Sunday, March 24, 2013

Not an easy week...

"If you're in a bad situation, don't worry it'll change. If you're in a good situation, don't worry it'll change." 
John A. Simone, Sr.

It was the type of week that will be easiest described in point here goes:

  1. Tuesday evening, Uber H was sent by the clinic to the ER to make sure the ache in his temple was not something serious. It wasn't. But he got home at 2:30 am, and of course, he called me to keep me posted and I didn't sleep so well until he got home. So Wednesday I was a little tired.
  2. Wednesday evening, we decided to eat out. I had a chicken brochette, which unfortunately was dry as wood, and seem to have little splinters. At one point, one of those little "splinters" got stuck in the back of my throat...ouch. After some water, the worst seemed to have passed, but something still felt stuck deep in my throat and it hurt when I swallowed. When I got home, I called info-health and they told me to go to the ER. Of course! So I did. However, after the nurse told me that if whatever was stuck there seemed to move I was to come see her immediately, I was then put on the not-so-urgent list. I guess as long as it stayed there it wasn't dangerous, but I couldn't go home either, in case. So yes, health-care is free in Canada, but unless you're a serious emergency, ER is LOOOOONG. I saw the nurse at 9:30pm and saw the doctor at 3:45am! I was going crazy! So they did an x-ray and there was no bone. Then she froze my throat and using a metal thingie went to look down there (Gag). She didn't see anything stuck there, just a lesion. But, even though she was pretty sure the lesion was causing the pain when I swallowed, just to be sure, I was to see the ENT later that morning. 
  3. Thursday: Cancelled my morning clients, really not as simple as that sounds, but I'll spare you the details. Saw the ENT later in the morning, he once again froze my throat, went through my nose, down into my throat. Yup. Fun. So, he confirmed, there was swelling and a lesion, but no dry chicken. So basically a whole night awake, but all is healing well. 
  4. Thursday PM: Off to see a nutritionist for an appointment that was scheduled three weeks ago. I'll tell you more about that soon...some great advice, and I'm not eating enough...especially not enough protein!
  5. Tired...tired...tired. 
  6. Friday: I had my appointment with my trainer at the gym (another one of those scheduled weeks ago), so I had to go through my strength program (nausea)...then I had my clients, who were rescheduled. Plus a show to attend in the early evening.
  7. Saturday: I ran 40 minutes...then went door to door as I had agreed to volunteer to collect funds for Heart and Cardiovascular disease. A dinner and evening out to go to the restaurant (an hour away) where my godson plays the piano (this was scheduled a month ago)!
  8. Tired...tired...tired. I am so 54 years old :) 
  9. Sunday: Long run...too tired in the am. Rest...have lunch...and then around 1pm, I head out. The program said 20Km, my plan was to try for included 30 minutes at half-marathon pace (6m15/km). I managed to include the 30 minutes...but I was finding it very difficult. When I reached 14.65km, I just stopped my watch and for the first time ever, called my husband to come and get me. He did...I just couldn't go any further without risking spending another week recuperating. 
So yeah, that was my week. The good news is that both Uber H and I could have stayed home and slept and avoided ER in the end. I much prefer that we went for nothing and that all is good! 
Tomorrow starts a new week :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Flexibility...where have you gone?

"Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true" 

When it comes to mental flexibility, I have no problem...I adapt well and do not have a rigid personality. However, when it comes to physical flexibility, that's a whole other story. In fact, the stronger I feel when I run, the less flexible I become. During my yoga class last Friday, we had to stand facing the wall, raise our leg at a 90 degree angle and place it against the wall. Then, if we "could" we had to reach forward and touch our toes on the foot that was against the wall. I had to use the strap to hold my foot up, because I was unable to raise my leg more than about a foot off the ground, and it wouldn't stay up by itself. I looked around the room and noticed that EVERYONE else could do it...even the few, not so flexible men in our group! I've been doing yoga once a week, almost continuously, for the past four years, and when I do my strength workout, I end it with some stretching. But, that's it and it doesn't seem to be enough. I left yoga Friday determined to improve my flexibility!

Yesterday evening, as I'm stretching on my bed, I am reading a book on running for women (it's in French, from Québec, and it came out last week - so all information is recent). So, I'm reading this book and I come across a section that answers different questions, one of which is, "Should I stretch before or after running?" The answer was "No." Warming up is encouraged, but not stretching, even after a run. According to Guy Thibault (expert), "We recently learned that when we stretch a muscle, it even slightly loses some of its strength." However, they suggest stretching when coming back to running after an injury. Now I'm confused! Intuitively, I still feel that working on my stretching will be a good thing (I mean I'm not an elite runner, the difference in my strength is surely not going to show)...but I'll do it carefully and not excessively (I don't have that much time anyways)! 

What's your take on runners and flexibility?!

