Sunday, 24 September 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 12

I've been starting to feel a lot better in my hip.  Good thing too, since I had a race this weekend! I went back to Ottawa for my fourth Army Run. For their tenth anniversary this year they did a 10k as well as their regular 5k and half marathon, which I have been very excited for, as Army Run is always a great event.

Here's what I got up to this week:

Monday: Joined Lululemon again, and with them ran up to Bond Running to meet them on the first day of their new training program. They had a track workout on the schedule which some Lulu runners stayed for, but I didn't want to push my luck so I headed back to the store. Once home I did about an hour's worth of stretching and foam rolling. [4.4 km | 26:41 | 6:02/km]

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: Physio. I skipped my evening run to have dinner with some girlfriends at Sabai Sabai (totally worth it).

Thursday: Chiro, plus a short run home afterward and Yoga for Runners: Post-Run with Fiji McAlpine as a cool-down. [4.5 km | 27:50 | 6:11/km]

Friday: REST

Saturday: Flow class at Elevate, plus LOTS of walking around town since my brother was out of town with my parents' car.

Sunday: Race day! It was HOT. I knew I wasn't going to PB and that I probably wasn't going to have as good a race as I did in Tremblant, so I set my goal at sub-60 minutes. And I did it! My official time was 59:55. Once I finished I walked backwards along the course to find my parents, who were walking the 10k, and then my dad took off for a running finish and I walked with my mom for a bit. Then I found my run crew and stood around for over an hour cheering on the half marathoners before walking home. [10 km | 59:57 | 5:57/km]



Saturday, 23 September 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 11

Another week very light on the training. I did some running where I could and focused on stretching and foam rolling afterwards, but didn't put in any cross training.

Monday: Clem and I spent part of Labour Day at his parents' place in Mississauga eating our weight in barbecue, so I was happy as a clam to put in a run with Lululemon's Queen Street Run Crew. It was rainy, and I was conscious of keeping my pace slower than usual. I followed it up with Yoga Moves for Runners and my physio exercises. [5.2 km | 32:35 | 6:13/km]

Tuesday: REST

Wednesday: Physio.

Thursday: Chiro.

Friday: REST. Unless you count speed-walking from my office to Union Station to catch a train to Ottawa for the weekend.

Saturday: REST, but we had family friends visiting in Ottawa so there was a lot of walking and sight-seeing.

Sunday: Finally did a long-ish run! Managed to get in one of my favourite loops of the Rideau Canal before another full day of sightseeing and a train back to Toronto. [9.5 km | 1:01:21 | 6:25/km]



Friday, 15 September 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 10

Did this instead of training. I'm not even mad.

Ten weeks into training, and only 7 more weeks til the STWM Half Marathon! My hip problems caused me to have a very slow August, but I've made some great progress with my chiropractor and have started seeing a physiotherapist as well, so I'm hoping September will be good to me.
Here's what I got up to this week:

Monday: REST

Tuesday: Chiro

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: Chiro

Friday: REST

Saturday: Had an initial assessment with a physiotherapist at the same clinic I got to for chiropractic. We're going to work on deep core strength and deep glute strength, which will hopefully help be become a better runner while at the same time keeping any injuries at bay. After physio I went on a slow run to test the waters and then did some stretching with 9 Way to Stretch Your Hip Flexors. [6.2 km | 40:08 | 6:28/km]

Sunday: 18 Moves to Tone Your Butt, Thighs, and Legs. This went hand-in-hand with a lot of the work my chiropractor and physiotherapist are having me do, and man oh man was I ever aware of my glute medius afterwards.



Monday, 4 September 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 9

Credit: Tribe Fitness
Another slow week in terms of activity and mileage, but I'm making great progress with my hip through chiropractic, and I don't want to mess that up by getting back on the horse too soon. I'm also taking the time to enjoy what's left of summer, so if I want to have a drink on a patio or go get ice cream instead of doing a core workout, guess which one I'm going to pick!

