Saturday, March 30, 2013

Magical Run

The plan for today was simple.  Run 12k solo then have coffee with Amy.  Easy peasy.

Then Buggie and Doodle woke up early and, as a result, I headed out of the house late.  I knew my timing would be tight to get back in time to meet Amy.  I figured that I would run an out and back from Eau Claire Market and at the 5k point, if it was tight, I would turn around and aim for 10k.

It was a beautiful morning.  Warm enough for capris and just a light longsleeve.  

Loving that Garmin added the temp to my profile!

My shin was still hurting, but that eased as I warmed up.  I was zipping along around a 6:30/k pace and, according to this shot, looked like a crazy lunatic.


Everyday the river thaws a little bit more.  Spring is truly on its way. It's about time.  Winter lasted almost exactly half a year this year.


As I neared the 5k mark, I was petering out.  I hadn't brought any gels with me so I almost turned back then.  And then I figured one more km wouldn't make much of a difference.  I'm glad I carried on to the 6km mark before turning back.   I was able to shake off the wall before I hit it and after I turned around, I knew I'd be a bit late so texted Amy and then thought I'd see if I had a negative split in me...

It was at this point that my moving pace moved into the 5:50/km area and I started to really zip.  I felt fantastic.  My legs could do anything!  Of course, that might have been because I was wearing my magic running pants and anything really is possible when I am wearing those!

Here I am, still looking like a lunatic at 10k - the skyline that marks my finish line looming in the background.


It was shortly after this that I could feel that familiar knot well up in my right calf.  I look a little walk break and decided to plow on to the finish.

I had to stop for the light at 10 Street (why oh why is the path closed there again?  Will they NEVER finish the construction?) and took the moment to stretch the knot out.

Then I turned on the power and headed for home.  I was so happy to see the Peace Bridge up ahead.

When I got back to the market, I was just shy of 12k so I decided to run around the building a bit until I hit 12.  In the end - my super speedy 12k rang in at 1:18.  Compared to last week's 1:24 10K I'd say I had the magic in me today!



Perhaps best of all was that I did this on just water and I powered through somethings that normally would have slowed me down.  I don't know if it is my speed and hill work showing their worth or if it was just a random great run but I felt invincible out there today.  I was especially thrilled to see my average overall pace ring in at exactly 6:30/km.  Been a long time since I've seen that.  Maybe I am finally shaking off Goofy.   I tried to walk as little as possible and, for the first time, I felt like I could really make my speed goals happen this year.   Even if I end up looking like a lunatic to do it!

And the Garmin Geekery:




Now to ice that shin.  Not sure what's going on there.  If it is still bugging me later int he week - I intend to get it checked out.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Reads: You Can Create an Exceptional Life by Hay/Richardson

First - a disclaimer: I am not one to usually buy in to metaphysical self help mumbo jumbo crap.   So, what led me to buy this book when I happened upon it in the book section of Shopper's Drug Mart?   That much is easy.  It was the exceptional life bit.  Totally judging a book by it's cover.  It is something I always say..that I am building an exceptional life (I even have a tag by that title on my blog labels).  The title sucked me in and I didn't expect what followed - I actually listened to some of what the book said.

Written by Cheryl Richardson in collaboration with Louise Hay, this book is essentially revealing what Louise had learned in her 84 years so far.   About drawing the positive energies toward you and pushing the negativity away so you can focus on what is truly important to you and give your energies to that instead.  It's a difficult yet powerful way to live.

The book is a really quick an easy read.  I read for about 5 mins every night before bed and finished it within a week.  Saying that the book has two authors seems a bit misleading.   Really - the book is written in the first person by Richardson and focuses on her meetings with Hay as the secrets to her success at life are revealed.

Now, while I am not usually big on the whole self help thing - much of this book did resonate with me.  The discussion surrounding dealing with difficult relationships so you are not feeding all of your energy into something that will never be satisfied.  I had several "A-HA!" moments reading through it.  