As for the rest of my weekend, yesterday I ran 6 X 600m hill repeats and I was quite pleased with myself. It's funny how going uphill, I was telling myself that "maybe I should do just 4, that would be enough" and then going downhill, I'd be like, "it's not so bad, I can probably do 6" and I did this every. single. time. :) Well, I did 6 of course, because when I set out to do something, I usually do it.

Then today, I had 22km (13.67 miles) on the program and as I was approaching 21K, I looked at my watch and realized that I was really close to a half-marathon PR, so km 21 was my fastest and I ended up with a 45 second PR. Then I remembered that every half-marathon race I've run, I ended up going longer than 21.1, so when I compare this time to my last race, where I went 21.28, it's about the same. BUT, when I look at my last training 21.1, it's a PR :) Regardless, it went well today and I'm really pleased with how I'm feeling.

Six weeks to go before the big day! 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why life is good - and a training PR!

"The day you decide to do, is your lucky day."  Japanese Proverb

"The best luck of all is the luck you make for yourself." Douglas MacArthur

The first week of March was the school break over here and since my husband is a teacher, I also took the week off. That week, if I count the kilometers I spent snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, I completed a grand total of 82km (that's 51 miles). If you count only the running, I completed a total of 65km (or 40.3 miles). Yay! Then last Sunday, I ended the week with the longest long run of my program, which was 28km (17.4 miles). I'm really proud of myself. 

I'm glad that I didn't listen to the inner voice that often tried to keep me home to "rest" because I was feeling tired and even mildly nauseous on some mornings (it's a women thing). The voice that told me I was perhaps trying to do too much. The thing is, almost every time I got out there, I felt good and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

On Wednesday, I celebrated my birthday with some intervals on the treadmill and I felt great! I actually thought to myself, "How amazing it is to feel this strong at 54". Then Thursday morning I was meeting one of my close friends for some cc skiing on Mont St-Bruno and then a nice lunch. Again, once I got there, it was beautiful being out there and I felt so lucky! On Friday, Uber H and I were  going to Mont Orford with some family. He was going cc skiing and I was going snowshoeing with my SIL. Once again, an extremely amazing day...with perfect weather. We did 11km with a total elevation of 1,196 meters...and I loved every minute.

Beautiful day on Mont Orford!

Breathtaking views!

We carried our lunch in a backpack and ate up on the mountain in a small wood cabin that had a fireplace going...truly a wonderful day. I then did my one-hour run on Saturday, once again on Mont St-Bruno, on the trails! Then, I concluded my week with a 28km run on Sunday. The weather was quite nice, though cloudy and a bit windy, but I did it, completing the run in 3h08m49s, and I felt strong. I now use a 14/1 ratio, which is working really well for me.

So, the point of my quotes is that although I could just say that I'm so lucky to have these opportunities...I know that it's a question of getting out there and taking these opportunities. It's getting everything ready and then driving to the mountain and planning and organizing...but it is so worth it! 

I'm also thrilled because yesterday, the plan was to include 4km at 10K pace in my workout. However, it was going well and so I decided to try and beat my 5K PR...and I did it, completing in 28m56s! I was excited to break the 29-minute barrier :) 

And so it continues, I cross-train with spinning and a strength workout on Tuesdays and yoga on Fridays...along with lots of running. We all know, that we never know what can happen on race I'm glad that I am enjoying the journey!

Of course, there's a little bit of luck in the fact that I am not sick, like Caroline, or injured or banged up from a pothole, like ajh...but you know what I mean :)


Get out there and make your luck! St. Patrick's day is coming up :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Winter Pentathlon - Family Fun!

We did it! 
(Missing our eldest son...maybe next year) :)

First transition - K just finished the bike and J is waiting to get the chip on her left leg before she goes off for the run.

J coming by the transition zone during her first of three legs!

J did a great job and then the chip was passed to her bf who was supposed to do the skating portion. However, Québec City has had some exceptionally warm weather the last few days and the ice was too soft. So, his leg was replaced with a shorter snowshoeing leg (3K). This was his first time ever on snowshoes, but he did great...even if he would have enjoyed skating more!

Next was my husband and the cc skiing segment...still smiling after his first leg (3 to go)

Last, but not least :) The snowshoe segment, here I am coming through on my first of three laps. Smiling as my crew cheers me on!

I ran a total of 4.5K on VERY hilly terrain. But, including the transition, it took me 36m35s. So, I'm very pleased with my time. 

Enjoying a celebratory dinner after the race!
It was a great experience and perhaps we'll do it again next year...with a little more training :)

Running continues to go well...I decided  to enter the Run Every Day in March Challenge. So far, so good! Today, once we got home from Québec City, my daughter and I went for her long run together. We ran 14km and it was her longest distance to date. I am so proud of her...she is doing a great job with her training. It was so nice to run with her today...we don't often get the chance! 

Cheers all!