Here's what I got up to:

Monday: REST

Tuesday: Chiro

Wednesday: Tribe Crew Run to the CNE. I had some minor discomfort in my hip at the beginning of this short run, which reminded me to pull back on my pace. We finished at the CNE and promptly negated any calories burned running by eating some of the weirdest food on offer. [5.8 km | 31:32 | 5:24/km] <- I'm sure Strava is lying to me with this, I can't even go that fast on a good day.

Thursday: Chiro

Friday: REST

Saturday: Abs, chest, & legs workout plus a variety of hip-opening stretches. The circuit was just challenging enough for what I needed, and boy did I feel the burn in my abs after.

Sunday: The last Tribe Yoga Jam of the summer! Two months has blown by, and I can't wait for winter Yoga Jam to get up and running.



Sunday, 3 September 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 8

On the advice of my chiropractor, I cut way back on running after my 10k in Mont Tremblant. And as it turns out - when my running routine goes out the window, so does my cross-training routine. Throw in a cottage weekend and a busy work week, and I only managed to be active for three days this week.

Here's what I got up to:

Monday: 45 minute Go With The Flow yoga at Elevate. Took the day off work so I wouldn't have to rush home from Tremblant post-race on Sunday morning. My flight back to Toronto wasn't until the evening, so I snuck in a yoga practice at my old studio in Ottawa.

Tuesday: REST. This was our office summer party, so I chose to spend time getting to know my colleagues outside the office context.

Wednesday: Chiro & A Dynamic Yoga Sequence to Help You Build a Stronger Body

Thursday: Chiro, which I really shouldn't have done two days in a row, but there was no way I could have squeezed in a second session on any other day.

Friday: REST

Saturday: 8.6k run near my friend's cottage on Lake Simcoe. I ran over to Sibbald Point Provincial Park and spent some time on the trails. I slowed way down so I wouldn't trip over any rogue roots and to let some mountain bikes pass, and took a few minutes to just enjoy hearing nothing but some birds and the wind through the trees. I'd hoped to get up to 10k, but was happy with the distance I managed and had very little hip pain afterward. [8.6 km | 57:56 | 6:43/km]

Sunday: REST



Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 7

This was another light week; my anxiety was still slowing me down, and with a race at the end of the week I didn't want to push my hip too much.

Monday: Decided against running and instead did a Full Body Circuit, plus some strengthening yoga with Yoga Poses That Burn Fat.

Tuesday: A very challenging ladder workout at the track with NTRC. I forgot my watch at home so I have no clue how long and how fast I was running, and my distance was guesstimated from adding up the drills we did. [9.6 km]

Wednesday: REST. My poor hip got a beating at the track, so I took the evening off.

Thursday: REST. A long and challenging day at work zapped my energy and motivation, but I did get in some light stretching and foam rolling.

Friday: REST. Finally saw a chiropractor about my hip, so we did a full assessment, including some exercises and a tiny targeted massage. Went straight from the clinic to the airport and then went to bed as soon as I got to my parents' place in Ottawa.

Saturday: Drove up to the cottage in the Laurentians where I was staying with a crew of OCRC friends and a few dogs for our racers in Mont Tremblant. We went swimming in the lake and I spent most of the time paddling around, but I definitely got my heart pumping by chasing balls with dogs and treading water for a while. I ended the evening with some hip opening stretches beside the roaring fire.

Sunday: Race Day at the Demi-Marathon de Mont-Tremblant 10k! It was a hot one, but I ran better than I thought I would. I'm planning on doing a post soon, so stay tuned! [10 km | 58:55 | 5.52/km]



Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Race Recap: Race Roster Spring Run Off 8km

My first race of the 2017 season was at the beginning of April, and boy was it a great one to start off with.

I first noticed the race on Instagram last year, and it looked like such such an amazing event that I knew I wanted to participate this year (which happened to be the 40th anniversary of the event).  The event offers a 5k and an 8k course, as well as an 800m kids run. With Ragnar on the horizon at that point, I chose to do the 8k - I really need to put in all the kilometres I can leading up to May.  I'd also never raced 8k before, so I was interested in the challenge.

Online registration through Race Roster was a breeze, as usual, as was kit pickup at The Runners Shop.

