Rest Day

My 10K training schedule only has one rest day a week, and that day is today.

It’s perfect because there’s no way I could fit in a workout. I woke up early this morning to pack my bag for a weekend away (and write this post), went to work, am attending a lunchtime meeting, and after work will be hopping a bus to Nova Scotia.

I’ve often heard of people who hate taking rest days because they love working out so much.

This is so not me.

This is so not me. I watch Netflix, duh. 

To be honest, I always thought those people were crazy. I love rest days and more often than not can also find an excuse to skip workouts here and there on training days.

My training over the past few weeks has been going well and I feel like a different person than I did before my summer break from running. For that reason, I almost feel a little sad I won’t be able to get my sweat on today, but I did my hair this morning and that’s reason alone to not mess with the plan. (Anyone else find that terrible hair is a side effect of being a sweat enthusiast?)

Last night I ran my Sunday long run to get it off my plate. We are planning to stay out late on Saturday night at a wedding and then go for a hike the next day.

My new friend Melanie (who also humours me by reading this blog!) and I met at the Running Room and headed out for 7K together. I’ve never “run the bridges” in Fredericton before but it was a great route and went by quickly thanks to the good conversation.

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After snapping a photo together, I finished three more kilometres on my own to make it an even 10K for the evening.

Cheers to everyone taking a rest day today, and I hope you have a great weekend.

I Don’t Want To Talk About My Weight

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Out of all the most touchy topics of conversation out there: religion, politics — there is one I hate the most. Weight.

That might surprise you, or it might not, considering I am a twenty-something female of the Western world.

I started this blog two-and-a-half years ago when I was at the tail end of my weight-loss journey. That part I don’t mind talking about. I lost 55 pounds in a little less than a year and then happily closed that chapter of my life. Or so I thought.

I quickly discovered that weight-loss maintenance was harder than losing the weight in the first place. There is a reason why I avoided the scale for about ten years — from middle school through university. Facing the facts is tough and trying to avoid gaining weight each week is even tougher.

I recently broke up with the scale during marathon-training season, and again this summer, because it’s not where I wanted to focus my energy.

But I also didn’t want to let myself go too far backward. Five pounds here, five pounds there — it creeps up on you. I see it all the time. You cannot tell someone who was once overweight, borderline obese, that they should completely ignore how much they weigh from now until the end of time. So I had a dilemma.

When I got on the scale at the end of August and saw I had gained ten pounds from my goal weight and 15 pounds from my lowest weight a few years ago, I signed up for Weight Watchers again. It was a simple decision.

Today, four weeks later, I sat at the kitchen table at breakfast and whined to my husband about what the scale said this morning during my weekly weigh-in. The biggest cause of my frustration was that I didn’t want to be that upset about a number on a scale. I don’t want to be that type of person who worries constantly about weight loss.

“I guarantee the pioneers didn’t complain to their husbands about a number on a scale. They just focused on living,” I mumbled into my oatmeal.

I love working out. I love cooking healthy meals. I love finding motivation from others, and sharing my own healthy tips (I started a new Instagram account for this purpose if you’d like to follow me there). I also love eating french fries. Drinking beer. Devouring cheese. Laying on the couch.

On the flip side, I hate not fitting into my wardrobe. I hate feeling heavier while running. I hate being depressed.

I don’t want to talk about my weight. To my husband at the breakfast table, to my blog readers, to myself in my own head. But I do want to be as healthy as I can be.

And if anyone can figure out how to find that elusive balance, please let me know.

Trying Something New

I spent my summer relishing in a slower pace and taking a break from my tendency over the past few years to keep trying to push out of my comfort zone.

September felt like the start of a new year, however, and I’m slowly starting to set new goals and try to see what more I am capable of.

This morning I set my alarm for 5:45 to get up for my first swim practice. I am not a morning person: I repeat, I am NOT a morning person.

Our master bedroom/bathroom has two skylights = hazy photo of me in a bathing suit from high school that is over ten years old.

Our master bedroom/bathroom has two skylights = hazy photo of me in a bathing suit from high school that is over ten years old.

But, for some reason, I do plan to go to swim practice at least two mornings a week for the next several months.

When the -30 degree Celsius weather hits, I’m sure you’ll hear from me about how much I regret this decision. Going outside and getting in the car is the worst part.

