Runners Rut: I’ve been cheating.

trico-centre-sumo-deadliftsMarathon training did not go as planned.

Despite acquiring a shiny new plan from Eastern Shore Training, I found myself in a rut. It wasn’t that I didn’t see results or that I wasn’t getting faster (I took an entire minute off my pace!) but I just wasn’t motivated. Let me tell you, this is an awful feeling when you have a goal like a marathon.

About two months after I started the running program with EST, I decided I needed to get back into strength training. I thought it would help to boost my motivation (and confidence.) So, I solicited the help of Roni Davis, former NPC Figure Champion and award winning personal trainer. I love Roni’s style – she doesn’t bullshit, doesn’t accept excuses but she’s also realistic and understands the demands of a busy life. Because 5000km separates us, Roni put together a virtual training plan for me. Truth-be-told, I was intimidated by the first month of workouts. I hadn’t been to the Trico Centre in months and all-of-a-sudden, I had to use machines that seemed pretty darn scary.

The very first morning I got to the gym, I had no idea what the hell I was doing so I enlisted the help of Tyra, the fitness monitor. She took time to show me exactly what I needed to do on each machine and how to do it safely but within the program designed by Roni. Slowly, my confidence grew. The quad muscles that had dust on them started to appear again, my running got stronger and my muscles ached a little less.

So how does it work?

Each month, I get a new plan. There’s really only one thing I can be sure of and that’s that there will be a ton of squats. Other than that, I have found a love for strength training & weight lifting that I didn’t know I had.

I kind of feel like I’m cheating on running. But I believe I need this break to remember why I loved to run in the first place. And even though I’m not following a strict training plan right now, I still get out 3x a week for an easy run, long run & hills. The rest of the week is devoted to weights. Today someone asked me if I notice a difference in my body since I started training with Roni. There are subtle hints here and there, but I’d say the biggest difference is in my confidence. I love how strong I feel!

Right now, marathon training is on the back burner. But if you’re interested in hearing tales from a #fatgirllifting, follow along!

Week 2: training from -20 to +10

Calgarys_Sidewalks_snowI’ve realized now that I’ve got a full-time job, the best use of my time (and easiest thing for me to do) is weekly reports on training to keep me on track (rather than daily) and schedule them so I don’t have to worry about them posting – you’re the guinea pigs! Stick with me…

Jan 5: 5.41 km Run

I ran around my neighbourhood. The roads/sidewalks are a mess right now because of all the snow we’ve had so it wasn’t a particularly fast or enjoyable run but I finished it!

Jan 6: 22.57 km Bike

We all know just how much I love the bike. I was actually happy for the change of scenery. I am not enjoying the treadmill so much, so the bike was a welcome change (for a while.) I completed varying degrees of intensity and felt pretty good when I got off of it. My knee was still a bit tender at this point but biking helped make me feel stronger (even if it was just psychological!)

Jan 8: 6.53 km Run

This run was from my office over lunch time. The weather was quite mild and I actually enjoyed most of it. However, I did finish my run on the Centre Street bridge hill which was a colossal mistake. Yes. I do realize this will help me in the long run, but I was tired and I didn’t think I had much more in me to keep going. I remembered pretty quick from my last half-training that this is very much a mental game!

Jan 9: 6.40 km Run

The dreadmill. I mean, treadmill. This run was at the @TricoCentre on one of their glorious treadmills. As much as I dislike them, I do know that it makes more sense to hop on one than try to run around our sloppy, snow/ice covered streets. For some reason I am finding the treadmill even more difficult this time around – not sure if it’s just me, or if they’re actually just harder (probably me…) I also completed this with varying intensity in speed and incline.

Jan 11: 7.02 km Run

Glenmore Reservoir run and it was terrific. I had only intended to do a 6.4 km run, but was feeling really strong and wanted to take advantage. The trail was quite busy, despite heading there fairly early. It’s nice to see others out and feel the support/encouragement.

