Saturday, 26 November 2011

HBBC Weekly Tally - Week 1

November 19 - 25 (sidelined by pneumonia)

19 +4: run 3 miles and 20 minutes stretching

Additional challenge and question points:

Bonus points:
+1: link on Facebook
+1: Tweet with link
+2: HBBC linked badge on this blog
+1: Resolution Run sign-up

Weekly Total: 9

Challenge Total: 9

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Pneumonia? I hardly know ya!

I guess I'm sicker than I thought because Saturday's effort knocked me flat on my a$$ for two days. After trying to get an appointment first with my doctor and then with my husband's, I made a trip to the local walk-in clinic. Surprisingly I was in and out in two hours during which time I was seen, x-rayed, diagnosed, prescribed and medicated. Pneumonia. So my 10k running clinic is sidelined and I'm at a real disadvantage for HBBC. It was kind of cool looking at my bones and lungs though!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Energy Begets Energy

The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge starts today! I think I'm more of a Builder but I signed up as a Doer. As Sam says, go big or go home.

Unfortunately I'm starting the challenge at a bit of a disadvantage because I've been sick in bed with the flu all week. I am shaky and exhausted but still, on the premise that energy begets energy, I decided to try to earn some points. I would have loved to go for a run but settled for a walk on the treadmill. I walked three miles at 4 mph then followed up with 20 minutes of stretching. 4 points!

I used to run on the treadmill all the time but I haven't used it for a while since I've been running outside. Today I noticed how much further 3 miles seems on the treadmill than it does outside. And it sucked. It felt like the treadmill belt was a Möbius strip...endless!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Garmin To A Go-Go

I want a running device. I want a gadget or tool or accessory that tells me how fast and how far I've run, something that spits out data that will allow me to track, measure and compare, something that will motivate me. There are so many options to choose from and oooooh, how I covet them all!

I've been using a borrowed Nike+ for several months (along with a borrowed iPod; thank you, J!) and I lovelovelove it when that saucy minx whispers "200 meters" in my ear so I seriously considered buying one. Unfortunately the Nike+ only works with an iPhone or an iPod. I don't have either and I'm not looking to replace the phone and mp3 player that I do have. They work just fine and it would be an expensive proposition. Oh, and I'd need an armband too. More expense. So as much as I've enjoyed using the Nike+, that's out.

What about a new phone then? iPhones, Android phones and some of the other new smartphones have gps built in and a wide variety of apps that would do the job for me. You can use them as music players too so they'd be multi-purpose tools. A new phone would be expensive, though, especially since mine is still under contract and not due for an upgrade for a long time. A phone is a bit cumbersome too, even with an armband (and it's hard to see the display on something strapped into an armband). So that's out too.

Sports watch? Excellent idea! A Garmin. But which one? I'm torn between the 305 and the 405. The 405 is definitely sexier but is anything that big and bulky truly sexy? The 305 offers an extra field of data on its larger clearer display. The 405 has a touch screen (not sure that's a plus for someone like me) and has a wireless autosync feature. Otherwise they seem pretty even on a feature-by-feature basis, and right now they are similarly priced too. I'm leaning toward the 305 but uuuuuurgh! Decisions, decisions!

What device(s) do you use, and what advice can you offer to help me choose?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Run Like A Girl

I have finally earned my husband's respect for my running. All along he's been kinda "Yeah yeah, whatever" or "I could do that. It'd probably be easy for me since I play hockey" but ever since I described Sunday's route to him (7.6k of hill after hill after hill) he's all "Wow, that first hill alone would kill me. That's impressive!" Yeah, baby, that's right, it would! And it is! AND I AM!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

If A Body Meet A Body Image: Suat Eman /
Whenever I see a runner I think good thoughts for her (or him) and I call those good thoughts "vibes". I wish her speed, strength, stamina, energy, moderate temperatures, more daylight, clear skies, smooth trails, lots of things. I like to think she feels my vibes and feels energized by them. My kids think I'm a bit delusional for doing this but I don't think I'm alone in sending vibes. When I'm out running, people nod or wave or smile, they move aside or stop to allow me to pass. Those small humble acts are vibes. I feel them. When I'm running with a group, people's vibes are more grandiose and apparent; they high-five us, shout words of encouragement or honk their horns. And I really feel those!

I was running with a friend a couple of nights ago and a man, drunk or toothless or crazy (or maybe drunk and toothless and crazy), shouted something at us. He was completely unintelligible. I have no idea what he said but from his tone I believe the gist of it was, "You go, girls!" Anyway, it was a vibe, I'm sure of it.

A bit later, we passed a young man on the street. We were near the end of our route, energy flagging, breaking form, complaining a bit, and he shouted, "Relax your hands!" What?! "Relax your hands!" Okay. "If you relax your hands you'll be able to run another twenty kilometers!" Thanks! I relaxed my hands. What a nice guy! And that was a vibe if ever I felt one!

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Sunday morning is Run Club so I got up early, dressed, fuelled up well for the planned 7k run and started to drive to the meet. The van felt very strange from the first few seconds, really heavy and resistant, and was making grinding sounds. The heaviness didn't surprise me too much -- my husband had put snow tires on the day before and they always feel a bit heavy at first, especially if there's not already snow on the road -- but the noise and the resistance, the degree of resistance, really worried me. About a quarter mile from home I felt it was unsafe to drive so I turned around and went back. Since I was already dressed and ready I decided to go for a solo run and my husband promised to have a look at the van while I was gone.

