Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pain-free Long Run

The plan was to head into the city and meet up with my runner girls.  We were going to loop the reservoir then stop at Heritage Park's new cafe, grab coffees and walk back to our cars at the Landing.

Funny how life has a way of making other plans.

Fast forward to this morning.  After a very restless night with Doodle - both girls woke up puking.  Ugh.  Buh bye long run with my pals.  Hello small hope of a local long run...if I could find a long enough route. 

As soon as they went down for an early nap - I hit the road.  The country road, that is.

But not without a false start. 

Mistake #1 - wore my Nikes, completely forgetting why I don't wear them anymore
Mistake #2 - new water bottle belt.  Shoulda known better because I couldn't get it to size small enough.
Mistake #3 - Phone left on coffee table

So 0.6km in - the new water bottle popped out of the belt and smashed open on the path.  The arches on my shoes were killing my feet.   I still didn't realize I'd forgotten my phone.

So back home I went.

Off with the shoes.  Ditch the belt.  See my phone on the table.

But the false start did afford me the time to stretch a bit.

Then I strapped on my 2 bottle fuel belt, my Asics and shoved my phone in a pocket.  Then if was time to go for real.

I started out along the path by the dank little canal at the end of our street.  A kid was bouncing pebbles off the ice and it tinkled like little bells.


Then on the edge of town, I met up with the first of my gravel roads for the day. (That house is my favourite house in all of Langdon.

In the end - all gravel roads really look the same.

My trusty Asics (oops, still haven't cut the timing chip off from my marathon last fall)

Crossroads

6k in and feeling fine (how do y'all like my new headband?)


Fuel.  The funny thing about this picture is that I don't normally fuel with gels.  Last year they really upset my stomach so I switched to Fig Newtons.  Unfortunately - this is the first run since my marathon where I needed to take fuel...and the Fig Newtons we had were from October and therefore inedible.  But I had 2 gels.  Didn't bother my tummy at all this time.


Consulted the map to make sure I was on track.  I left a 2nd copy of this with Hubby in case I wasn't back within 2 hours (I ended up texting him to extend that deadline)


Anybody need a dresser?  Nice solid wood one that obviously fell off somebodys truck.  Needs minor repairs...  (If you need a vacuum - it appears these guys move was rather tragic...the vacuum was in too gory of shape to be featured on this blog and may not be restorable to working order)


Ah flat flat prairies and endless Alberta sky.


Mountains in the distance.


Part of my plan was to run alongside an irrigation canal.  But when I got there I was greeted by this:

after testing to make sure it wasn't electric - I quickly hopped over (shh - don't tell the owners of that gate that I trespassed).  Especially since not 20 paces in, I saw this:

One thing about city runs is that you aren't often met by shotgun shells.

The path along the canal was flat and pretty uneventful.  They haven't opened the river gates up yet so it had no water...

Just thought it was a pretty pic

This horsey was so curious about me.  He would stare and then take 2 steps in my direction then stare some more.  I hoped he'd run over and join me, but no such luck.


Ok - I all good at 10 or 11K...but, as you can see - I was being swarmed by mosquitoes.  Luckily they don't take donations of my O-.  Notice the tank.  It was soooo warm out there.


To pass the time without tunes - I counted cans and bottles (and tallied up the return I would have gotten if I'd collected them - turned out to be $2.30 by the end of the run)


and then I was home. 17.38K in 2.5 hours.  I walked A LOT.  But I made it pretty pain free.  My knee did make some groans a couple of times but nothing that would cause me to stop and quickly went away.  IT band was fine for the whole run.


 My Route

And the Garmin geekery - lap times.


The girls were still sleeping when I got home.  

All in all, I felt pretty good on this run.  I took a lot of walk breaks (hence the sheer number of photos), but I focused on just getting in the miles and not caring how slow they went as long as they didn't hurt.  I really liked the solitude on the country roads.  I only passed maybe 4 cars the entire time (it's pretty deserted around here) and if I had to go to the washroom - I'd just drop trou and go (sorry TMI) - no need to run in discomfort when no one is around to see your lady bits. :P  

It's nice to have a change of scenery once in a while and get out there on your own.  IN a couple of months the birds and bugs will be swarming too thickly to run through (and those damn red wing blackbirds will be back...grr)

After the run and a shower - I drove to Chestermere to get a lovely hour long massage of my legs.   It was really nice to have someone pull the kinks out of them.  I think I am going to make that a regular thing.