The morning of the race Clem and I got up and I had my standard breakfast (whole grain toast with peanut butter and banana) and we TTC'd over to High Park.  It was COLD so I was very glad Clem was there with a backpack so I he could hold my many layers that I peeled off right before the race started. But even though it was cold, the sun was shining, and once we got moving it was pretty perfect weather for racing. Right before the race started the race organizers held a minute of silence to honour Ed Whitlock, which was really touching.

Nabbed some Ragnar swag

The 8k route looped around itself within High Park, and finished at the top of a lo-o-o-o-ong hill on Spring Road before it meets Colbourne Lodge Drive just south of Bloor.  The course was hilly enough to be challenging, but not so intense that I felt uncomfortable during the race.  Joining Tribe for some of their Monday night hill workouts was also very helpful  for strengthening my legs and helping me become more conscious of my form as I tackle hills.  I also really enjoyed that the race created the Kill The Hill challenge out of that long hill towards the finish line: there is a timing mat at the bottom of the hill that tracks how long it takes runners to get from the bottom of the hill to the finish line at the top, with the fastest hill conquerers being awarded prizes.  I definitely did not come anywhere close to winning anything, but I did get fired up as I crossed the timing mat and pushed myself up that hill as fast as I could go.  It was very hard (trying-not-to-puke hard), but it was a cool way to end a race, and was different from my usual MO of suddenly finding the energy to sprint across a finish line.

Almost at the top of the hill!
Check out that pain face

Clem had his bike at the park so I got to see him a few times on the course, along with so many awesome people from the Toronto running community (Night Terrors, Tribe, and Run TO Beer, I'm looking at you guys!).  Hearing people cheering for you, even if they are complete strangers, makes all the difference in my mood during a race.

Once I crossed the finish line I picked up my medal and some PowerBar samples, and met Clem for a high five and a sweaty hug.  We picked up some food provided by CRS, juice samples from Oasis, and some Tim Hortons coupons, and then I made Clem take several post-race photos of me, like any good Instagram-husband should.

After a while we made our way back down the Spring Road hill, cheering 8k runners still on their way up, and around to Deer Pen Road, where we saw the speedy first pack of 5k racers blasting through the course.  The two of us then went to the High Park Zoo to see the famous capybaras and their new babies.  I can't recall ever having been to the High Park Zoo before, so I was pretty psyched to check it out on such a gorgeous day (and to walk off the lactic acid!).  We watched the capybaras for a while, fed some llamas (a $2 donation to the Zoo gets you a small bowl of food), pet some crazy soft bunnies, and had some small talk with the Mayor who had been there feeding the baby capybaras breakfast and stuck around to chat with constituents.

Eventually we headed back to the race area, where hordes of children had just finished their run and were excitedly chattering to parents and pals, and showing off their medals.  My ovaries had a moment (don't tell my in-laws).

Henderson Brewing Co. was hosting a post-race party and since the weather was so great Clem and I decided to walk over, which only took about half an hour.  Runners got a free pint of the Food Truck Ale, which was delicious. We didn't stay for long though, because we were both getting hangry, so we walked over to Roncesvalles and had brunch at The Ace before heading home again.

All in all, an excellent day.  The weather was great, I really liked the course, and registration was very reasonably priced.  My race photos are terrible (as usual), but I bought them anyway (as usual).  My official race time was 47:38, just under my goal of 48 minutes (based on my average pace for a 10k).  My iTab arrived in the mail soon after the race, so I've stuck it to the back of my medal - it's a cool add-on that is guaranteed to get $10 out of me every time I run a race that has them for purchase.

I had a great day, and definitely plan on racing Spring Run Off again!



Monday, 7 August 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 6

The driftwood sculpture by local artists and Thelia Sanders-Shelton and Julie Ryan.
My anxiety has been a little out of control this week, and it definitely affected my training a little bit. Hopefully this long weekend will give me the recharge I need.

Here's what I got up to this week:

Monday: REST. Frankly, I was tired and cranky and I just didn't feel like running.