I was a competitive swimmer in elementary school, a summer swim team member in middle school, and a swim instructor in high school. Since then, I’ve gone to lap swim off and on.

Swimming for an hour is a hard workout, but when you’re doing it it’s easy to get “in the zone” and forget you’re in a pool. You don’t even notice you’re sweating because, well, you’re in a giant body of water.

After I get out and make my way into the locker room I usually realize how tuckered out I am, but while I’m swimming I don’t feel as uncomfortable and panicky as I sometimes do during a run. It’s the best of both worlds.

And here’s my favourite part: it’s really difficult to become injured while swimming. I’m naturally a pretty weak person and have to work really hard to stay strong and injury-free. I don’t plan to run five days a week outside this winter, as I have in the past. Swimming is going to be great cross-training to add in with a few runs a week and some strength training.

Today I swam a total of 2 kilometres. The total workout was 2.5 kilometres but we had an opening talk from the coach at the beginning so our time was cut a bit short.

Training for my 10K race at Legs for Literacy is coming along — only six weeks to go now! I ran a full 10 kilometres with my parents on Sunday morning. It was my longest distance since June.

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At first I was nervous to go with them — they are plenty faster than me! — but I made myself get out of bed and join them. I’ve sort of been lollygagging along for the past few months, running shorter distances and taking walk breaks. On this run I didn’t walk once and tried to push the pace at the end.

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There were a ton of hills, and I felt like puking at the end. I was disappointed at first to be a full six minutes away from my PR, but I’ll take it for now. There’s still time to improve before race day and I’ll set my goals a little closer to that time.

What Is Happening To Me?

I’m a registration beast, lately. I’ve signed up for three races in the past week!

As I mentioned before, I usually only do a handful of races each year. I have a small collection of medals compared to some of my runner friends who have racks dripping with them. I’ve been running for just over three years and have been focusing that whole time on diligently progressing from 5K to full marathon. That meant I only signed up for races that fit into my plan.

These days I’m feeling a lot more relaxed about running (and apparently about my budget — registration and travel ain’t cheap!). I set a new, fun goal of running each major distance in 2014.

According to my 10K training plan, I’m supposed to race a 5K on the weekend of September 27. Normally I’d just ignore that because I’m not in PR shape right now — and 5Ks hurt! But I did some research and found a race in Nova Scotia, very close to where my husband works. Since he’s working that weekend I’ll be able to complete my 5K race for 2014 and sneak in a visit with him.

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Here’s another out-of-my-comfort-zone move I made recently: I joined the swim team! I’m going to be swimming with the masters club two or three times a week.

From my try-a-tri in 2012 -- the only triathlon I've ever done.

From my try-a-tri in 2012 — the only triathlon I’ve ever done.

You can’t tell from my scared face but I actually love swimming!

As I’ve learned this year, my body works best with a variety of fitness so I’m looking forward to getting in the pool this winter instead of slogging it out on the icy/snowy roads five times a week.

Plus, I would love for 2015 to be the year of the sprint triathlon for me. We’ll see!

Last Night’s Run

Running never ceases to surprise me. Even when I think I have it all figured it out, I’m reminded that I’m not even close.

Yesterday evening I was not feeling like running. I only had 2.5 miles on the schedule but I was already making excuses by the time I got home from work. I was feeling sore from my yoga/pilates class the night before — but that’s nothing new, because I’m literally sore every moment of my life.

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I should probably look into buying this shirt.

I made supper from my new Oh She Glows cookbook and said goodbye to my husband who is off to work for five days.

Quick and Easy Chana Masala

Quick and Easy Chana Masala

Then I cleaned up … did some food prep … went on the Internet … you know how it goes.

I eventually forced myself to put on my running clothes but that didn’t change much. I convinced myself I had a stomachache. I thought about decorating for fall. I thought about decorating for Christmas!

I eventually forced myself out the door, all the while saying “I hate running” in my head.

But as soon as my feet hit the pavement, I knew it would be a good run. My mood changed. The temperature was perfect. These September nights are blissful for running. 

Out on the trail I ran into some of the people I used to train with at Running Room. They gave me high fives and kind words. Then I saw a man on a bench who yelled “You make it look so easy!” to me. What a compliment! It never feels easy to me, but last night it was definitely enjoyable.