So that was today's long run.  Feels good to be back.  I REALLY needed this run.  Now I am off for a little TNT Reunion - some of the girls from my Nike 2010 team are all going for dinner with one of the girls who recently moved out of province (she's in town for a visit this weekend).  Can't wait to see everyone!

Ta ta for now.  Happy running - especially if your long run is still to come this weekend!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Reads: Train Like a Mother by Dimity McDowell and Sarah Bowen Shea

A few weeks ago, I profiled the first book by these awesome ladies - Run Like a Mother.  Well, I've spent two years running like a mother...now I am ready for a book on how to train like one...and, just like that, it is delivered!  I initially bought this in ebook...but couldn't resist when I saw it in print as well.  Now I can take it wherever I go!

Like the first book, this one is filled with essays and anecdotes about being a mother runner.   Where this book diverges from the first is that it provides you with mommy-friendly training plans for each race distance.  One to finish it..another to own it.   My favourite part of the training plan, which were developed by Christine Hinton, is how they show runs that are "MUST NOT SKIP" runs and the ones that you can skip if you need to - FINALLY a training plan that is flexible enough to understand a mom!   To understand that life happens and that we don't want to spend our time worrying about a missed marathon training run.

My favourite parts of this book were: (page numbers from my print edition - ebook may vary)
  • The training plans (chapters 3-6) - though I will need to mark them up with Kilometre conversions
  • The Relay walk through (pgs 59-62) - I am so sharing these with my K100 team!
  • The Mud Run tips (pgs 46-47) - must remember these if I ever decide to tackle a mud hero race
  • Tips for racing with friends - to stay or to go (pgs 66-68)
  • Best time to take on a Marathon (pg 89) - awesome thinking points, especially for moms
  • The Marathon Ready Cycling Plan (pgs156- 160) - great for the injured runner
  • How to train your cheering section (pgs 187-188)

This book carries on the same tone as the first and, by this point, Sarah and Dimity feel like old friends.  Like the moms you already run with on the weekend.   They address all of the aspects of training from a woman's perspective and a mother's time frame. Despite the fact that this book is targeted at moms, I think it could benefit any busy woman.  And if that busy woman plans to one day become a mom, then she might end up better prepared for what it will mean for her running when the time comes.

So there you have it. I didn't realize how much I anticipated this book until it was finally here.  And it was definitely worth the wait.  If anything - it is a step away from "coping with kids" to "letting the runner mom in you thrive".  Highly recommended.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday - Capris

This week, my brain has been occupied with Capris in one form or another.  Since 3 pairs stand out for me..I'm going to talk about them today!

1) Running Funky Capris

Imagine these

But in this print (but in green)


I was sent a sample pair by the company for consideration by our relay team.  Because they were a sample from the company's stock - I had no idea what print I'd be getting...and probably just as well.  The print they sent was a kelly green with lime hibiscus flowers printed all over it.  Just perfect for a 5k in Honolulu!  

The material felt funny to touch - like cheap Walmart workout wear...BUT once on, it was actually pretty nice.   The waistband is elastic and they have a higher rise.  No drawstring, though, which could prove problematic for a longer run.

In the end - these are definitely not what the doctor ordered for the relay team (plus we placed our Sparkle Skirts order yesterday), but I can see how they might be fun for a costumed run.  A short costumed run.  I don't think I would ever wear these for longer than 5K.

2) Nike Pro Core Compression Capris


I was so excited after reading reviews for these.  The photos made them look like they would fit exactly where I needed them to and I was jazzed that they would provide me with some core compression. 

On the way home from work, I stoped into Sport Chek to check them out and they were on clearance...and only available in royal blue.  But they were only $30 so I figured I'd try them on - despite thinking they felt a little thin.

I have never been so disappointed in a pair of capris in my life.  They made me look GIGANTIC!  Like fatter than I was at 208lbs!   Plus the waistband sagged downward in the back - letting me know there was no way these would stand up to a short run, let alone a half marathon distance.  I am pretty sure there is more material and compression in a pair of Lululemon crops.  These felt more like a silk-weight underwear.

So disappointing.  Especially from Nike whom I have had good luck with in the past.

3) Tuff Athletics Capris

(sorry can't find a picture of these for y'all)

The 2012 model of the Tuff Athletics capris are officially in at Costco.  You might reall my raving about these last year.  They are really similar to the Groove Crop at Lulu but for only $17!   I lived in them last summer - both for running and for just hanging out!  So, when I saw this years model was in, I rushed over to snag myself a pair.

