Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Now THAT is a tempo run :)

"The work of art which I do not make, none other will ever make."
Simone Weil

According to my Garmin Training Center, I am finally entering the "slow run" zone :)
Today was a 4K tempo run and I wanted to really try and push it (being a little high on prednisone and all). During the last K I felt like I was slowing down and, believe me, when I reached the 4K mark, I could not have continued another meter! Although I recuperated quite quickly....and
YES, today I did a real tempo run and came in for the first time ever with an under 10min/mile pace overall (9:56)...that's 6.13min/Km. Plus, although I thought my last K would be slower, I actually improved consistently (6.25; 6.11; 6.09; and 6.06)! Prednisone or not, it's still my body that is doing this...and I'm pretty proud of myself :)

Just wanted to off to yoga.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hills, heartbeat, and prednisone...

"Order is the shape upon which beauty depends."
Pearl Buck

Well, I'm not hating hills and THAT is a surprise to me. I'm at the half-way mark in terms of number of hill repeats (4 X 500m) and my heartrate went up to 155 by the last hill, which is 5 bpm more than the first time I did hills, but I attribute this to the prednisone. Overall, my heartrate was good and I recuperated quickly. I feel no pain while I run hills (either going up or down). Although in my car after, my right knee gave off a mild ache that didn't last very long. So, interestingly, I'm kind of liking the hardcore feel of doing hills :)
After 12 days on prednisone, I'm back to eating the crumbs off the floor after a meal! Sheesh. It's unbelievable how hungry I am...every minute of the day. Thank goodness I'm working out more (I even went to do my strength training today after my hills). Admittedly, another side-effect of prednisone is the extra boost in energy. My closets should be all cleaned out by the weekend, my reports up-to-date, my garden planted, my bread baked, my pants fixed...okay, I'm exaggerating a tad a lot...but, man I'm hyper!
8 more days...and I'm good to go!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lifestyle Changes - every choice is a new beginning!

“Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself.”
Robert F. Bennett

So much about this weekend was wonderful, that I couldn't help thinking back to an earlier, not so wonderful time in my life. Making lifestyle changes is not easy, but I would like to share with you one of the techniques that I have found extremely helpful for myself and even sometimes use with my clients in therapy. We'll call it the "Every choice is a new beginning" technique.

Every day, we make dozens of choices - between using the stairs or the elevator, eating an apple or a chip, going to bed at 10 or 12, going for a run or doing the dishes, watching television or reading, making a phone call or sending an email...the list can go on endlessly.

The way this works, is that every single choice you make needs to be viewed separately from the other choices. PLUS, you must absolutely avoid dwelling over a bad choice that cannot be changed (such as swallowing the last piece of chocolate). This is very important, because when we become disappointed with ourselves for the choice we made, we are at greater risk of feeling defeated and going the "may as well eat the chips too" route. So, if the whole chocolate bar has been eaten, it is impossible to change your choice and you must therefore accept it as such. Simply moving on, with the clear idea that another choice will be coming up soon and you will be given another opportunity to make a healthier choice. This mindset is much more likely to keep you motivated. The goal is to aim for more "healthy" than "unhealthy" choices in a day...NOT perfection. What usually happens is that we become so much more conscious of the power we have over every single choice we make, that it becomes easier to make the choice that makes us proud.
I repeat, the three most important points are:
1) Once a choice cannot be changed, DO NOT DWELL ON IT.
2) Aim for more "healthy" than "unhealthy" choices in a day, not perfection.
3) Be proud of yourself when you choose to stop eating your chocolate bar after two bites.

Myself, I choose to go to bed now...Cheers!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A-ma-zing 12K

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
John F. Kennedy

Today was one of those runs. The weather was beautiful, slightly chilly, but the sun was shining brightly and there was no wind. The company was exquisite and my lungs are much improved. Uber hubby took me to a new (to me) bike trail that I didn't even know we had so near our home. It was perfect to run on. Fine powder rocks are evenly distributed and it was heaven on the legs. I loved every single minute of this run.
I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to experience such wonderful moments of pure happiness.
So 12K at a 7.07min/km pace (with very clear negative splits), no pain and I could have kept going. I tell you, a-ma-zing!