 Jan 12: 7.22 km Run

Final run of training week #2 was with the girls at #EauClaire. We started at around 9:45 and ran along the river, crossed and circled back to the parking lot by the Shaw building. It was a pretty nice run (but very slippery), much warmer than the one last Sunday and we did go further than we intended (which was good.)

That’s it for training! Hope everyone is happy & healthy out there.

Here are some tips for stretching [Source: About Running]

  • Don’t rush it. Stretch slowly      and hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Don’t stretch through pain. Don’t      stretch beyond the point where you begin to feel tightness in the muscle.      You shouldn’t push through muscle resistance, and never stretch to the      point of pain. As you feel less tension, you can increase the stretch a      bit more until you feel the same slight pull.
  • Do stretch both sides. Don’t just      stretch your left calf because you feel tightness on that side. Make sure      you’re stretching both sides equally.
  • Don’t bounce. It’s a common      mistake, but bouncing risks pulling or tearing the muscle you’re trying to      stretch. Make sure you stretch your muscles gradually.
  • Don’t hold your breath. Stay      relaxed and breathe in and out slowly. Make sure you don’t hold your      breath. Take deep belly breaths.

Day 201: 5 mile run, 7 mile bike, plank challenge & good times at Bonterra!

leaninWow – what a day! It finally stopped raining in Calgary so my movie/work marathon that’s been going on for the last several weeks came to a screeching halt. Felix enjoyed getting outside at the Trico Centre after he spent two hours there so I could work out.

I completed 5 miles on the treadmill (under 50 minutes) and then 7 miles on the bike (under 30 minutes) so I am pretty happy with myself. I’ve been pushing myself a little more each workout and by the time I’m done I’m sweating like a stuffed pig! Which by the way, segues nicely into my evening event which included Bonterra Trattoria and wild boar.Seriously. Have you ever seen a wild boar on a spit? It is something to behold, let me tell you. The food there was so delicious and the wine was divine! I saw good old  Kendall Jackson vino and it took my back to the Port of Wines Wine Show in Halifax. Those were the days! Anyway, this evening  I was lucky enough to get to hang out with fellow Calgary Stampede volunteers. What a good time: great food, wine and company. Made me proud to be a volunteer with such a terrific crew of people! Two of which will be joining the ALL-Alberta running team for the Cabot Trail Relay – woooowhooo!!!

Tomorrow is hill training. Still debating on location. If you have any recommendations, I am all ears!

Hope everyone is happy and healthy out there!

Day 149 & Day 150: speed training on glorious clear sidewalks & cross training on the bike (ow)

I’ve been doubling up on my posts because I’m having an issue with time these days – I’m sure no one minds 🙂

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day here in Calgary. The temperature was awesome and the sidewalks were…wait for it… BARE! Can you believe that? Amazing. Now, I have to be completely honest, I wasn’t really feeling like running yesterday. I was tired when the time came to get out and I had to dig really deep to get my gear on. However, once I got into the mindset of how lucky I am to have the ability to run, I hit the road. It took me a few minutes to find my stride (as usual) but once I did I felt terrific! My speed routine was same as usual: 0.25 km steady, 0.25 km fast and 0.50 km steady. I’m super excited to report that I completed a 5km run in under 30 minutes! I even felt like I could have pushed harder, but my right ankle has been bothering me and of course, I’m still taking quite the beating from this latest cold (blasted immune system!) At any rate, was thrilled with this workout and feel like I’m progressing quite well despite a few setbacks.

Here are yesterdays stats: BestRunMarch

  • Distance: 5.02 km
  • Time: 29:31
  • Pace: 5:53
  • Best Pace: 4:16

And this morning was cross training on the bike – my arch nemesis. The bike is to me, like Harry Potter is to Draco Malfoy. A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G!  However, I got it done. Completed 7.5 miles in 32 minutes, which considering I hate the darn thing, was pretty good. I hopped off and did some Yoga & weights (enough so that my arms are currently killing me) and called it a day at the gym! I have to tell you that the best part of the gym is watching the 75+ crowd who come in the morning, flirt with each other. You can’t help but smile!