They fit really similarly to the capris that came out in early spring last year.  Flat waistband, key pocket concealed in the waist, mid to high rise.  The main difference was that they have a small slit in the hem which wasn't in last years early model.  The ruching that was introduced to the back of the waistband late last year is gone in these.  Thank goodness...those one I had such a hard time keeping in place.  These, I wore for my MAT appointment and then shopping after and I don't think I had to tug on them even once.

Methinks I'll be heading back for more of these.  They are seriously my summer uniform!

So there you have it mini-reviews of 3 different Capris.

And tonight...I placed an order for a pair of CW-X compression capris.  I can hardly wait to review them for you!

Do you run in compression capris/shorts/tights?  What brands have you tried?  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Coping Strategies for IT Band Woes

The IT band.  It is a word that is prone to causing runners to visibly cringe and shy away from further contact with the idea.   I know I was one of those runners...terrified of the thought that my IT band would ever flare up and cause me to question why I run at all.

Well, after months of heavy mileage and insufficient stretching...my IT Band finally came knocking for the first time this past week.   With everything else I have had going on pain/injury wise - I guess it figured "what's one more guest to the party?"

Well, Mr. IT Band...this is one party you are NOT welcome to attend and I plan to expel you ASAP!!!

So, off to Dr. Google I went to figure out what I needed to know to beat this foe.  I figured this week's Workout Wednesday would be the perfect time to share my findings with you and to offer up the things that have brought me a great deal of relief as I wage war on pain and tightness.   I've tried to include videos wherever they might explain it better than the written word (what in the world did we ever do before YouTube?)

Please note - I am no doctor.  I am just sharing the research I did in the hopes that it might help others and provide some relief from the hell that is ITBS.   Don't mistake this for medical advice and feel free to talk to your doctor before trying anything I write about here!


What is the IT Band?

The iliotibial band (ITB) is a thick band of fascia that is formed proximally by the confluence of fascia from hip flexors, extensors, and abductors. The band originates at the lateral iliac crest and extends distally to the patella, tibia, and biceps femoris tendon.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is a common knee injury that usually presents as lateral knee pain caused by inflammation of the distal portion of the iliotibial band; occasionally, however, the iliotibial band becomes inflamed at its proximal origin and causes referred hip pain.

ITBS occurs frequently in Runners and Cyclists

(ok - it's a little medical term heavy...but I liked it regardless...it may give you a jumping off point for your own research)

From: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2005/0415/p1545.html

Symptoms of ITBS?

Stinging sensation just above the knee joint (on the outside of the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band) to swelling or thickening of the tissue at the point where the band moves over the femur. The pain may not occur immediately during activity, but may intensify over time, especially as the foot strikes the floor.

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iliotibial_band_syndrome

What causes ITBS?
  • Leg length differences
  • Road camber - running on a slope for a long time
  • Foot structure
  • Excessive shoe breakdown - particularly it the outside of the heel
  • Training intensity errors - increasing mileage or intensity too fast
  • Muscle imbalances - particularly quads versus hamstrings
  • Run/gait style factors - e.g. bow-leggedness, knock knees, etc.

Treatment?

  • Activity modification
  • Massage
  • Stretching
  • Strengthening
  • Ice
  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatory medications (eg. ibuprofen)
Exercises

I found this wonderful video on YouTube about a short exercise regiment than can strengthen and help prevent flare ups of ITBS:






Stretches that Help

Pigeon Pose (Yoga)
This position is my new best friend.   I'm not sure why I had never tried it before because it feels sooo gooood and is soooo effective!







Crossed leg stretch (for lack of a better name)
Cross one leg in front of the other in a standing position.   Bend to the side and forward.  You should feel the stretch along the outer thigh on the leg that is behind.

Therapeutic Tools

Foam Roller - Myofascial release can hurt like hell while you're doing it but feel so good after.  I have trouble rolling along the side of my leg - I just don't have the strength and balance for it...but I have friends who swear by it.





The Stick - Portable and easy to target the area.  I love my Stick.  Well worth the money spent on this tool! 






Tennis Ball - for targeted deep tissue massage





KT Tape - Kinesio Tape may not help you GET better,...but it can help you FEEL better while you work at getting back to 100%.  I haven't tried it yet, but my dad swears by it for his Plantar Fascitis so I figure I'll give it a try for my long run this Saturday...




