure if it’s time to just give my body a longer rest, or what. It took a lot of motivation this morning to get going. I read a few blogs and a few things on line. Reviewed my favourite quotes. Completed a round of planks. Ate my regular porridge, consumed some caffeine + water. Then when I just needed a little push, I was recipient of a teeny bit of coaxing from the peanut gallery and I finally hit the pavement.

The first thing I noticed was that I had shin splints (Shin splints: known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), can usually be attributed to overloading the muscles of the lower extremities or to biomechanical irregularities. Muscle imbalance, including weak core muscles, can cause lower-extremity injuries, and inflexibility and tightness of the gastrocnemiussoleus, and plantar muscles (commonly the flexor digitorum longus) may contribute, as well. Increasing activity, intensity, and duration too quickly leads to shin splints because the tendons and muscles are unable to absorb the impact of the shock force as they become fatigued; also, the tibial bone-remodeling capabilities are overloaded.) I immediately thought, what the heck, do I need new sneakers? I probably do. But this is likely due to using and overexerting muscles during TRX on Wednesday and nothing is quite back to normal. As I had feared, it has interfered with my training so now I’m a little hesitant to go back for more abuse!

Despite the aches in my muscles, I still pushed faster than I have the last few runs. I certainly didn’t enjoy my run that much today, but it was a beautiful day for an outdoor activity (I even saw a guy running in shorts!) The temperature is warmer than it has been, so everything is melting but the ice that is left is extremely slippery. In less than a second I almost bailed twice, startling the fellow behind me (sorry!) For those of you out there training for longer distances, do you only focus on the running & weight training? Or do you also attend classes?

Anyway, that’s it for the day. Tomorrow is a rest day and I’m contemplating doing some yoga tomorrow evening at the Trico Centre.

Here are todays stats:

  • Distance: 6.44 km
  • Time: 37:25
  • Pace: 5:48
  • Best Pace: 4:50

Hope everyone is happy and healthy out there!

 

Day 78: 2 miles slow and missing @Cape_Breton

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

For the next part of half marathon training, my schedule has long runs slated for Saturdays. Try as I may, I can never run long distances on Saturdays, I don’t know why (mental, I’m guessing). Anyhow, after having kind of a “blah” day, it was all I could do to reverse my Saturday and Sunday runs (which I believe I’ll do permanently). So instead of running four miles tonight, I ran two. And I don’t regret it. At all. I should also mention that it was getting late in the day and I still didn’t want to peel my behind off the couch (we were watching movies) and I got a motivating tweet from one of my online running buddies:

THANK YOU! I needed that push – I honestly thought to myself, I’d rather be running than planking . . . sucker! 🙂

I started out really slow. My quads are still very tight (but thank you Runninbear a.k.a Clair for sending me the stretch video – it helps!) It took me almost half the run to get really warmed up. Once I got going I just cruised around the neighbourhood checking things out. My legs felt incredibly heavy and although I pumped my arms harder, there was no way I was going any faster. I gave in and just ran at a comfortable pace for the duration. It was slippery, but the temperature was above zero – which was delightful!

During my run I noticed that there are about half a dozen homes already lit up with Christmas lights! I had to laugh because it reminded me of walking/running through the neighbourhood this time last year and seeing a house that could only be described as the Griswold’s Part II. The lights were EVERYWHERE! I did manage to snap a picture of it, but now I can’t find it. There are no words to truly describe it.

It also reminded me of Christmas’s at home. When I was growing up, my parents were pretty traditional with the lights: some in the windows, on some trees and one Frosty the Snowman hanging out by the deck. Does anyone (other than my siblings + parents) know what I’m talking about? I would go as far to say that this particular Christmas decoration is vintage. I also want you to note that if you scroll across the photo it says “Frosty Misses You” – this is how my parents saved the photo and sent it to me last year. Notice there is also no snow on the ground? As you can see, Frosty is so old that his colour is faded. The poor thing is just hanging on by the red of his hat. Which is why several years ago, we told our dad to get rid of it or we (the kids) would. Of course, he didn’t so we tied Frosty over the side of the deck so that when our dad got home it looked like Frosty was trying to off himself. But, Frosty still lives today and I expect I’ll be getting photos shortly to prove it!

The whole point of my rambling, is that this time of year is one of my favourite times to run. Yep. It’s cold out. Yep. It’s slippery. Uh huh. It’s hard to breath. Yes. People think you’re crazy. But you there’s no way around it. You cannot beat Christmas lights and spirit. When I still spent Christmas’s in Cape Breton, I would do my usual evening running and it went by that much faster by checking out all the lights and beautifully decorated homes – I miss it. So, the next few weeks I’m going to start reporting back on all the fantastic stuff I see. And if anyone out there wants to submit photos – get at ‘er!

Here are tonights stats: 

  • Distance: 3:23
  • Time: 20:14
  • Pace: 6:17
  • Best Pace: 5:34

 

#YOGA with the wonderful Rachel from @TricoCentre

I love yoga.