That's it for today, but because I's the new purchase :)
Ready to go...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Running group

"Most of the sighs we hear have been edited."
Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

Tonight was running group. The group has already shrunk quite a bit...but there were about 15 of us. We ran a 5K and I started out very slowly this evening and quickly was the last one of the group. I needed to give my lungs time to work up to a comfortable pace...but I ended up catching up to about half the group by the end. That was actually very reassuring.

The cool think about having the clinics at the store itself is that I can do a little shopping if I'm early. Today, I found my new jacket...and I will be picking it up tomorrow. You will see it's so cute :)

Before we went running, I was chatting with Suzanne and after a few minutes, I was like, "Woah! I'm sorry I'm talking so fast and so much." I am, to say the least, over-stimulated. I had to explain about the asthma meds...which made her laugh (in a good way). I mean, she's used to seeing me much calmer and there I was talking at the speed of light. Thank goodness we cut the prednisone by half in three days, so it should calm down a bit. Speedy talk and shaky hands are not necessarily the qualities one looks for in a psychologist :)

Tomorrow morning hard core yoga. Hope I get to sleep at a reasonable time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hills and the update

"The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides."
Arthur Schnabel

Today was hill repeats...
Newbie Anne (thinking): "Hmmm I have to do 3 hills today. I guess I'll have to do 4 because I'll be on the wrong side of the overpass and I won't be able to get back to my car."
Anne having an AHA moment: "OR, when I do my third hill, I can run up to the top of the overpass, turn around and come back the way I started...duh!" :)  

Plus, although I'm still only 97% sure about this was really not clear that 3 X 400m hills, meant 200m up and 200m down for a total hill. Right?

Asthma update for the interested:
The doctor only saw my test results on Monday (the nurse had given them to me on Friday) and he feels that the level of inflammation is such that I need to extend the prednisone treatment. So, instead of 30mg X 8 is now 30mg X 10 days plus 15mg X 10 days. Plus, the inhalers have been changed again. I am taking a total of 18 puffs a day (3 X 3 puffs of Symbicort) and (3 X 3 puffs of Alvesco).
Let's just say that there's a reason I'm at the computer at 11pm, despite the fact that I work at 8:30am tomorrow morning. Although I just got back from yoga about 9:45, that is not why I am still bright eyed and bushy tailed. Both prednisone and the inhalers are stimulants...I'm feeling a little very agitated and sleep is not an option just yet. My hands are shaking like an addict who needs a fix!
It should calm down soon...but, I'm definitely more hyper when I'm on this much crap.
So, 14 more days of prednisone...then I'll be left with the inhalers.

Mom, I know you'll be reading this. Do not worry. I am feeling fine. This is just a short setback and I'm actually not feeling sick. I promise! If you read the first part you know that I ran hill repeats today :)


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just another day...

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Albert Einstein

Miraculously, things are going along as they should...
Tuesdays I work only in the evening, but I got up at my usual time this morning and was headed out to run errands by 9am. I went to a natural foods store and is not easy to make sure we have lots of good food on hand. I also went to buy hemp protein for after-long-run shakes. I need to eat more, as I'm working out more, which would be a lot easier to do with junk food.
After errands, I went to the gym and did my 4K tempo run on the treadmill (very icky weather today). I then stuck around and did my strength training. So, I'm pleased. Actually, I'm more than pleased...despite the fact that my lungs went through a rough time over the last week or so, I have not had to skip any workouts. The test results show lots of inflammation, but I don't feel sick. I'm not even coughing that much...I just know my lung capacity is down (because I take a peak flow measure morning and night)...but it's not really affecting my quality of life like it used to when I would get sick. Everything is so much more under control and I am convinced that being more fit and having a stronger heart and better cardio due to running are important contributing factors. So, things are going along as they should and I'm pleased...very pleased :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Not bad at all...

"Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order."
Anne Wilson Schaef

Remember that there's a difference between doing your best and being a perfectionist...I just thought I'd mention that.
Yesterday, uber hubby and I ran a nice 3K and it went fine. In the evening we went to Ben and Miglena's for dinner and it was delicious and we had an amazing time!
Good friends :)
I am proud to say that despite the asthma crap, today I ran my 10K (this was not a race, just my long run). The cool thing about being Canadian, is that 10K sounds longer than 6.2 miles and 7.27min/K sounds faster than 11.07min/ TGIC! ;)
Actually, I'm pretty pleased with my time, because I wasn't pushing (except the last K) and I had to take some Ventolin at the half-way point (to be expected). Still overall, a very respectable run.

Despite the return of the hat, mits and coat. This is post-run and I'm all wet!
Miglena, just so you know, I tried one fresh date before the run and one after about 50 minutes. I know you said two before heading out, but I really need to get used to the taste first. I'm sure it was beneficial though, and by the time I get to 14K and over, I should be ready for two :)

Looking forward to reading all the race recaps.

Friday, March 19, 2010


"I will write [and run] myself into well-being."
Nancy Mairs

I decided to make a little modification to the above quotation :)

I saw the pulmonary specialist this morning. We did a test to see if there are oesinophils in my lungs. More than 2% of oesinophils (a type of white blood cell) signifies some inflammation is present. My count was at 40%...that is not a typo! So back on prednisone I go for 8 days. I'm okay with this's been four months with none at all, so one week is not going to cause major side-effects and my lungs should be nice and clear when I'm done. I'm actually pleased about that part. Of course, I wish I didn't need this medication, that would be ideal, but that's not the way it is. Also, the candida is back and I must take Fluconasol for 21 days (plus pantoloc for the stomach, because of the side-effects of said meds). Finally, we are going to try a different puffer than Advair, which appears to be the cause of this recurrent fungus infection. Hopefully, it's the last time.
My grocery list of meds!
What does all this means that we're -7 days without prednisone, but that I'll be feeling great in a few days. I had a total of 122 days off prednisone, it's the longest since I went on daily prednisone about 4-5 years I'm happy with that and now I have a record to beat!

Yesterday, I still ran a 5K...just sayin' :)
Who says people with asthma can't run!

That's it for today...just wanted to update you.
I actually have the time to write this now, because my son and his girlfriend are cooking dinner for us this evening. How cool is that :)
Edit: They made General Tao chicken with all the was delicious!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Adapting and accepting...

"Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand."
Baruch Spinoza

WARNING: This is not a sunshine post. is not a good day. My lungs are not happy. Running group was this evening, but the idea of running a 5K around 7pm was not something I felt would go well. Luckily, uber hubby was more than willing to join me for a 5K around the neighborhood around 4:30pm. For those of you who have asthma...let me mention that on top of my monthly Xolair injection and my usual morning meds (1 puff of Advair 250 and 3 puffs of Alvesco), I took two puffs of Ventolin around noon and two more puffs of Ventolin before heading out for my run. Note that I very rarely need Ventolin. My run went okay, but I was pretty slow today (understandably). It took me 37 minutes, which is a whole 5 minutes more than last week. I see the pulmonary specialist tomorrow, so we'll see what the next step is. I also think the candida (fungus infection due to Advair) is back in my oesophagus, which is annoying and means more meds. So that's the lung crap...I'll add right now, that I used to feel this way much much more often and that it's been a while since my lung capacity has gone down this much. So I do know it's temporary and that by next week, things should be better (although it may mean a week of prednisone). No matter, I've been doing so well and this was bound to happen at some point.