I'm hoping this helps bring fellow sufferers some relief.  Maybe we can all beat this bastard together!!! 

Happy running! and happy healing!

Do you suffer from ITBS woes?  What are your coping strategies?  If you've tried something I missed here - please mention it in the comments or over on the Read.Write.Run.Mom. Facebook page!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2k Treadmill Test

Last night I was feeling really good so I figured I could hop on the treadmill and test my leg out on 3k.  I made it to 2k and had to stop.  Boo.

As I was running, my IT Band felt like it was being wound up tighter and tighter.  It was a real bummer.  So I got off, stretched it out and then finished off my workout on the bike.

Today I am thinking through how to rework my training with a focus on restoring my body to a decent place.  This "injury" really has me down.  I feel like I was doing so well and then crashed against a wall that is so tall I can't climb over it and carry on.  But I am determined to not let it kill me.  

So - here is my new plan.
  1. Run 3x per week - including long run
  2. Strength 2x per week.  I am going to incorporate the Rip:60 for Runners DVD into my training
  3. Yoga and stretching.  I don't even want to state how many days a week but I think I need to do this a fair bit for the next month to get my body into a better place.  I ordered Christine Felstad's Yoga For Runners DVD yesterday.

I have also booked myself more Chiropractor appointments and a therapeutic massage for after my long run this week.

Next - I will try to experiment with my other shoes to see if it is my Karhus that are aggravating the problem.  I hope not, because they fit my feet so well and have eliminated my foot pain...but there is no denying that the timeline for this injury and the introduction of my shoes seem to have coincided (despite my vehemently denying it).

I figure with just shy of 6 weeks until the half - I have time to rehab myself and stay on track...but I can't do it while following the Running Room plan.  It is just too running-intensive for my body.  This will be my eighth half in 2 years and it is the first one that I have had manage training while injured.   That tells me something.  I am instead going to listen to my body and work at healing while training.

If it kills my time goal - it kills my time goal.   At this point, I'll feel lucky if I finish.

Monday, March 26, 2012

MOMday - The Wonder File

One day, I was wandering through Wallyworld when I saw this neat little thing.   On the shelf with the other As Seen on TV thingamabobs, was the Wonder File.   I immediately thought of about a million uses I had for it.  But I didn't pick it up that day.   You see, I've been in this position before - enamoured by a TV product.   How many have I loved and discarded over the years?  Well, too many to count.

But I kept finding my mind drifting back to it as more and more uses popped into my head.    Finally, I caved...and am I ever glad I did.  I even ended up buying a couple more!

So, what is a Wonder File, you ask?   Simple.  It is this desktop organizer that contains all kinds of pockets and holders. There are pockets that seal and elastics to hold papers in place in the pockets.  When you are using it, you can spread it out on the table or floor.  Then, when you're done - it folds, quite ingeniously, into a little briefcase-size case that stows away easily until you need it again. The closure is secured by an elastic that slips over a button.   Here's a little video to show you what I'm talking about:




The thing that finally pushed me over the edge to buy it was when our tax documents started to get out of hand IN AUGUST.   Now, I have a place to keep them all organized and separated into categories like receipts, invoices, health care, tax slips, etc.  This year, come tax time, all I needed to do was spread it out and start entering things into Turbo Tax. Tax season made easy! I love it!


Other uses I could see for this thing are:
  • activity centres for the twins - a place to keep crayons, colouring books, etc.  Plus a mess-free surface to work on to keep the crayon off the table.  Now they will bring me their folders whenever they want to colour
  • Scrapbooking supplies (though I'm not a scrapbooker - I could see this being useful for those who are)
  • Craft supplies
  • Bills
  • Event planning - imagine being able to neatly organize wedding plans in a carry-with-you format.  I was always a binder gal, but this would work great for that kind of thing.
The Wonder File has so many creative possibilities.    And when you're done using it - it stores away super compactly.  I've found that having two files for the girls actually takes up much less space than the Rubbermaid container that their colouring books and crayons used to live in!

The file can be purchased for $15 at Walmart.  I picked up extras for $10 on a manager special at London Drugs.   For all of the ease it has brought into my life - I find the price to be really reasonable.

Highly recommended tool for mommies.