I did find all of the talk about doing daily affirmations to be a bit hokey, though.  I honestly could not imagine myself walking into my office and saying to myself "I bless my workplace with love  I love my coworkers and we enjoy working together so much that it makes it a joy to come to the office each day." Blech.   But, amazingly, I did like the bits about talking more lovingly to yourself and found myself using much gentler words with myself instead of the harsh ones that I usually do.  That can only be a good thing.

So, as with any self help thing - you always need to take the bits that work for you and apply them to your own life.   But my husband will never find me in front of a mirror extolling my virtues to myself. NEVER!

Do I recommend it?  Well - I am going to remain neutral on that one.   Self help (especially the metaphysical kind) is such a personal thing and it is usually an area of the bookstore I avoid because I have seen it do more harm than good to too many people.  This book, though, is less of a "this book will fix you" than it is a "here is another tool for your toolbox" kind of book. (If that makes sense).  I'm not sure there is anything in there that will make my life more exceptional than it already is, but if it helps me be a little less critical of myself then it was worth the time and money I invested in buying and reading it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hill Drawing for Amy

My friend, Amy, is always telling me that my Nike maps look like different things: scorpion, Easter island statues etc...so today when I started out for the usual route for my hill training - I decided to mix it up a bit to see if I could spice up the map for her.

It was such a beautiful spring day.  I think I could have stayed out there all afternoon (though running hills all afternoon might leave me paralyzed for life).

So, I ran around Southwood - up and down up and down up backtrack zig zag down.

The alleys were even thawed enough to run those hills (which are good practice for trail hills)


I actually had my first bystander ask why I would take a picture of an alley.  I had to explain that bloggers are weird like that.  Not sure if she knew what a blog was.

After the third uphill - I decided to take a shortcut to mix things up on the map for Amy.


Good thing I did...because then I got to see the Easter bunny.  Can you see him?


Stepped in squishy mud.

So happy it was sunny and warm!

In the end - this took much longer than I had hoped and my distance is much farther than I usually do on an easy lunchtime run.  But I got it done. Six hills - I'll admit it was harder to keep track of them with all of the zigging.

So tired

I also think it might be time to retire my Kinvaras that I keep at the office.   I am having some shin-splinty pain right here

and, now for the big reveal...my hill drawing for the day is:


What do you think it looks like?



and the best part...I could totally slack for the rest of the day and easily hit my 10,000 steps on the fitbit.  It's so easy when you throw a dedicated workout into the mix!

Three Things Thursday

1) I am unbelievably, overwhelmingly, ecstatically happy that it is a long weekend.  Four days of nothing here I come!

We aren't a religious family so it feels weird to "Celebrate Easter", but we tend to look at it as more of a spring celebration.  We embrace the chocolate (in moderation for the Girlies) and have an egg hunt.  This year, the "eggs" (or rather springtime cupcake liners since I couldn't find big enough eggs to do it) will contain jigsaw puzzle pieces.  That way the Girlies can keep hunting until they have 2 assembled puzzles. That should keep them quite happy.

And the lack of evil from Girlies eating chocolate will keep ME quite happy.

2) Dietbet is going very well as I am about to enter the final 10 days of the challenge.   I am within 0.3lbs of my 4% goal and I think that's pretty good considering I have been pretty bad every weekend.  If I can be good 3/4 days this weekend - I think I will blow that goal away in time for the weigh in...and then I can order my yarn ball winder the second the money is in ;)

and find another Dietbet to join to keep me motivated.   I cannot believe how big of a change the 7lbs I've lost so far has been to how my clothes are fitting.  It has been very inspiring to me to see such a small change to my lifestyle reap such a big reward.

3) In the past week, I have felt like I am reaching a bit of a crossroads in my life.  I'm not sure why - it just has that sort of feel to it.  I don't know if it has been evident in my posts, but I feel like something big is about to change everything (and I have no clue what that might be).  It's possibly just spring fever, but somehow feels different. Bear with me if I start to go on tangents.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tabata the Run Spice Girl

Yep - today was speedwork day.  And I really didn't want to.  I have visions of sitting at my desk, sketching my lunch away.  But really - I knew I had to do it.  I was just dragging my heels.