Hope everyone is HAPPY and HEALTHY out there =)

Happy Trails…!

Day 137: Cross training on the elliptical – badda- BOOM!

Someecard Funny!I want to start this off with a funny from my FAVOURITE FAVOURITE FAVOURITE comedian, John Pinette:

And I tried the low-carb bread. Have you tried it? It’s horrible. I tasted it. I thought the wrapper was still on. It’s not like it went bad, it never went good. They have “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter,” they should call it, “This Ain’t Bread.” ‘Cause it looks like bread, but it has no other properties of bread. I said, “You know what? I’ll butter it. That’ll make it better.” Butter won’t go on it. It slides right off. The butter’s like, “Where are you putting me?” Jam and jelly beads up and fall off it. Did they Scotch-guard this at the factory? You know what I’ll do? It’s okay, I’ll toast it. I’ll make a sandwich, I’ll toast it. It’s better when you toast it. It doesn’t toast. You can’t toast it. I’m out in the garage with a blow torch. It’s absorbing the heat like a space shuttle tile.

So getting up early the last few mornings has been a struggle (especially with little person battling illness…) But I managed to scrape myself out of bed and WALK, yes people, WALK to the gym this morning.

But before I get into my gym session, let me tell you a little story called, “The Girl who follows the rules and almost always gets hit in crosswalk”

It’s still dark out, I put on my running jacket with all of the reflective crap, so that people in space can see me. I head out. It’s a beautiful morning for a walk. I make it to the intersection. Wait a moment. Get the walk light and this jerk of a bus driver (Bus #7901 driving the #10 route) whips out (Right on Red) and proceeds to come up on the sidewalk so I have to back-off, thus limiting the amount of time I have to cross the intersection (which was already incredibly busy & quick.) I get it. It’s early morning. And God bless bus drivers because I don’t want that job – they put up with a lot of shit, but seriously? You make it REALLY difficult to defend you.

So the question I pose to Calgary Transit: the last time I checked, a walk light gives the pedestrian the right-of-way, not the vehicles sitting at the red light waiting for the opportunity to turn right UNTIL said pedestrian crosses safely. When did this change? 

I find it absolutely frustrating. You know why? Because I HATE jaywalking. Seriously. I don’t jaywalk. In fact, while in Chicago and EVERYONE was jaywalking I stood (in the rain) like an asshole until I got the walk light just so I wouldn’t (a) put my life in danger and (b) put someone else’s life in danger. Come on! I grew up in a small town and as asinine as it sounds, even if there were no cars coming I would still head to one of four cross walks in the mile long strip of our “downtown.” This is mostly so I wouldn’t be a hypocrite cursing pedestrians when driving and alternatively, cursing drivers while walking. It’s called respect.

At any rate, I did safely make it to the gym, albeit annoyed that I almost lost my toes to a bus driver who was in a real hurry to stop at the next stop and park. But I had a great session and worked my little heart out to CTV morning news – I love the Calgary team; they make me want to be a journalist because it looks like fun, not stressful (which I’m sure it is). They make it look so easy. Anyway, I completed just over thirty minutes on the elliptical and I’ll be doing 30 minutes of yoga later today when I can fit it in.

Hope everyone is happy and healthy out there!

If you have any ideas so that I can spice my cross training up, please share, share, share!! 

Day 119: cross training at the Trico Centre

fish fartThis morning I was up early and trucked over to the Trico Centre. It was PACKED. I could hardly believe it; I thought for sure it would be a quiet morning at the gym – it’s SATURDAY! Instead, I was met with total chaos. There was some sort of class going on and the guy teaching it was yelling. My ears are still ringing. Thank goodness I wasn’t hungover or I would have turned right around…legitimately.