Note: The thoughts and statements in this review are my own.  I am not affiliated with The Wonder File, nor are they aware that I have written and published this review.   I was not compensated in any way.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Run Van Training - Week 9 Recap

I wish I had a more exciting recap to post for week 9.  With only 6 weeks to go, I feel like I should be ramping up the training and going strong.  Instead, I am sitting around in pain :(  But healing is important and I still think I have time to take this break and not lose out on my training.

This week focused much more on taking care of myself instead of the workouts. I spent my evenings with ice packs on my legs and my workouts were definitely less intense.  Monday, I saw the Chiropractor and we discussed what my muscles had started doing after the first adjustment.   The pains moved to a couple of different locations and he started to suspect I might have strained my right quadriceps.   Then, Thursday and Friday, I thought I would use my foam roller and attack the tight muscles...and I discovered a HORRIBLE knot in my right hip that brought me to tears to touch.

Saturday, I took my Run Coach, Sheena, up on her offer to introduce me to Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT).  I was skeptical at first, but figured that I trust her opinions and it was worth a shot.   For two and a half hours, she tested me for muscle imbalances and lazy muscles who are letting others do all of the work for them.  Turns out I have A LOT of those.  She pressed and prodded and set off spasms throughout different locations in my lower body.  When I left her house, I was sure I'd be covered in bruises by the next day (I'm not).  I spent the evening in a fair bit of pain, but this morning, I woke up feeling better than I have in recent weeks.   

Sheena also gave me some insight and coping strategies fro my muscle woes.   She thinks a great deal of what I am going through can be attributed to a really weak core...and that it should be expected.   I had a c-section just shy of 3 years ago and they had to cut through all of those important stabilizer muscles to get the babies out.   And I haven't done anything to strengthen them since they healed.   So, my pelvis and hips are needing to take on stabilizing roles that my transverse abdominal muscles would normally handle.   I now have some exercises and a mission and will be working on building that back up.  I will also be buying some core shorts to better stabilize the area when I run until the muscles start doing what they need to do again.

I've decided to take another week off running - hopefully returning for my 12k next weekend - and will start walking to build up mileage this week.  With any luck - by Easter, I will be completely pain free and slowly ramping up the training again...

I don't know how this time off will affect my time goal for Vancouver.   I would still really like to aim for 2:15 but I recognize that something needs to give with my training plan because I am over-doing it.   I am going to put some thinking into making adjustments this week.

So this was my off week...

Monday - 30 mins on the bike, 15 mins stretching; chiropractor
Wednesday - 45 mins on the bike, 10 mins stretching
Thursday - Off
Friday - Off (though lots of walking while I shopped)
Saturday - Off; MAT Appointment
Sunday- 30 mins Yoga

For past weeks on my Run Van journey, check out the links below:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three Things Thursday - Week Off Edition

1.  Something crazy is happening.   I have only lost 3lbs since I started training (ahem - er - since the start of the year) but I MUST be getting smaller.   My size 12 dress pants that I had to buy after my marathon can now be pulled off without unbuttoning...and my size 10s are almost in the same condition.  When I told hubby, he said "Not a big surprise - your butt is getting a lot smaller"

So, #happydance.  I'm crediting the introduction of my treadmill.

2. I am so antsy on this week off running but I know I totally need it.  A second trip to the chiro sent me home with some new revelations.  The knee pain moved after my first chiro visit and when I told him that - he did some poking around and told me he suspects it is a combination of my bursitis AND a slight strain in my right quadriceps.  Jogged to the mailbox last night and totally felt it in my quad so am targeting that now.

Rest.  Ice. Compression.  Elevation.  I'm there.

My hamstrings and calves are still super tight and I'm having trouble getting them to release...even resorted to my foam roller (which did nothing) so I am now thinking I may get myself a massage appointment for Friday.

3. Having shared goals on My Fitness Pal has been a fun way to keep me conscious of my eating.  It's been fun to see how many of us can leave 200 calories in the bank at the end of each day!

What fun things have happened to you this week? Share in the comments, I'd love to hear about your adventures!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Workout Wednesday: Gear Review - Run Love Compression Socks

Well, I did it - I moseyed on over to Tri-It Multisport last Saturday and picked myself up a pair of the Run Love Compression Socks from RunningSkirts.com


The thing that drew me to these socks is that they are bright - without being obnoxious - and girly.   I loved the little heart on the outer calf and the price (at $25) was certainly a steal.