Then I found out I had to escort my new coworker to another building for her 1 pm meeting.  That gave me exactly 45 mins to change and run.  Probably meaning I would be delivering her in my running clothes.   Talk about speedwork incentive.

So I fired up the Tabata timer with Katie's Run Spice workout and hit the road. 10 min warm up and then 8 - 15 second run/jog intervals and a cooldown.  In no time I was speeding along Elbow drive, knocking off the speed demons one by one.

The thaw this week meant my route was almost entirely ice free.   NICE!  I just had one stretch in the last km that was super snowy and I had to walk over it rather than risk killing myself.

I skidded back into the building in exactly 27 mins and just in time to get my coworker to the other office.

and dripping sweat as I walked her over in my dripping running clothes.

Trust me - in real life I looked much more drippy...
Here's what Nike+ had to say about the whole affair (btw - I HATE the "inspirational" crap at the end of the run.  Anybody know how to turn that off?  I'd love to shut Tim Tebow up so he'll stop congratulating me while I stretch)





Saturday, March 23, 2013

Longest Run Since Goofy

This morning was super cold (-16C when I left the house...nearly died freezing while gassing up the car), but I headed to Calgary to meet up with JS for my 10k long run.

And it was only -12C by the time I got there


So, we met up in Mount Royal with a plan to run out on the Elbow River pathway behind the Stampede grounds in a nice little out and back.   Keeping a nice and easy pace - we had to be careful of the ice across the pathways (it was pretty thick in many places)

Seen on our run:

  • Woodpeckers!  It almost sounded like jack hammering in the stretch between Lindsay Park and Stampede.   We even caught a glimpse of one high up but I didn't think to take a picture.
  • Pretty much an entire men's outfit: jeans, shirt, one running shoe.  I kept expecting a naked dead guy to turn up at every turn behind Stampede.
On the way back - I really had to pee, but this time of year there are no open washrooms and in that area there is not enough cover to drop trou.  So, I endured and called it bladder training :P

Then, with just a few blocks to go, I said "Let's finish strong" and took off like a shot.  JS was soon at my heels and we pushed it to the finish.  I did need to back off a bit after a much too fast start, but we had a really strong finish and my garmin rarely slowed below 5:20/km.  If I could really learn to use my long legs, I think I could smash all of my PBs.

This was my longest long run since Goofy.  Felt good to get some distance in - even if it seemed a bit weird for my 10k training plan to start with a 10k long run.

Super lacking in photos today, but we got our Cori & JS shot at Starbucks where we had a lovely lovely latte and snackies.



Tastes so much better when you earn it.


The Garmin Geekery:

This looks a little on the slow side, but I really did boot 'er for the last 3-4 blocks.  Pretty sure JS didn't know I had that in me! ;)




Clif Bar Giveaway Winner!!!


and the winner of the Clif Bar Prize Package is (drum roll please)....

Runner Girl at Running Like a Girl

I have sent you an email!  Once you reply with your address - I'll pop it in the mail!  Congratulations!!!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Reads: No Book Today, But....

I am mid-book on a few right now so have no new reviews to share...but my friend Anna, tweeted this to me yesterday and it is too awesome and mostly book related to not share in place of a review.


I want to frame it.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The One Where I Wore a Hat

It was close.  I came this close to skipping today's 6k easy run. Not for lack of wanting to.  But more because I was scheduled to test technology until 12:30 and then had a 1 pm meeting.  And the snowy mess outside wasn't really making me think running would be a fun lunchtime endeavour.

But when my part in the second half of the testing was cancelled - I suddenly had time.  and I can't even think how I might make up the steps on the Fitbit UNLESS I ran today.  So I changed and headed out.

I even wore a hat. I NEVER wear a hat.