Tuesday: Track with NTRC. We did a challenging yasso workout, so a lot of work went into maintaining a quick pace over 800m five times, and recovery time was a slow jog/quick walk to keep the body moving the whole time. I'm still one of the slower runners at the track, but I'm really glad I'm going and putting in the work. If it's not hard, it won't help me get faster. Plus, I need to earn the tacos and margaritas we have after. [7.6 km | 39:41 | 5:13/km]

Wednesday: Tribe crew 5k and social. My hip was pretty achey and the humidity was awful, but I still managed a pretty good time. We finished at The Pint on Front for beers and 40 cent wings, and we were all so sweaty when we walked in the waitress asked if it was raining outside. [4.4 km | 25:06 | 5:38/km]

Thursday: REST. I took a nap instead.

Friday: Lululemon Community Yoga. The class wasn't super challenging and it didn't help me get out of my head, but I'm glad I went and at least tried to make myself feel better.

Saturday: I had 18k in the books for my long run this weekend, so I decided to go West along the Lake to the Toronto driftwood sculpture in Humber Bay Park. It was a challenging run between bursts of rain, lots of wind, and dodging Caribana revellers, but I made much better time than last week's long run, and the temperature was very agreeable for the first time in a while. [18.1 km | 1:58:16 | 6:32/km]

Sunday: Skipped Tribe Yoga Jam to watch the IAAF Worlds Women's Marathon happening in London, and instead did a three-fer of exercises in my living room: Tiffany Rothe's Bikini Abs Workout, which didn't make me feel much but was a nice change from floor-based ab workouts, 8 Stretches To Energize Your Morning to stretch out some crunchy spots, and finished with a Hip-Opening Sequence to get into my troublesome right hip.

On to Week 7, which will finish with my first race of this training cycle - I'm heading to Tremblant with some OCRC folks to run a 10k. It's supposed to be a slightly hilly course with a net downhill, so it will be a good way to look at where I am in my training.



Sunday, 30 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 5

I missed a couple runs this week, so I did some extra bodyweight workouts instead.

Here's what I got up to this week:

Monday: REST. Instead of my usual date with Lululemon Run Crew, I had dinner with a crew of girlfriends (we have pizza together once a month - this time we went to Terroni and it was so worth missing a run).

Tuesday: Back to the track with NTRC. We did shuttle sprints, a couple 400m warmups, and then focused on fast 800m intervals. I was wiped by the end, but it felt good to be pushed since there is no way I would do an effective track workout on my own. After the workout some of us when to Hacienda Las Americas for tacos, and I really enjoyed getting to know some of the crew. [8.1 km | 39:12 | 4:50/km]

Wednesday: Instead of my usual 5km with Tribe, I went with NTRC out to a New Balance & Canada Running Series event at Eastbound Brewing in Leslieville. We demoed some new shoes (I had a go in the FuelCore Sonic, which were strange at first but I ended up really liking them; they had a slightly different feel that the FuelCell I tried a couple weeks ago, but would still be a great go-to for a speed shoe as opposed to a distance shoe), and did a muggy run through the neighbourhood. It was awesome to hang out with runners from so many different Toronto crews, try some rad new shoes, and taste some local beer. [4.7 km | 29:25 | 6:14/km]

Thursday: I couldn't bear the thought of doing 11k in the heat, so I decided to do a core workout instead. I did the At-Home Bodyweight Core Workout from Pumps & Iron, and in exchange for 15 minutes of targeted ab work, I had that hurts-so-good ab burn for the next day-ish.

Friday: Pretty much immediately after work I met up with Jess to head up to Yorkdale to check out NikeWomen's Brahaus. We got complimentary hair braiding and matcha lattes as well as a bra fitting, but sadly I just do not have a body type that suits Nike sports bras. By the time we extricated ourselves from the maze that is Yorkdale and made it back home, it was 10pm, so I did some stretching and foam rolling before calling it a night.

Saturday: Just like last week, I failed to wake up and do my long run before the sun started to really bear down on the city. I did 16 scorching and miserable kilometres, and didn't even have the energy to be glad about finishing it. This is the slowest I have run in a long, long time, and I'm pretty annoyed about it. I was down for the count for pretty much the rest of the day, so hopefully this is my lesson to get my ass out of bed at a reasonable hour for the 18k I have planned next week. [16.1 km | 1:58:47 | 7:22/km]

Sunday: Started off the day at Tribe Yoga Jam as usual, and Aylin was back doing braids which I obviously was all over. It was a hot hot hot morning so I spent most of the rest of the day planted beside my fan at home. In the evening I wandered down to Lululemon for Tribe Roll Out, which I hoped would help out my poor right hip - it did, a bit, but I should probably just bite the bullet and get a massage or a chiropractic treatment soon to prevent it from getting any worse.