I also own a pair of CEP socks so some of the comparisons I draw between the two might not be entirely fair.  CEP makes medical grade compression stuff.  These are not in that same class.  Just getting that out of the way first.

I bought the socks in Azure (blue).  The fact that the sizing was listed as ONE SIZE - I still wasn't convinced that they would fit over my skis - er, size 11 feet,...but they did.  I don't consider my calves to be terribly large so was a bit sad that the heart stretched right out when I had them on (case in point - hubby asked why I bought socks with a maxi pad design on them - I still thought it looked like a heart).  I also found that they didn't come up quite as high as I though they would...they settled in several inches below my knees.  I do have large feet and long legs, though - so I knew that would probably need to give in my expectations.

They were really easy to get on.  They fit easily over my feet and up onto my calves with minimal yanking and swearing (c'mon, if you've worn really heavy duty compression wear before - you know what I mean)

I would consider these to be light compression - tighter than a regular knee sock, but nowhere near the tight compression that you would get from a pair of CEP socks (or a pair of Sigvaris trouser socks).  They felt comfortable to wear - though, toward the end of the day, I did feel the top band pressing in on my upper calf.  I took this as a sign that they just weren't long enough for my long lower legs.  They would be nice to wear for a half marathon or a  partial day, but I don't think I'd wear them for an entire day again.

If you're in the market for a pair of light compression socks - I'd say go for it.  The price is really reasonable for what you get and the colours are so much nicer than so many of the other options out there.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Techy Tuesday: Athlinks.com

I have met a huge number of people lately who cannot seem to be able to tell what they Personal Best is at any particular distance.   It's not that they don't care about it - it's that they have never bothered to track it.   The thing is, though, that they really seem to care about whether or not their times are improving at the various race distances.

A while back - I discovered a tool to help with just that problem.  Athlinks.

Athlinks is a website where you can search for your name and it will pull up all of the races that has someone of that name running them.  If you set up a free profile, you can then "claim" the races that were actually yours - allowing you to see your improvements over time.  You can also search for your races under a maiden name and add those to your profile as well.

It also gives you the ability to comment on certain races (like last year when my Big Run 10k end up being a ridiculous 14k long, yet my time looks like I had an 1:40 10K)




It only pulled chip timed races so those super speedy fun runs won't show up in the listings...but it can give you a pretty good idea of what your PB might have been for any particular distance.

Athlinks also has a social component to it - You can add friends and rivals.  I don't tend to use it for that.  I don't really tend to use it at all, but for someone who would like to take a snapshot of where their race times have been...it's fun to play around with.

Monday, March 19, 2012

MOMday: Juggling it All

Source
The topic for my Running Room Half Marathon Clinic was a timely one this week - Juggling it all.   It is probably the question I get most from people when they find out I am a working mother of toddler twins who is training for her 8th half marathon in less than 2 years and actively blogs throughout the week.   I always throw the same answer back at people - "I do it because I have to"

And I do.  If I don't run, I'm not a very good mom, I have nothing to blog about and I am definitely not a very focused employee.  Running makes all of this possible for me.

That is not to say it's easy.  It's far from easy.

Would I much rather curl up on the sofa with my TV and a big bag of chips EVERY NIGHT?!?!  Hell, yeah. But too many nights of that and I start to head back up the way I came on the scale.  Instead, I PVR everything and spend my weeknights getting my workout and special projects in and my off nights snuggled up with hubby getting caught up on my TV.

Do I still spend lazy Sundays curled up on the couch snuggling my daughters?  You betcha.  Doodle demands it. But the second they are down for their Sunday nap - I am in the workout room - getting in my training time.

My training does cause me to sacrifice a few things, though.  I don't volunteer as actively as I once did.  I also don't have time to really put in much work toward my degree so won't finish it as fast as I want to.  BUT, I see some of these things changing as my daughters get older.  There will be time to volunteer when they can join me and there will be time to do homework while they are doing theirs.

Juggling it all takes planning and preparation.   Our family uses an online organizer, Cozi, to keep our plans straight so we can adjust as necessary.  I feed all of my running distances from my training plans into this calendar (it connects nicely to Google so I can do that) and my hubby has come to know how long a certain distance might take me in training.  He knows I have a standing date on Saturday mornings and is kind enough to not complain about it.   If he wants to schedule something for himself, he just needs to add it to the calendar and we can rework life around that as well.  It works for us.

