Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights

Despite finishing the year up with an injury, 2013 has been pretty amazing. I'm going to do another post reviewing my 2013 goals, but here's this year's highlights.

Harry's Spring Run Off 

My first year running this. What made it special was that I did this with a group of co-workers (10 of us in total) and for most of them, it was either their first race or their first time running in years. Didn't hurt that we had a really wonderful brunch afterwards.

Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon

Goodlife was my spring goal race and where I set my current half marathon PR of 2:33, but this was probably my favourite race of the year. Even though I don't think I ran it well and they ran out of water on the course, the positives more than made up for it. The atmosphere was so amazing and supportive. Little details like a fabulous race kit (with wine!), a boxed lunch and a cold cloth at the finish and a marching band to start the race made all the difference.

Also, it's going to take a lot to beat meeting Katherine Switzer and getting a high five from her on the course.

Joined a Running Clinic

I'd been considering a running room clinic for a while but always hesitated because I ran 5/1's and I thought I was too slow to keep up with the group. I made an effort in the spring to start running 10/1's and after missing my 2:30 half marathon goal in the spring, decided to join the clinic. A week before it started, I was ready to back out but I'm happy now that I didn't. I met a lot of great people, ran through different areas of the city and really progressed as a runner.

I absolutely loved my instructor. I admit to Sport Stats stalker her before the clinic started and was encouraged to see that we're similarly paced. I think if I had seen BQ times for a first marathon, I might have quit than and there. 

While I kind of think that my clinic played a part in my hip injury and its not the route I want to go for my spring races, I'll probably be back to it for a fall half.

New Zealand

Completely not running related, but this was easily my highlight of the year.

Rainbow at the end of the one run I did there.
I told my husband in 2012 that we need to take opportunities as they come up cause they might never be there again and that's completely what this trip was.  

My husband was part of the Canadian Dodgeball Team that participated in the World Dodgeball Invitational in Queenstown, NZ. (watch this video if curious). The tournament itself was only one day, but we had 12 days to explore a bit of the country.
We kayaked, hiked, sat on beaches. Everyday was amazing and I would easily go back.

Waterfront Half Marathon

My hip injury at its worst - this race hurt. But I had fun (except for limping). Enjoyed finishing up with my clinic group. I missed my 2:30 goal but I finished at 2:34 - one minute off my current PR with an injury so I'm pretty happy with that. Without the injury, I know I would have broken 2:30 so it's going to happen in 2014.


The silver lining of my injury - I rediscovered yoga. I've been practicing daily for 2 months now. My time on my mat is my favourite part of the day, even more so than running. Yoga Download has been an amazing resource, both their 20 minute free classes and their longer ones.

Looking forward to new and exciting things to come in 2014!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Returning to the Yoga Studio

It's been a few months since I've ventured out to a yoga studio. Today though, I packed up my mat and headed out into the snow.

I've really been loving my home practice. A combination of a few online videos and websites  have allowed me to fit yoga in pretty much every day for about two months now. It is nice though to switch things up and join a class.

Some thoughts on Home Practice & Going to a Yoga Studio

  • I'm much more flexible than I was two months ago. 
  • I really enjoy a hot studio, especially on a cold winter day. I positioned myself by a window so I could watch the snow fall.
  • Most of the classes I go at home are audio classes, so I was able to follow the instructor quite well just by listening to them.
  • Maybe this was because of the small class size today, but I was able to just focus on my own practice rather than what everyone else was doing. That's not been the case for me in the past.
  • Having an instructor give pointers and adjustments makes going out into the snow worthwhile.
  • Yoga is much easier without two cats trying to nap on your yoga mat.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2014 Plans - So Far

I was well on my way with my 2014 race plans before well before my 2013 races were done. I was feeling strong and really excited about my fall half marathon so started registering for 2014 races in September. My injury kind of threw a wrench into my half marathon and I kind of feel like I'm starting from scratch again, but I have big things coming up in the new year.

The first half of 2014 is all about distance not speed.

I am kind of afraid of this race, mostly because of the hills but super excited at the same time. I have no time expectations at all for this, its more a stepping stone to...