On to Week 6.

xx, C.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 4

Mid-run traffic jam

My hip was a bit better this week, but still not awesome. I've been doing lots of stretching to try and work it out, which has helped keep the sharp pain at bay.

Here's what I got up to this week:

Monday: Lululemon Run Crew.  I somehow found myself in the fast pack and struggled to keep up for a bit, but managed to catch up and hang on for the second half of the route. After we made it back to the store we did a few sprints on Bulwer Street, which helped stretch the hips out a little; maybe I should go back to doing strides at the end of my runs. [4.7 km | 28:41 | 6:04/km]

Tuesday: REST. I had been hoping to go to the track with NTRC, but my hip was feeling really sore and I didn't want to aggravate it. I also moved into a new position at work this week and I spent a lot of brain energy taking in as much information as I could during the day, so I took the evening to veg.

Wednesday: Joined Tribe for their crew run, as usual. We did a pretty quick route East along Front to Jarvis and then back along the MGT, finishing up the hill towards Spadina and Bremner. We stopped to take a group photo at the new dog fountain in Berczy Park, which is super cute. Definitely going to go back and have a closer look. [5.5 km | 31:40 | 5:41/km]

Thursday: I decided on Thursday to break up my 9k by joining Bond Running for their evening 5k (weekdays at 6:30pm), and then following it up with a solo 4k. I showed up a couple minutes late to an empty store and was worried everyone had left without me, or I had the time wrong. Nope! Turns out I was the only one who showed up... Talk about awkward. I ended up heading out anyway with the guy leading the run that day, and we did a super quick (and INTENSELY HUMID) 5k up through the Annex. Once we got back to the store I chugged some electrolytes they'd put out, and ran the remaining 4k of the evening through the Entertainment and Financial Districts, miraculously without dropping my pace too far. [9.6 km | 55:22 | 5:43/km]

Friday: Fridays are a cross training day for me, and I opted for some yoga instead of a more intense workout because I just felt tired and needed some gentler movements. I went back to Community Yoga at Lululemon for the first time in a few weeks, and had a great hour of Vinyasa practice; the perfect mix of challenging and relaxing.

Saturday: My long run Plan A was to join NTRC for 15k at 7:15am to beat the heat. Didn't happen. Plan B was to join the PDRR Ladies at 9am and then run home after if I still needed to make up a few kilometres. Didn't happen. I guess I just really needed to sleep in, and by the time I eventually crawled out or bed, had breakfast, got dressed, and was out the door, it was almost 11am. Luckily it was an overcast day so I didn't have the sun beating down on me, but it was still pretty humid. Ran a nice square route West towards High Park, down to the lake, then back up Spadina and finishing at King. I had one water bottle with me, but thank God there were multiple water fountains along the way since I needed to refill fairly often. I was hoping I could go longer without breaking out my FuelBelt, but with these long summer runs I don't want to get stranded with an empty water bottle and no fountain in sight. [14.3 km | 1:30:05 | 6:18/km]

Sunday: Tribe Yoga Jam. It was overcast, warm but not hot, and I finally found a fairly flat spot for my mat! I had a really good practice today, and even though I wasn't terribly active or productive for most of the rest of the day, I'm glad I still took the time to hang out with other people this morning, if only for an hour.

On to Week Five! Hoping to get back to the track this week.

xx, C.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 3

Braids and yoga with my gal Jess

Week 3! This week was tough from a motivation standpoint.  I was VERY sore, feeling borderline injured, after Tuesday, and it definitely translated into my lack of mileage this week.  It's still early days in this training cycle though, so I am not worried.