So I headed out - thinking I maybe had time for 5k.  So started with my usual Haysboro loop, but planned to extend it up to Elbow Drive and then back down Southland.  

It looked a little something like this.  Wet.  Windy. Snowy.

Right around Woodman Jr High, I stepped on what I thought was snow and drenched my shoe.  This urged me on to finish faster to I put the pedal to the metal and hightailed it back to the office.




The actual run time was much shorter than 38 mins - I got held up at a couple of stoplights and once for a train crossing.  It felt speedy to me.  Especially since I kept flying across the intersections where any cars were waiting.  Improvised speedwork.

Got it done.  Even smiled like Meb (see below) for a bunch of it. (I figure if he can smile through an Olympic marathon, I have no reason not to during a sloggy snowy run)

Three Things Thursday - Positivity Edition

My brain has shifted this week and I am feeling really positive about a lot of the areas of my life.  More positive than I have felt in a while.

1) My Dietbet is going smashingly.  As of today, I am only 0.8lbs away from meeting my 4% goal.  My pants that were too tight early last week are almost falling off today! Amazing the difference 6lbs makes.

And the yarn ball winder is enough to keep me on track to the end, I think.  Very good incentive for me to keep going.  Now I need to think about what I want for my next incentive...I have a feeling I may keep Dietbetting until I actually meet my overall weight loss goals.  It has been really good at helping me recommit and has given me ideas of how to maintain the success when I am done.

2) I came to a funny realization this week.  When I wrote up my 36 Resolutions, I had added in that Yoga challenge as a way to maybe do some mind-body work on myself.  But ultimately I HATE YOGA!   I know - hate is a strong word.  But it just doesn't do anything for me.   I find it incredibly hard to do and it doesn't shut my mind down and the frustration makes me angry.  I DO need the stretching, but I like athletic stretching.   Instead of a yoga challenge - I figured out that, instead, I needed to find a meditative practice I can maintain.  Something that quickly shuts my brain off like a long run does, but that I can do anywhere.

And then one fell into my lap that might just be perfect for me. Zentangle

Zentangle is a form of meditative drawing and I am feeling immediately and incredibly connected to it.  I bought a book that I am working through to learn it and have drawn two tangles so far - each one giving my brain a break and making me feel so refreshed when I am done.

I have even found a teacher in Calgary who instructs on it so am thinking I might take a course next month.

Funny how sometimes we just find the thing we need, right when we really need it.  Guess I'll be making a revision to the Resolution list...

3)  Paper makes me so happy.   I know - seems so random to hear this from a techy gal like me, but it's true.   I had a rough encounter at work early in the week that left me feeling really jagged and out of sorts so I took an afternoon off and spent it in art and book stores.  Surrounded by so much paper.   I just loved every minute.   And, when I looked at my purchases by the end of the day - I had somehow acquired 3 new moleskines (2 sketchbooks and one journal) and a really cool dayplanner as well as a handful of my favourite drawing pens. The fact that 2 of the Moleskines are Hobbit ones that I found for 30% off - my day was instantly better.  The dayplanner surprised me most of all, though, because for 2 years I've been using Cozi to keep our family organized...but when I saw the planner, I knew I wanted to keep a paper one too.

Yeah - maybe I am a bit weird but it's working for me.

What positive things are happening for you right now?
What changes have you made in your life recently that are making you happy!




Don't forget!  
Today is the last day to enter my Clifbar Giveaway!  The contest closes at midnight tonight and I will make the draw first thing in the morning!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hills x 6

Since I had a team lunch yesterday, I made up my hill workout at lunch today.

and while there's not much to say about the actual run...I pushed.  Hard.   After a disappointing finish on Sunday - I need to really put in my weekday work so I can blast my goal at my redemption 5k.

Me - as a sweaty mess when I was done.  And YOUCH does it ever hurt when you get sweat in a teeny little head wound...Just saying.

Stretching...oh so good...