To allow more time in the mornings to get us all ready for work, I will usually batch cook all of my breakfasts and lunches for the week so I can just toss them into a lunch bag and go.  I also organize a weeks worth of outfits for the girls onto hanging shelves in their room so I don't need to think as I get them ready.  These two steps have made our mornings go much smoother than they would if I had to make breakfasts and lunches and pick out outfits.  It might go even smoother if I had the foresight to plan my own outfits as well...but that's a task for another week.

Because we need to leave the house by 6:30 am - morning workouts are not even a glimmer of a possibility.  I would need to be up at 3:30am to do those...and that is NOT going to happen.  So - once the girls are in bed - I head down to my home gym.   This training cycle, I have discovered how much easier it is to have a treadmill at home.  It erases a lot of excuses.  If I had to leave the house to have a late night run - I would probably skip it.  Heck - history has shown that I will skip it.

Nobody ever said this motherhood thing was going to be easy.   But I know that by having focus and goals - I am teaching my daughters valuable lessons that they will grow up never having known any other way.  

By wanting to get healthy and maintain a healthy weight - I am showing them that there is good food out there and that by eating it will make us strong and energetic. 

By exercising - I am showing them that it is normal - not a chore.   I love nothing more than hearing the excitement and pride in Buggies voice when she sees me in my running gear and exclaims "Goin' runnin' mommy?"

By going to work and spending time with my friends once a week - I am showing them that mommy is a person and that by nurturing myself, I am giving them a better mommy who is ready and excited to play with them upon my return.

By setting goals and incorporating them into my life - I am showing them that you can plan for success and build a life worth living

By taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves - I am showing them that life is an adventure and they will be able to see the adventures as they arrive in their own lives instead of being fearful of trying new things.

Getting in a run is almost like paying it forward for all of these things...and us mommas need to do that - for both ourselves and our kiddos.

Who's Up For A Challenge?

Ok - so I just joined the Ready For Summer Challenge that I found out about from Shannon at Every Step Counts



The premise is simple...
This challenge starts Monday 26th of March, and lasts until June 3rd. That's 10 weeks of challenge fun for you!

There are four basic goal categories:
  • weight loss goal
    My goal is to get to my goal weight
  • non-scale goal
    2:15 Half Marathon
  • exercise goal
    Working out 5 days a week
  • nutrition goal
    Making healthier choices and leaving a deficit in My Fitness Pal each day
I'm excited to get started.  It will be good to keep me motivated so I can hit my goals in time for summer! 
Who's with me? 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Run Van Training - Week 8 Recap

 This week, my training focused on fun and recovery.  I have been suffering with knee pain (though my trip to the chiropractor on Wednesday showed my hips being misaligned).  I cut out 2 runs (including my long run) and took it easy on the other three.  My mileage is lower.  I spent many evenings covered in ice packs.  Funny enough - I also came out 2lbs lighter than I was last Sunday!

The verdict?  I think I'm borderline overtraining and something has to give so I can stay healthy and injury free for the rest of my racing year.

So this coming week, I am taking some time off to heal.

But this past week looked like this:

Monday: Off
Friday: Off and iced
Sunday: Bike 45mins


Do I think that a week off and a missed long run will screw up my training?  No in the slightest.  If anything - I think it will make me come back stronger than ever.  Sometimes it's more about running smart than it is about racking up the mileage.

Now for some photo fun -  I found a few more pics floating around of the fabulously fun St. Paddy's Race

From Dawn Henry's photogallery on Flickr


Still looking for the pics from the other photographers...comment below if you have seen any out there :)

One last thing.  Have you headed over to Facebook yet to check out the new Read.Write.Run.Mom. page?   For those of you who maybe don't subscribe yet - this is a fun way to get my posts into the feed you're checking everyday anyway!

For past weeks on my Run Van journey, check out the links below:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The start of a week off...aka taking care of #1

I am taking a week off. 

Yes - in the middle of half marathon training, I am taking a week off.   No long run this weekend.  No short runs this week.   My legs are counting on me.

I realized today that the knee pain is the return of my old friend, Mr. Pes Anserine Bursitis.  A clear result of my not stretching well enough.  The compensating is causing me to develop shin splints (overtraining might be playing a bit part in this as well).   I don't like either but I think a week of rest, icing and stretching will be enough for me to come back smarter and stronger.  

So, I won't have a long run report this week (unless you count this anti-long run post).   I really want to finish strong in Vancouver and this week of rest is going to help me do exactly that.