My water bottle has the name of the 5K fun run they did on The Office. I love that show!

My water bottle has the name of the 5K fun run they did on The Office. I love that show!

 I ended up running almost 4 miles instead of the 2.5 miles I needed to do, and I felt great for the rest of the night.

Let this blog post serve as a reminder that, as long as I’m not injured, I will never regret a run. 

Quality Over Quantity: 10K Training Begins

I’m training for something again! It feels a little strange since it’s been over three months since I followed any sort of formal training plan.

When I signed up for the Legs for Literacy 10K last week I knew I would need to find some sort of program to follow. I’ve run three 10K races before, and I have no grand plans of glory or redemption at this race, but I knew I would be stressed if I winged my training. I work better when I have a (paper — I’m old school) schedule to look at. It makes me feel calmer when the race gets closer to look back at a record of the work I’ve done. 

That being said, I decided to look for a plan that incorporated my current running philosophy:

1. Run less and finish faster … choose quality runs over quantity. 

2. Stay relaxed and keep it enjoyable.

3. Strengthen the body to avoid injury.

4. Maintenance: Keep up with proper stretching, physio exercises, foam rolling and fueling. 

I decided to choose Hal Higdon’s 10K Training Program for novice runners and change the Sunday long runs to be just a touch longer. Even though I’m technically a marathoner, I’m still very much a novice when it comes to running. I have a lot to learn. The novice program is eight weeks long and includes three runs a week and six total workouts. It’s the perfect combination for me. 

Here’s what I did this week:

Monday: 6K run followed by a yoga for runners video.

Tuesday: Stretch and strengthen: went to Centergy class at my gym, which is a combination of yoga and pilates.

Wednesday: The plan called for 30 minutes of cross-training and I had a busy night of errands to run, so I hitched a ride to the mall and walked the four kilometres home.

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: Two miles on the treadmill at a 1.0 incline followed by a strength workout that focused on arms, core and a tiny bit of legs.

Saturday: Forty minutes of cross-training on the spin bike.

Sunday: Four miles on the trail. 

So that’s one week down and seven to go … I probably won’t post my training every week but the program stays pretty consistent except for the Sunday runs, which get longer. 

In other racing news: I signed up for Ottawa Race Weekend next May! This will be my third time travelling to this event and my third distance. In 2013 I ran the 10K, in 2014 I ran the full marathon, and this year I will be tackling the half-marathon. 

Hello September!

I had such an awesome Labour Day weekend. I feel like I’ve finally hit that sweet spot in life when I feel like I have most things under control.

Here are a few things we did:

Cooked from my new vegan cookbook — an impulse buy at Chapters.

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Celebrated my parents’ 33rd wedding anniversary. They’ve been together since junior high!

 

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Hiked out to a waterfall (and got lost, making the hike a little longer than expected). The refreshing swim was worth it!

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We also finally finished putting together our new apartment in the way that we want. I’m able to make a lot healthier choices when my living space is organized. I find myself cooking more meals from scratch and feeling motivated to workout.

One of my favourite new spaces is our spare bedroom. We got rid of the spare bed that we had in our old place and it’s now a little office with room for my yoga mat, weights and foam roller. Sorry guests … fitness won this round. 

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I love yoga for stretching and strengthening purposes and lately I’ve been throwing on a YouTube video after I come back from a run. Now that I’m running shorter distances I actually have the energy to recover properly when I get back home. When I was marathon training it was all I could do to get out of my sweaty clothing and collapse on the couch after a run.

This weekend I tried this video for the first time, created by Lululemon for Seawheeze participants. The Seawheeze half-marathon is at the very top of my race bucket list … someday I will get there!

And one more thing — i signed up for a race! I’ve only done two races this year. I’m usually pretty stingy about races, both because of the cost and because I can be pretty hard on myself about my performance. I don’t like to “race” unless I can get a personal best. 

Well, after tonight’s run I decided that was silly. I’ve really been enjoying running my short, Garmin-free distances lately so I bit the bullet and signed up for the 10K at Legs for literacy in Moncton.

If I can also squeeze in a 5K race — a Santa Shuffle, maybe — before the end of the year that will mean I’ve done all of the major distances in 2014. Now that’s a goal I can enjoy working toward.