What Nike saw:



Just a note - those hills get longer and steeper as the workout progresses...no wonder it looked like I was seriously slowing down...

and now for the big news...I scheduled my redemption 5k.   On April 21, I will be running the 5k at the Spring Trio (Thanks to Leana for the suggestion).  I need a flat and hopefully dry 5k course.  It may not be exciting, but I just really need to mentally get this under my belt.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Techy Tuesday: Kobo Glo Unboxing

I didn't really tell you all about the day my Kobo Touch died. Probably because I didn't know for 3 days after.

I had set it up to charge on the Friday morning.  We were leaving for Banff that night and I wanted to be sure my book was fully charged and ready to go.   Shortly after I plugged it in, I noticed my girlies playing with it (can you see where this is going?) but didn't think anything of it.  I just shooed them away , made sure it was still plugged in and headed to work.

That night I packed it in my bag...and somehow managed to not read for an entire weekend away with out the kids (I know - I'm horrified too).

Monday, when I opened the book at work to read during lunch - it was telling me to plug it in.   Normally a charge should last almost 3 weeks for me so I was a bit concerned and didn't really connect it to the girlies playing with it at that point.

Then, that night, I plugged it in...and the charge light didn't come on.  Ok - not true.  It came on - but only if I jiggled the cable and then set it down with the cable held at an odd angle.

And the next morning, it was showing as only half charged.  I officially had a problem.  Hubby tried to perform surgery on it, but the girls had managed to break the charging port and when the case was removed, the port fell right into hubby's hand.

I officially had until the minimal charge ran down to replace my Kobo.  This was an emergency!

I love Kobo so there was no question that I would stick to the same brand.  Kindle is still to restrictive for my liking and after owning a first incarnation of a Sony, I'm not sure I could move to one of the much cheaper feeling ones they have now.  I contemplated just getting a Kobo Touch again, but the lure of the built in light of the Kobo Glo drew me in.   Costco had a great deal where you could get a Black Kobo Glo and a Black Sleepcover for $127 (normally, just the reader is $129) and I came close to going that route...but I love my Moleskine cover and likely wouldn't use the Sleepcover thereby making it clutter.  I just needed a new reader so I spent the full price at Chapters and picked up the white one with the blue back.

Here's the unboxing for you, in case you've been curious about what comes in the box:


Hello there new friend.


The blue is so pretty and vibrant.  I LOVE IT!


The manual greeted me, all ready to read.


Under a little flap was the charging and sync cable.  I can still charge this one with my old Blackberry charger YAY!



That was it for what was in the box.

The main change between my old touch and this new Glo is the additional button on the top of the device - this is to turn on the built in light.


Setup was smooth as always.


Downloading updates


Within a few minutes - I was good to go and ready to read.  

I think it's important to mention the transition to this device from another Kobo.  I have never been able to make my bookmarks sync on Kobo, but that has never mattered before.   I always read from just the one device and so my bookmarks already go with me wherever I am.   In this case, though, I was halfway through a book I really wanted to finish.  So, I made sure to sync my bookmarks before I did the setup.

Once my books had synced - I noticed 2 things:

  1. My bookmarks HAD NOT synced (or if they had - they were definitely not registering)
  2. I was happy to see my books had not automatically downloaded.  It has always bugged me that I would delete a book from my library only to have it re-download the next time I synced.  This way I could still see all of my books, but only re-download if I wanted to read them again.
Overall, though - the transition was seamless.  I synced and then I started to read.

And so far, I am really happy with the Glo! It is slightly shorter and thicker than the touch, but it still fits the case well enough for me.   The light is a nice touch - I like how adjustable it is .  I don't use it very much, though, but it is nice to know I have it with me at all times.  No more hunting for batteries for my old booklight.

I am finding that it is not as responsive as my old touch, but that might just be a case of my needing to learn the way of THIS Kobo a bit better.  Snuggle up and become his friend.  But I do know that me and this little guy are going to get to know each other REALLY well over the next few months.   And I can hardly wait.