I'll still be working out - my bike has been missing me anyway.

Take care of yourselves out there.  RICE as necessary to keep yourselves running strong.

Race Report: Calgary Roadrunners St. Patricks Day 5K

When I woke up, the thermometer was saying 0*C - perfect March running weather...and perfect St. Paddy's Day RACE weather!!!   I ate my lovely race day breakfast of bagel and peanut butter, downed some Nuun and got into the base outfit for my St Paddy's Race costume (black leggings and black long sleeve top).

This was going to be my first race of the year and the first time I had ever run the Calgary Roadrunners St. Patricks Day race.   To say I was excited would be an understatement.

I was meeting my runner girls at 8:45am in the parking lot and pulled in just in time.   We took a few minutes to get into the rest of our costumes (including the super fun tutus I made last weekend).  I'd also bought us some great shamrock barrettes at the dollarstore for our shoes ($1.50 well spent)


what happens when I try to take a self-portrait of the tutu


Then it was a quick pitstop at the washrooms (loved that this was held at Central Memorial High School and had real washrooms!) and then off to the start line.

There were lots of comments about the Tutus on the way there and as we were snapping our own pics at the startline, one of the volunteer photographers kept hovering around us to snap a ton more.  Can't wait to see them!

Shoe shot - complete with timing chips.  We were so happy the chips were shoe chips!

How cute are we?
In almost no time at all, the race started and we were on our way.   My legs weren't hurting at all so I figured the icing I had been doing the past couple of nights had helped ALOT.

There were alot of people dressed up for this race.  I wish I'd kept my camera out and taken shots of some of the costumes.

At around the 1.5K mark, I started to cramp near my ribcage and was forced to walk.  I was so disappointed.  As much as I said to myself "You can't PR in a Tutu", I'd still hoped I might have a shot at that sub-30min 5K I've been dreaming of for 2012.   JS asked if we were ok with her continuing on and we waved her ahead while J walked with me.

The cramp wasn't quite gone when I started running again and I only made it half a km before I had to walk again.   When we saw a photographer close to the turnaround point - we started to run again.  JS passed us going the other way and we shouted out a cheer.

Coming back, I started to feel much better.   Perhaps my body remembered that I had had some Nuun with breakfast and decided to play along (I tend to cramp when I'm dehydrated - though never in that particular spot; it's normally lower).  We were running pretty strong, but J was having knee trouble so we walked for a bit to give it a break.

In the final stretch, there was a nice downhill before the uphill to the finish.  My inner racer urged me on and I just had to push it.  I left J and pulled ahead - running hard for the finish.   It felt awesome!  When I crossed the finish line, I glanced at my watch and was surprised to realize that I thought I had just PRed for 5K.  The watch said 31:38 and my previous PR was 31:54 (It's been almost 2 years since I did that one at the Calgary Marathon 5k in 2010).  JS finished in 27mins and change...damn that cramping of mine!

Official time: 31:34 (and 20th in my division!)

The volunteer handed me my medal - so pretty.  This may be my new fave medal!


and I hurried to see if I could catch J when she crossed the finish less than a minute later





And then it was time to grab some food.  The nice thing about doing the 5k was definitely the fact that you finish fast enough to get to the food while the lineups are short!  The grub was provided by Red Tree and was FANTASTIC!
No - I didn't have 2 scones - one is J's.  I promise.  I'm trying to be a good girl
Beef or veggie stew, buns, mint chocolate scones and LUCKY CHARMS!!! (a whole cauldron worth)

We sat in the bleachers and ate for a while.  Then - we had to hit the photo booth.   This is my favourite trio of photos form the race! How cute are we?


This was such a great race.  We decided that this is definitely our must-do race for the year!  It was well organized.  The food was BY FAR the best of any race I've ever done.  The atmosphere in the gym after was fantastic!  I wish every race could be this well organized and fun!

And then, after we left - I headed out and did a little shopping spree at Tri-It Multisport.   I was only planning to buy the Run Love Compression Socks, but then I found Sock Guy socks with Coffee on them.  And a book on Natural Posture Running.  And then the Grape Nuun just jumped into my hands.   It was a good thing I didn't like any of the prints on the Sweaty Bands....

One of the midgets loved the coffee socks - she kept trying to swipe them...it took 3 tries to get a shot where she hadn't grabbed them.

Oh - and now for the geekery....