‎”I offer you peace. I offer you love. I offer you friendship. I see your beauty. I hear your need. I feel your feelings. My wisdom flows from the Highest Source. I salute that Source in you. Let us work together for unity and love.” ~ Gandhi 

Tonight I attended all level yoga class at Trico and as usual, it didn’t disappoint. My favourite instructor led us – Rachel. She’s incredibly patient, thorough and really takes the time to explain each pose so that people (like me) don’t injure themselves. Her encouragement never ceases and I can truthfully say I’ve never felt self-conscious or intimidated when she helps out.  She’s also ridiculously fit and always has good tips/advice.

We did some balancing and learned how to separate our toes to give us better posture. I can’t remember what she was calling it (I am terrible with yoga names) but basically you mentally envision your big toe moving away from your baby toe and finally (miraculously) some day it will happen (or so she says). I enjoyed tonights class because it wasn’t as vigorous as it sometimes can be and truth be told, I just didn’t have it in me (as I type this, my eyes are struggling to focus). Mind you, I do enjoy getting my sweat on at yoga, but tonight was not the night! I felt really strong when we did our chaturanga’s (which I did full ones). And in my research I learned about SUP Yoga – does anyone know anything about this? I guess it’s when you do Yoga on a paddle board. Check it out! 

Anyhow, I borrowed the below from Yoga Channel about spreading your toes – have a read, I feel like it’s going to help!

Why should you spread your toes?

  • Improved postural alignment; spreading your toes assists in lifting the arches of your feet. (To very briefly summarize,) this action lifts the ankle, the knee caps, and finally sends the energy upwards to properly support and symmetrically align the pelvis, spine, neck, and head. This is called pada bandha, one of the energy locks in yoga.
  • A smarter foundation; with “awakened” toes, they become smarter in detecting the subtle weight shifts in your body, thereby better abling to communicate to your brain and body in how to stabilize (Hello balancing postures!). And P.S. – Better communication also means less tripping over your feet/ ankle sprains (for you clumsy ones).

How do we spread our toes? 

  • Warm up by manually massaging your feet and wiggling your toes with your fingers. You can also roll your arches on a squash ball or tennis ball (or any ball really).
  • Use your fingers to separate the toes apart by placing them in between each one – this shows your unfamiliar brain what the action of abduction feels like. If you are really ambitious, you can also use toe separators.
  • In hero pose, lift your heels off the ground and hold for a nice stretch along the backs of your toes and feet.
  • Have a seat, extend your legs out in front of you and look at your toes. Look at each toe one at a time and attempt to abduct it. You’ll have to be patient – this will take a while to achieve. Doing this while watching TV, on your lap top, reading, etc may make it easier.
  • Standing tall, practice lifting your toes, and spreading them apart as wide as you can. Once again, take advantage of idle time (ie. Waiting for water to boil, food to be microwaved).
  • During your yoga practice, use mountain pose or equal standing pose to lift your toes, spread them wide, and set them on your mat.
  • Finally, you can incorporate this into other asanas – balancing, seated, even in arm balance. We could always use a little more pada bandha in our practice!

Another interesting fact is that you can actually BUY these things called “Yoga Toes” and they’re basically like the rubber things you use to separate your toes while putting nail polish on them. They basically train your toes to separate, without all the mental work. They run anywhere from $20 – 30 (so I’ve seen) OR you could just go to the drug store (as Rachel advised) and buy the toe separator from Sally Hansen.

Day 74: 10km run in the snow. Sigh.

All good things must come to an end. We left Phoenix, which for most of the time was 30 Celsius, only to arrive in Calgary to almost -30! It was such a shock to the system but we’re slowly getting back into the groove of cold weather and snow; my tan is already fading…

This morning I had intended to get up at 6:30 a.m. and complete a 7 mile run (even though my training schedule only had  6.25 miles scheduled). However, when push came to shove, I got going at 7 am, had my usual pre-run breakfast and hit the trail at 8’ish. I would be lying if I said I enjoyed the entire run. Mind you, I wasn’t tired at all but the cold weather mixed with crappy sidewalks made it frustrating. FACT: I enjoyed running in the desert much more than snowy Calgary! I snapped a picture of the only part of sidewalk I ran on today that wasn’t snow covered. But I made it through relatively unscathed; did a lot of slipping and sliding though! I don’t have any long socks to wear in my sneakers, so I’m looking for recommendations. I used to wear wool socks because it is so cold some days (I double sock) but I don’t feel like that is a feasible solution. So – winter runners – any advice?

The rest of the week looks like it may be a little chilly here (sigh). I start the second half of my training which includes major mileage building. I can’t believe I’m half-way through! When I started couch to 5k, I remember explicitly thinking (while running 1 minute and walking 2) that there was no way I’d ever be able to get back to running an hour – taaaaaa daaaaa! When you finish a longer run like this morning it’s such a wonderful feeling (runners high)… BUT then I realize, “Oh crap. I need to do double of this…” and I start coming down from my runners high. I really hope I can keep this momentum going, I’m really looking forward to knocking this half-marathon off my bucket list!

Anyway, here are todays stats: 

  • Distance: 10.02 km
  • Time: 1:02:16
  • Pace: 6:13
  • Best pace: 5:55

P.S: I learned a running tip on Twitter today: Before Running, one of best things to improve running gait/prevent injury is to place a deodorant can on the floor & roll underside of foot. I’m going to try this before the next run. Also, I need to get one of these foam rolls – they’re loads of fun and work.

Hope everyone is happy and healthy out there!