Here's what I got up to this week:

Monday: We had a long and tiring day at work, and the last thing I wanted to do was speedwalk home, quickly change, and then head down to Lululemon for a run, no matter how short it was going to be.  Instead, I unrolled my yoga mat in my living room and did Target Practice from Fitness Magazine.  I didn't feel this workout as much as I thought I would, but at least I was moving and strengthening something.

Tuesday: I joined NTRC at the track (Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Central Tech) and had my butt kicked. It was hot, and I was way out of shape for any kind of track workout, let alone the difficult one we did.  About 3/4 of the way through I started to feel some twinges in my left knee and right hip so I sat out a couple laps, and eventually hobbled home.  I'm not used to the springiness of the track, so hopefully I'll build that up this summer. [7.8 km | 34:46 | 4:25/km]

Wednesday: I was incredibly sore all day from Tuesday's track workout, but I still joined Tribe's Crew Run because they were doing a trial with New Balance's new FuelCELL shoes! We went out to Cherry Street and back, and had I not been so sore I think I could have really picked up the pace in these shoes since the route was so flat.  The shoes are nice and light but still have enough cushioning that I didn't feel as if I was running directly on the pavement; I would definitely look into these for a track shoe/speed work option. [4.8 km | 26:02 | 5:20/km]

Thursday: I decided not to do my planned 8k in favour of doing some foam rolling and getting into my quads and hamstrings with my trusty lacrosse balls. I was still feeling pretty sore, and I definitely don't want to get injured this early in the game.

Friday: REST.  This week felt like it took forever, so I wanted nothing more come 5pm on Friday than to curl up in bed with Netflix.

Saturday: I decided to switch my long run days to Saturdays so I'm not rushed to get my kilometres in before yoga on Sunday mornings.  I ran through the new Trillium Park for the first time, and was super impressed!  It wasn't very busy, probably because it was still fairly early when I went by, but it has such beautiful views of the islands and of the city I would love to take a bike ride down there and have a picnic by the water.  I'll definitely include this on more of my long runs. [11.3 km | 1:10:10 | 6:10/km]

Sunday: I got up early and headed down to Tribe Yoga Jam early for Aylin's braid bar.  I am TERRIBLE at my own hair and have a grand total of five hairstyles I can do (two of which are a ponytail and a messy bun), so I was thrilled to get a sweet little braid crown done. It kept my hair out of my eyes during the sweaty yoga practice, and I felt so pretty I kept it in all day.  Today's yoga practice really worked on our arms, which I am definitely going to feel tomorrow.

On to Week Four!  Hopefully I won't feel so pitiful this week.

xx, C.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 2

Brand new Mizuno Wave Rider 20s (also wearing my Lululemon Final Lap shorts)

Week Two of half marathon training in the books.  Here's what I got up to:

Monday: We drove back from Ottawa on Monday, but I was able to squeeze in a small yoga practice at home. Yoga for Relaxation, 20 Minute Beginners Home Stretch Routine - Pain Relief Flexibility How to Relax was just what I needed after spending most of the day in the car.

Tuesday: I biked to and from work, for a whopping 3.4 km. Clem and I ended up going to the theatre at the last minute, so I skipped the track workout I was going to do with NTRC.

Wednesday: Biked a total 8.3 km in four segments (to and from work, to and from CityPlace). Ran with Tribe, and ended up at The Rec Room for some drinks. This was my first run with new shoes that I got on Monday from Black Toe Running, and if I can manage my time right I'll do a separate post about the shoes and my first impressions. [5 km | 29:26 | 5:53/km]

Thursday: Got home from work and busted out a slow 7 km up through the Annex, ending in Harbord Village on my way to the grocery store (two birds with one stone, am I right??). [7 km | 45:45 | 6:31/km]

Friday: I did the tiniest core/full body circuit workout known to man, which I got off Instagram from Ottawa-based personal trainer Mia St-Aubin.