It was a beautiful morning, sunny and cool but not cold, and I ran a hilly 7.6k route at a pleasant comfortable pace. It was a fabulous start to the day and I congratulated myself on my discipline and commitment. Go, me!

On my return home, I enjoyed a leisurely stretching session on the front porch (enjoy the show, neighbours!) then went inside to find my husband preparing one of his legendary Sunday breakfasts. O happy day!

"Hi! Great run! Gorgeous day! Did you get a chance to look at the van while I was gone?"

"Yup." Amused smile.


"The parking brake was on."

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge

Run To The Finish blog is sponsoring its fourth annual Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge and my friend, Sam, thought it would be a good way to keep our health and fitness goals on track during the oh-so-tempting holiday season. This is an American challenge but Canadians like us are welcome to join (Yay! We should get bonus International Relations points!). The challenge runs from November 19 to January 6 and participants range from fitness beginners (Builders) to those with more established fitness regimens (Doers) to competitive super-athletes (Show-offs...I mean, Advanced). Points are earned for fitness activities and better food choices with additional bonus point opportunities thrown in. I'll be tallying my points here at the end of each week. That'll keep me accountable (to Sam if no one else!).

Sound fun, right?? Join us! You can read the rules and sign up at Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011.

Monday, 7 November 2011

A Hill By Any Other Name

I've lived here most of my life and I've travelled the roads of this community over and over again.  I've done them walking, driving, riding a bike, pushing a stroller and pulling a wagon but it wasn't until I started running that I noticed the many subtle changes in elevation.  On what once seemed like long level stretches of road, I've become acutely aware of slight changes in grade.  Some of the slopes are visibly imperceptible but my body knows.  The legs don't lie.  Nobody's ever been fooled by "a gluteal illusion" or "a trick of the quads".  A slope, a grade, a change in pitch, a rise in elevation, call it what you want but there's hills in them thar roads!

A hill by any other name would feel as steep

Today's route was a hilly 5.5km.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Fartlek: Swedish for Heart Attack

This 10k clinic is quite different from the 5k clinic I just finished. It's more like boot camp, but the nicest kind of boot camp, and the instructor's like a drill sergeant, but the nicest kind of drill sergeant.   You have to love her because she's so cheerful, so passionate and so committed, and she has a large team of loyal group leaders that work with her so you know she's an awesome and inspiring leader.  I know I am going to get a lot out of this clinic and will be a better runner for it but I think ours is going to be one of those love-hate relationships.  Love her, love the clinic, hate the blood, sweat and tears.

Last night, and this was a first for me, she had us doing form drills and fartleks.  Fartleks?  I can never get that right on the first try.  Fartlet.  Farklek.  Farklet.  Gah!  I can't even say it with a straight face.

"Does anyone know why we do drills and fartleks?" she asked.

The group murmured tentatively and I thought, "Because you said to."

"Does anyone know why we do drills and fartleks?" she asked again, more emphatically this time, and I thought, "Because you said to, SIR!"

Correct answer:  To improve our form and raise our anaerobic threshhold.  Sounds awesome!  Can't wait!

Well, it was hard.  It was sweaty.  My hips ached, my quadriceps burned, my heart was jackhammering in my chest and my lungs wanted to burst.  I was physically exhausted and my "sprint" back was laughable.  The whole exercise underscored all my weaknesses and shone a big bright light on the things I need to improve.  But damned if I didn't feel fantastic when we were finished!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

One Step Forward

Last weekend I accompanied a friend on a short run.  It was a cool and sunny morning so I was enjoying it tremendously, happy to be out in the early morning air.  My friend is new to running (or rather, getting reacquainted with it after many years of estrangement) so she was running at a pace that was challenging for her but was not, alas, comfortable for me.  I'm a very fast walker so I tried walking alongside her but that felt awkward too so in an effort to find a compromise between speed and comfort, I eventually turned around and started running backward.  Obviously I wasn't running backward at the same pace that I run forward but it felt quite comfortable (except for the nagging fear that the next sound I would hear would be the *BONG* of my head hitting a light post) and I was able to keep pace with my friend as we chatted and moved along our route.  After the run I was not at all fatigued but very surprised to feel like my abs had had a good workout.  Who'da thought?

This is the starting line, not the finish!

Out of curiosity I went home and Googled "backward running".  To my surprise and delight, there is a whole world of backward running!  It seems that backward running (also known as reverse running and retro running) is a legitimate sport and exercise in its own right.  It has its own clubs and races, has many websites dedicated to its practice, and boasts an impressive list of benefits.  One of those benefits is, as you may have guessed, that it is great for the abdominal core muscles.  I think I am going to find somewhere safe and level and obstacle-free (such as the local high-school track) and incorporate some backward running drills into my routine so if you see me waving at you and running but getting smaller and smaller, it's not an illusion.  I'm running backward!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

A Real Runner

I started to feel like a Real Runner when cars stopped to let me cross at intersections, when pedestrians moved aside to let me pass and when (holy of holies) other runners gave me a wave, a smile or a nod.  I thought, "If I can fool them I can fool me."  But I didn't have the confidence to say it out loud until I ran my first race.  "I am a Real Runner." When did you feel like you had become a Real Runner?