Crisp, Cool and Perfect

I committed an unselfish act of stupidity Sunday. I gave my mom the last of my Voltaren.

To be fair, I love my mom and she needs it more than me. Secretly, I hadn’t had knee pain for a while so I figured I was done with it.

HA!

Oh well, I only had one uncomfortable evening, today it’s better. My bursa sac filled with fluid and its better today. Its been a while since I pushed myself. If I am being honest, I have gone through the post marathon blues syndrome….again.

Getting myself out there without a training schedule sounds great but it doesn’t really work for me. I need more structure. I need a calendar that tells me how far I am running today.

Clearly, I have slacked off for 2 months and now I have a WDW Marathon weekend to prep for and, well…. I need to up the training now.

I was worried I would lose my fitness level and be back at square one again.

I went out for a long-ish run on Monday morning just to see how far I could go. The good news? 5 miles or so. The better news? my initial pace was my race pace – 10:30…but then I had equipment problems and needed to adjust the shoes and long story short…I was a bit slower in the end. However, it was the best run I have had in a long time.

The weather was perfect, cool and crisp with the sunshine sparkling through the trees. I could have used gloves to start off with, but I was fine once I got going. It was perfect. I ran for about 1.5 hours. A good start to see where my fitness is.

Today I will hop on Danger Bike and give her a chance to annoy my knee then I will run again tomorrow. I heard Belgravia Trail is stunning this time of year, or perhaps I’ll check out Emily Murphy Park. But it doesn’t really matter where I go. It’s my favorite time of year to run.

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The New Run Club

I joined a new run club. It’s kind of exclusive. Please don’t be jealous…seriously…don’t be. It isn’t  great.

I ran yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks. I finally felt better. After strapping on my shoes, I noticed my cleats, I am thankful I don’t have to wear those…yet. Soon enough I imagine.

It was cool but sunny and spectacular yesterday. Blue sky and the colours of Autumn. I headed out on my trusty trail behind my house. For some reason it is my fall and winter running trail, it felt right. I didn’t set a distance goal. My goal was to head out and see how I felt.

I made it past the creek and decided to turn right. I had never run that way before. I was struggling with consistency so I decided to run 30sec, walk 15 sec. It sounds slow, when actually it is fast. I ran faster than I expected. This is the Jeff Galloway method. He is trying to quality for Boston doing this, he will do it too. I kept my pace under 10 min/km You can laugh – people do miles with that pace, I can’t yet. But for a kilometer, that is a race pace time for me. Pretty decent considering I had been off for 2 weeks. I made it to the pond and that is where I got my initiation into the new club. The Hurl Club. That’s right – I lost my breakfast. My team mates welcomed me into the fold. One even said “Welcome, we have cup cakes…or at least we did.” HA! True true…

I know Jeff Galloway frowns upon hurling. Quite frankly, I do too. There are apparent reasons for this. It could be lack of hydration. I packed water, but never once drank – that is a real possibility. The other is pushing too hard and fast, I didn’t feel like I pushed, but running 30:15 sec intervals really feels fast. OR it could be a combination of both.

At any rate, I don’t recommend it.

But I think it makes me an official runner at this point.

Happy Running!

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In Search of New Trails

Remember when Leonard Nimoy had that show In Search of? No? Well, it was great, filled with paranormal oddities and strange events. I wasn’t searching for that. I have enough odd behaviors and events in my life thank you very much! I am in search of new running trails that will challenge me and give me some new scenery to look at.

I sat down in front of Mapmyrun and began searching out a nice newish 5km trail.

I was looking for a loop but decided 10k was too far for my scheduled 5k Wednesday ( I like a schedule, it keeps me motivated). I liked the idea of the river valley and I also liked the idea of new to me. I settled on an out and back 2.5k through Buena Vista and over to Belgravia. Belgravia looked simple enough, it was registered as a dog park and the elevation made it look flat….oh how simple it is to deceive…

I parked over by the Edmonton Valley Zoo at the Buena Vista Dog park and Edmonton Rowing Club. I strapped on my iFitness hydration belt and fired up a pod cast  – a new one this time (Let’s Run Disney podcast). I headed north-ish towards Hawrelak Park. It was going to be hot but I set out just before lunch. The sky was blue and the sun was warm. I love September.

My favourite tree tunnel with the Edmonton Rowing Club in the background.