Saturday: I slept waaaaaaay in and ended up doing a sweaty 5k in the middle of the day, a shorter version of the 7k route I did on Thursday. [5.3 km | 32:39 | 6:08/km]

Sunday: I was supposed to do a 10k, but I gave myself too little time and cut it short to 8k so I could make it to Tribe Yoga Jam on time.  It sprinkled during my run and during yoga, but the overcast weather was a nice change from the ultra sunny and humid runs I had on Thursday and Saturday. Once I grabbed my mat from home and raced down to Canoe Landing Park I settled in to an hour of outdoor yoga.  It's always awesome to stretch everything out after pounding the pavement, and I felt great after knowing I'd put in two workouts before noon. [8 km | 48:58 | 6:06/km]

On to Week Three!

xx, C.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 1

Sunday at Champlain Lookout

Last week was my first week of training for the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, which I'm running for the second time at the end of October.  I finished the race last year with a time of 2:15:09, and this year I'd really like to get myself under that 2:15:00 threshold and as close to 2:10:00 as I can.

For training I am obviously going to be doing a lot of running with the different run crews Toronto has to offer.  I'm also going to cross train at least once a week, and do yoga at least once a week (even if it's just a few quick poses before bed).  I'm going to try not to pressure myself too hard - I will put in the work, and if I really need an extra rest day, I will take it.

Here's what I got up to this first week:

Monday: Lululemon Run Crew (Mondays at 6:30 pm, 318 Queen St. W).  We did a speedy loop up through Chinatown to Harbord, and back down through Kensington to Queen.  It was a lot hotter than I expected, but it felt awesome to get my legs moving after taking a week off from running following the Toronto Waterfront 10k. [3.86 km | 23:00.01 | 5:58/km]

Tuesday: Pilates Butt Burner Full 30 minute workout - eFit30. I pulled this YouTube workout from my Pinterest (probably where most of my at-home workouts will come from - I am really bad about pinning things and then never doing them, so now is my chance to work through my exercise board!). I want to strengthen my glutes so they can propel me better when I'm running, helping me go that much faster. This workout did a lot of work in the gluteus medius, which is a muscle that doesn't get worked through running alone, but when it is strong it helps stabilize the glute structure and can prevent injury (allegedly...I am by no means a professional). I found it hard to stabilize in the core in a lot of the movements, probably because my core muscles are so weak.

Wednesday: I biked to and from work, then to and from CityPlace, for a total of 10 km of urban biking for the day. I am slowly getting back into urban biking in Toronto on my beautiful but rickety 1974 Raleigh Sports.  In the evening I joined Tribe for their 5km Crew Run (Wednesdays at 7 pm, NW corner of Spadina and Fort York); we went up Portland to Queen, across to Strachan, and back down to Fleet Street and across Fort York Boulevard.  I really look forward to Wednesdays with this crew! [5.06 km | 28:07.9 | 5:34/km]7

Thursday: The 8-Minute Better Back Workout. I took much longer than eight minutes to move through the five poses, but it felt great to relax into them.

Friday: Off - I left work early and drove to Ottawa, which took us seven hours thanks to long weekend traffic.  All I wanted to do when I got to my parents' place was have a glass of wine and go to sleep, which is exactly what I did.

Saturday: Off - Canada Day! No formal exercise, but we walked around town pretty much all day. Ask my granny hips about it.

Sunday: Hiking in Gatineau Park.  We drove up to Pink Lake and started the loop counter-clockwise from the lookout rather than from the parking lot.  The 2.5 km loop took us a little over an hour and a half, with lots of stops to sit on rocks, chat, and look for frogs, fish, and turtles.  A nice easy hike on a beautiful day.  After finishing up at Pink Lake we drove up to the Champlain Lookout and went about 400 m down the loop beside the lookout before turning back to the car.  Then we went for ice cream at La Cigale in Old Chelsea, because I lead a balanced lifestyle.

Week One down!  It's gonna be a long, sweaty summer.

xx, C.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Caroline vs. The Best Laid Plans & The High Road

The Best Laid Plans & The High Road
(sidenote: WOW this has been sitting in my drafts for a while.  I'm trying to get back into writing regularly...please bear with me while I work through the backlog!)