Next, I have some pain in the back...I think it might be because I'm trying really hard to run with a better posture. It's been mentioned to me that I tend to turn my shoulders in, especially when I get tired. I noticed it too on some of my running photos from Cuba.
See how my shoulders are turned in?
This one, from the back, I'm almost embarassed to show you.
We're nearing the end of the run here.
They're not as bad at the beginning of a run, but I know that it's something I need to work on. Since I started working on this, I realized that whenever I feel a twinge of the old pain in my left thigh, all I have to do is pull my shoulders back and my pelvis forward a bit and the pain goes away. It doesn't feel natural yet, but I hope it will by the time I do my first race in May. For now, I have sore lats in the back.

Finally, I guess this is turning into Three Things Thursday :)...anyways, I realized today that I'm probably not a great candidate for a running group in the long term. I'm enjoying the atmosphere and the people and I'm learning and it'll be fun to see how everyone does. But, I have so many people in my life that are more than willing to join me on runs, especially uber hubby, who's right at home with me, that I don't feel the need to run with a group. Plus, I'm already so busy with everything else in my life, that one more evening booked just seems like too much. Next time, I may do the online clinic. It was really nice today to go run my 5K in the afternoon with my husband, then make dinner together and relax. I'm learning what works for me...and it's all good.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First hills and unreachable key!

"The body is shaped, disciplined, honored, and in time, trusted."
Martha Graham

Today, I ran my first hills...and I was not feeling up to it. Wrong time of the month and the lungs are not too great...but, as you've all experienced at one time or other, it did not reflect itself in my run...Yay!
First I put my car key in a cool little pocket on the side of my top (a pocket I'd never used before). I then went for a 1.5K warmup and as I went by my car I wanted to blow my nose and put my gloves and scarf away. I went to unzip my pocket to get my car key and I could not, for the life of me, get that zipper down! I managed to find the unlock door button, through my pocket, and figured I'd deal with it after I finished my hills. Went to the overpass, up - down - up - down...and it went really well :) I was pretty pleased with myself. My cardio only got up to 150, which is perfect. I'm feeling much better than I imagined I would with my first hills. Next I'm off to do a cool down run of about 1.5K and then back to the car. At this point, I really have to go to the bathroom, but that zipper will still not budge. I open the doors through my pocket again, sit in the car, take off my two watches (Garmin on the left and cardio monitor on the right), take off the top and try with all my might to unzip that zipper, as I am feeling the pain of needing to get to a bathroom now! No Deal! This is not good...I really must get that car key out of my pocket...but how?
Idea :)
I had my house keys in the car, so I turn my top inside out and start poking a hole in the back of the pocket lining with a key until I make a hole big enough to pull out my car key...Done! Phew...I really must get home. Now! So...the hills went much better than I expected...and I was never so happy to get home :)


Sunday, March 14, 2010

That's the Spirit!

"Once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
Margery Williams

Yesterday was another pretty cool day. First my super sister-in-law (J), my brother, uber hubby and I went for a short 3K run together. What fun!
Oh and guess who got a running skirt :)
My partner in crime. J and I will be running our first half-marathon together in May, along with uber hubby.
We then got together for a nice dinner before watching a very special movie (can you guess?)'s about running
Of course, you guessed it...we all watched Spirit of the Marathon together. What an inspiring movie...makes you want to get out there and run right now! What a fun day once again...