Ottawa Marathon!- May 25

I've been planning on 2014 being the year of the marathon for me, just had to decide which one. I was leaning towards a spring marathon. Goodlife was appealing because of the giant medal, but looking at the results from 2013 - there weren't many 5+ hour finishers. I don't want to be out on the course by my lonesome. Ottawa has both a 5 hour pace bunny and a 5:30 bunny so that was encouraging. The timing works well for my schedule so I registered very early in September. 

I'm going to do one other spring race, either Yonge Street 10K or Sporting Life 10K. I'm leaning towards Sporting Life at the moment as the date seems to work the best for me and I'm curious to see how the new race director improves the event.

For the rest of the year, I'm sure that Scotiabank Waterfront will be on my list in some form or the other and I'm considering Sea Wheeze if I can make an August Vancouver trip work. 

Marathon/Around the Bay training started this week for me! Bring on the long runs!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Goals

1. Do some form of exercise everyday.

I'm normally pretty good with this, but with the holidays coming up, life might get in the way. I figure that I can find at least 20 minutes everyday to get some activity in (even on Christmas)

2. Step Away from the Holiday Treats

Things I love:

  • candy cane ice cream
  • gingerbread men
  • cranberry bliss bars
  • special holiday flavoured macarons
  • cupcakes
Most of these are available at my local Loblaws (including the macarons! My Loblaws got fancy!). While its fine to have a holiday treat at a party, they are not for everyday! So no adding a gingerbread man to the shopping cart for an evening snack. No picking up a bliss bar with my coffee on the way to work. 

3. Start learning about meditation

If anyone has suggestions are way to begin, please let me know.

4. Go to a Yoga Studio

It's been awhile and even though I'm enjoying my home practice, I think going to a class would be beneficial once in a while. I had good intentions to get to a moksha class yesterday, but my bus didn't show up and I wouldn't have made the class on time so set up the mat at home instead.

5. Enjoy Some Winter Walks

Preferably with my husband, but walking on my own or with friends is fine too.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Over

How's November go?

Goal 1 - Fix My Hip B+

I'm still going to physio but I've cut back to going every 2nd week instead of every week. The sessions are typically 15 minutes of my therapist working on my hip (digging his thumbs into the muscle and stretching it out) followed by 15 minutes of icing. I'm not sure how much I'm really getting out of the sessions and the cost of weekly visits are adding up. So far the only homework I have is squats and rest.

I have gotten back into strength training (and the prescribed squats). Back to my beloved Chalean Extreme three times a week. I've lowered the weight for all lower body exercises until I get a better sense of what my hip can handle and what it can't.

I did get the okay to try some running - on the treadmill at 0 incline. For the most part, that's been fine. I have increased the incline to 0.5 now and keeping my pace on the slower side. I've loaded Zombie's, Run! back onto my iPod to keep me entertained.

My first outdoor run this past Thursday didn't go as well. I felt fine while running, but my hip tightened up later that day. I think running in snow with my yaktrax on might not have been the best idea for a test run. Think I'll try clear sidewalks and no added weight on my shoes next time.

Goal 2 - Daily Yoga A

I practiced yoga 25 times in November so I missed a couple of days. Getting back into yoga has been the silver lining of my injury. I'm loving my time on my mat.

All of November's sessions have been at home and mostly shorter sessions of 20 to 30 minutes. Yoga Download is my main go-to, I love their 20 minute free audio classes. DoYogaWithMe and this video are also great. I picked up Christine Felstead's Intermediate Yoga for Runners DVD at the Scotiabank expo and that's been a nicer longer session.

Goal 3 - Get My Eating Under Control B-

I have been planning my meals and doing some cooking but there's still room for improvement ( a lot of room). Treats at work are my downfall as are all of the Christmas goodies that have started appearing. I've been losing and gaining back the same 3 pounds all month. I am tracking my eating though most days, just need to make some better choices.

Stats for November:
# of Work Outs: 28 (actually higher, but I'm counting double work outs and days where I followed up with a yoga session into 1 work out).

Running Stats - I have been tracking these all year, but this is my first time posting to my blog. Compared to earlier months, these make me sad. I'm reminding myself that this is a start point.

# of Runs: 7
Total Distance Ran: 20.52km
Longest Run: 5.01km
Fastest Pace: 7.09/km
Average Pace: 7:33/km