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.