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Isn't it always the way :)

"Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more commonplace than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent."
Calvin Coolidge

Today I went for my 5K tempo run and for the first time since I started running, I feel like I actually ran a true tempo pace (for me)! The possibility of running a sub-30 minute 5K seemed so far away, but today I could see it in my future as I ran my 5K in 32m45s. My first kilometer was at 6:46min/K and my last was at 6:16min/K...I had my first solid negative splits, with every successive K being faster than the previous one. I was so freaking pleased with myself that I could not wait to plug in the ANT stick and have a look at my numbers. Well, you guessed it, something happened and the program shut down and the numbers never made it into the Garmin training center. Of course, I had ticked off the box that says to delete my workouts from the Garmin once they are transfered, which means that I have no record of this great run. Thank goodness I was so excited that I kept checking my time at every lap and that I was focused on my time during the last few meters. I couldn't believe I would manage to finish under 33 minutes :)
The cool thing, is that my lung capacity is not great these days, although my throat is less sore and I seem to have managed to fight off these cold symptoms. Still, after my run, I had a bit of chest tightness and a cough, enough that some ventolin was in order. Yet I managed my best 5K to date! Imagine when my lungs are in good shape...I am so going to kick that 5Ks butt in under 30 minutes! 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Running and walking, why not...

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anaïs Nin

As often happens when I travel by air, I woke up with swollen glands and a sore throat yesterday morning. Nonetheless, it was so beautiful outside, that we decided to go for our longer run. I knew it might be difficult for me as my lungs are my figurative Achilles' heel (any minor cold symptom has an immediate impact on my lung capacity). We had 9K planned, but we ended up doing 6K (fatigue and time ended up being an issue as we had dinner guests arriving soon). Still, the weather was definitely beautiful (6°C/43°F) and I was able to run without a jacket. Yay!
I did wear a headband, but this is post-run so it was in my hand.
Today, I decided it was probably best that I not run, because I can't afford to wear down my immune system. I still wanted to get some Ks in so I decided to walk. Before I began running, I was a walker. I actually did the Weekend Walk for Breast Cancer in 2005 - 60Ks in two days. Basically, a little more than a half-marathon two days in a row.
This is my celebratory fist pump in front of the Olympic stadium after completing the 60Ks :)
It had been quite a while since I went for a walk, but today I headed to Fort Chambly (8K). No ipod, just me, myself, and my thoughts. It was actually really nice and I was reminded that walking is also a really enjoyable activity. I even took a few pictures along the way.
An old Hydro-Québec dam.
My turn-around point - Fort Chambly (me and my shadow). This is where I took out my apple, which I could eat slowly while walking.
Time-wise, I realize that it would take me a little over 3h30m to walk a half-marathon I remain hopeful that I can improve on that when I run ;) 
Today reminded me that I enjoy going for long walks sometimes and that when I'm not feeling so well, a nice walk can be an excellent substitute to running. Running is still my drug of choice...but, it's nice to have other options.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Running barefoot on the beach and other highlights!

"Within your heart, keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go."
Louise Driscoll

During this vacation, I discovered barefoot running on hard sand along the was amazing!
I LOVED running barefoot!
Although I did end up with a little souvenir on my big toe :)
Note the beautiful blister after a 9K run on the beach :)
It never did end up hurting though and I was able to run on the beach again a few days later.
You will notice that I changed my header photo. No more winter...time to dream about summer for a while.

Here's another cool thing that happened on this vacation. I'm lounging on the beach, reading the first of many books I devoured. My husband is gone to get something to drink. After a while, there is some ruckus behind me and when I turn, there is not only my husband, but also my sister and her husband who decided to surprise us and join us on our vacation. I was thrilled to see them!
My sister Cee and I. 
Initially, they were to join us, but for various reasons, they had changed their minds. My sister has been very busy since her book came out and she was away the day we left. However, at the last minute, they decided a vacation was in order and so they thought they'd surprise us and they arrived two days after we did. How cool is that...we had a great time together.
The four of us at dinner.

Here are a few pictures from our vacation!
The cocotaxi, it's like a three-wheeled!

Our resort in Varadero.

Stretching...note the cute garmin, which was great for measuring our distance on the beach.

Book number two...I did lots of reading. Can I look more serious :)

After our first beach run together :)

We clean up pretty well ;)
Tomorrow is a busy day, because we'll be celebrating my 51st birthday!
So, I look forward to catching up on everyone's blogs over the next week...