I was excited to hop on the elliptical machine and complete twenty minutes at a pretty tough pace. Unfortunately for me, the guy beside me must have had back mexican or something because he was letting them ride the whole time. I’m also fairly certain that he sharted because he jumped off the machine pretty quick and headed for the locker room. I even did the “shelter-your-face-in-your-shirt” move – which did not help. At all. My eyes watered. IT. WAS. AWFUL. A total assault on my nose and mouth.

At any rate, I had full-intentions of doing a TRX circuit today. I had a workout all ready from http://www.self.com, but when it came time the TRX equipment was occupied.I tried to get another line set up but was told that people have been STEALING them from the gym – for real? You’re that cheap? I can’t believe people steal that stuff. Anyway, I took that as a sign that I shouldn’t do it (and realistically, tomorrow is a long-run so I’d be pretty sore if I went ahead with TRX today)… so I did a few laps around the track and headed home.

Truth-be-told I am still sore from my workout the other day, so it was great to give my legs and arms a break.Tomorrow is a long run day – I am scheduled for a 8.5 mile run – it’s also supposed to be cold again – GIVE ME STRENGTH!

Hope everyone is happy and healthy out there!

Day 118: Do you ever get that feeling someone is watching you?

creepy_voyeurs_TricoToday was another treadmill day at the gym *sigh*

Life is just too hectic, so there was no way I could fit in an outdoor run today between three schedules. Thankfully, Trico has amazing on-site childcare available at Kids Korner – the staff are incredible. Felix throws a tantrum literally every time I go in to retrieve him after a workout. Reassuring, eh?

Anyway I got changed, got my gear on, signed up for a machine and away I went. Today I completed just over 4 miles and it wasn’t nearly as awful as yesterday. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what the difference was today. Same play-list, different clothes – could that be it? The gym wasn’t all that busy either and seemed a little cooler so it could have been the temperature too. Man I hate running indoors though! At any rate, I was about half a mile from finishing when I got this weird feeling that someone was watching me. I did the ol’ scan around and noticed that a few staff members were up behind the glass creepily watching (and laughing) at something below. Now, you know me, I am a HUGE fan of Trico Centre, but this bothered me even if I do have thick skin.

I mean, who knows what they were laughing at, but they were directing their laughter and attention to something going on in the gym and it immediately made me self-conscious. I know, I know – why the feck (in the words of Mrs Brown) should I care if they WERE laughing at me? But I did. And even if they weren’t, it was the optics. It made me revert back to photo in yesterdays blog post. Seriously. In an instant, after feeling like I was having a great run I felt silly! So in typical Kat fashion, I stared back and they quickly sat down behind a screen.Has anyone else had this happen? I mean, realistically, there can be creepy gym goers as well. But has there ever been a time when you’ve felt really uncomfortable at the gym? I have to admit, this is truly the first time in a long time that I left feeling like this. Proof I just need to work on my confidence a little bit more!

I finished on the treadmill (about 40 minutes) and jumped onto the TRX bar. I did about 15 minutes over there. When I finished, I was DONE. I have a strong feeling that I’m going to be very sore tomorrow – but it was worth it!

I want to leave this post on a really positive note and will hopefully encourage others as well. When I dropped Felix off with the gals at Kids Korner, one of them said “Kat, you’ve lost weight, I can see it in your face – good for you!” As you know, for the last several months I have been working really hard on my running but I had truly forgotten that a big side-effect is weight-loss. I hadn’t seen these gals in a few months, so to them the change was big. And to be honest, I was pleased to hear it; I’ve worked hard, I’m happy with the reward! (Side-note: it’s okay to feel proud of your accomplishments, you don’t always have to be humble. Enjoy it. Revel in it. It’s not arrogant.) I kept playing the compliment over and over in my head because I remembered my favourite comedian receiving the same compliment. I can’t express the hilarity of it, so just take a look. You won’t regret it!