Like a lot of Ottawans and other Canadians interested in political satire, I tuned into the CBC miniseries The Best Laid Plans when it aired in early 2014.  Unfortunately the show wasn't very successful and was not renewed for a second season, but the novel upon which it was based continues to be popular among politicos.  I actually met Terry Fallis while the miniseries was airing, and had him sign a couple books for me and Clem, and corresponded with him throughout the spring after DHL lost the books en route to Clem in Berlin, but it took me until this autumn to actually read his first two novels.  Canada geared up for a pretty important election that happened in October 2015, and I figured the record-breaking campaign would be as good a time as any to read some political satire based in my own home town.

Both novels are really partisan in favour of the Liberal Party of Canada, which might annoy readers of other political stripes, but I was too excited to read a book actually based in Ottawa with landmarks I grew up seeing all the time for it to really bother me.  Fallis has a quick wit, which translates well into the characters in the novels, and often had me giggling to myself on my morning commutes.  I am also a big, big fan of the way he brought feminism into the stories, which is something I haven't really seen in a lot of mainstream novels.  Women's rights are a crucial election issue, and I'm glad that came out in the two fictional elections Fallis writes about.

Here are some quotations that made me laugh and made me think:
"In the minds of the dock-lounging committee members, I was more than qualified to teach undergraduate English. After all, I knew my ABCs and had never been to prison." (The Best Laid Plans, xvi) 
"'A broken promise in politics? Stop the presses!' she quipped." (The Best Laid Plans, 6) 
"'Muriel, we're not in public school. I'm not going to pass you a note to give to her.' I feigned disinterest for as long as I could, which was about nine seconds, before turning towards her again. 'Okay, you got me. What do you mean you think she'd say yes if I asked her out? Has she been talking about me? If so, I need all the details just so I don't put my foot in the wrong place, like in my mouth.'" (The Best Laid Plans, 101) 
"'Scout's honour,' I replied. She burst out laughing because I'd raised my hand in the traditional Vulcan split-fingered greeting when invoking Baden-Powell's promise. What a guy. What a wit. I figured I should strike when my stock was high." (The Best Laid Plans, 136) 
"I hit send and shut down (the computer, I mean; I'd shut down personally two days earlier)." (The Best Laid Plans, 147) 
"'Hey hey, you dinnae make jokes about drugged drinks when the availability of Rohypnol and the incidence of date rape are both on the rise,' he thundered, shaking his head and looking as if bodily harm was in my immediate future." (The Best Laid Plans, 216) 
"'Aye, but societal change hasn't often come through polite and courteous discourse. That approach would simply take too long.... the emergence of various factions within the feminist constellation reflects a social movement that is maturin' and is confident enough to nurture divergent viewpoints. This is the natural evolution of social change.'" (The Best Laid Plans, 217) 
"Nothing calms bellicose belligerents like free food." (The Best Laid Plans, 285)
"Ottawa is one of the world's coldest capitals, and we're used to it now. The snow falls early, often, and heavy, yet slows the city rarely and barely.... Few Canadians are more relieved to reach their offices in the morning than Ottawa walkers." (The Best Laid Plans, 296) 
"I knew from childhood birthday parties that in moments of shock, or even hilarity, milk can actually pass from one's mouth up through the sinuses and project out the nostrils. I'd seen it myself and even experienced it once or twice. But I confess I had no idea that a chunk of Swedish meatball could make that same perilous journey." (The High Road, 22) 
"Why does everyone always assume Marin turned me into a feminist? I was at that particular rally of my own volition.' .... 'Okay, okay, I'm sorry. I just have never met a male feminist who got there on his own, particularly an engineer.'" (The High Road, 71) 
"He actually waved a copy of Marin Lee's book Home Economics and Free Labour to justify his claim that Angus had some sort of secret feminist agenda ready to unleash on an unsuspecting nation." (The High Road, 147) 
"'To my way of thinking, a feminist is anyone who believes that men and women should be equal. That men and women should have equal rights. That men and women should have equal access to opportunity. That men and women should be paid equally for work of equal value and should be equally free from the threat of violence. Being a feminist simply means believing in equality. Mr. Fox has said, and repeated with some vehemence, that he is no feminist. I should think by this definition that he is part of a very small and declining minority. Equality is not a radical idea. And equality should not be a distant goal.'" (The High Road, 147-148)
Have you read these two novels?  What did you think?  I'm hoping to dive into his other novels soon...

xx, C.