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The wide open spaces of the Buena Vista Dog Park.

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This is the wide gravel road that I will be running on for Kathy’s Race for Research 10k in October. Gravel is not my favorite running surface, but practice makes perfect!

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Then I came to the foot bridge that spans the North Saskatchewan River. I get here quicker than I use to, it surprised me that it came up so quick!

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After I crossed the bridge and entered into Hawrelak Park, I wasn’t all that certain which way to go, luckily I found this map at the end of the bridge. See how flat the trail looks? HA!

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I headed down the path, south towards Keillor Road, knowing full well I won’t make it there before I would need to turn around.

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Then I came to the part in the road that had me question if I should turn around or keep going. I saw the beginning of the hill but I couldn’t see the rest, it made me think of a roller coaster drop. So the question was: Do I keep going? Do I turn around? The answer? If I am going to run San Francisco, then I keep going. You don’t get good at running hills by avoiding them.

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I have to admit that running down the hill was a ton of fun. As soon as I go to the bottom I had to go up again. I lost count as to how many cycles I went up/down. My legs felt the burn after about 7 or 8, then i found this marker:

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I run trails all over the valley and this is the first marker I have ever seen. 8km from where? No clue. Then I came to the Saskatchewan Drive stairs – I often call this place Rich and Famous Blvd. At the top of these stairs is the University of Alberta. A bustling metropolis filled with cars, people, trains, buses and noise. At the bottom of these stairs I am in the middle of no where with just me and some coyotes,horses, dogs, a squirrel and runners. Edmonton is the best place to be in the middle of nowhere with a 5 minute walk to Starbucks.

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I was so happy to see this sign:

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450m until my turnaround point!

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YAY I get to run those hills again!

They weren’t so bad, the hills were steep but short. Completely doable. In fact, I plan on adding this trail to my regular 10km rotation. I am beginning to enjoy the challenge of a hill. The reward is running down. Running downhill makes me feel like I am one of those fast gazelles. I like that, it helps me envision who I will be in the future.

I am certainly not the girl I use to be.

Happy Running!

Welcome to the Fall Running Season: Next up Kathy’s Run for Pancreatic Cancer

As I sitting here sipping my 3rd MASSIVE mug of coffee only because I have drank 9 glasses of water, I realize that I need to slow down and collect my thoughts. Perhaps think about something else for a while.

I hinted once before that I have a huge plan for an epic endeavor that will take place in the future. I will make a formal announcement in January and don’t worry, all of you will hear about it plenty and will want to be a part of it in someway – that is how fabulous it is! This endeavor is becoming bigger than I thought it would be. Planning for it so far has been fantastic, but I need to collect my thoughts, notes and ideas, pull back and breath. Perhaps a reboot of personal goals and focus for a bit.

Yesterday I went for a 5ish km run. The first run since my half marathon weekend here in Edmonton. First of all, let me just say how amazing recovery has been. For the first time after a big run I am not a bit stiff or sore. I did all the right things after the half to ensure my recovery efforts would pay off. And they did. Not only has my fitness improved, but my frame of mind is fantastic. I had the post race blues the very first time I walked the half marathon in August 2011. This time I have goals leading me into 2015 and beyond, so I am looking at this week as a recovery week. Zero training for me. I am giving my body a chance to rest, enjoy and have in short running and cycling adventures. Aside for the heat and humidity yesterday, I have to admit I had fun!

I went down to Emily Murphy park for a trail run for two reasons.

  1. Flat and scenic was something I needed after running through the streets of Edmonton on Sunday.
  2. I signed up for a 10km race in October earlier yesterday morning and I wanted to explore the part of the course I had never been on. That meant running the upper trail around the river bend, past the Mayfair Golf Course and into Hawrelak Park.

Can you believe I signed up for another race? Ya, me neither. I wasn’t going to but I need to. I want to give RunDisney an offical 10k time that will bump my corral starting point. I don’t want to be in the last one, I want to be closer to my friends. Not because they will run with me, but the before and after of the race with friends is super fun! My race day 10k pace is getting quicker, so if I do speed work on Danger Bike and run through the week, I think I can post a great time. The only thing that might hamper this is the weather, the race is October 26th. There might be snow and it WILL be cold. Not Yankee cold like 65F but Canuck Cold of sub freezing. The entire race is on trail. The plus side to that is the chances are the trail will be frozen, so it will feel like pavement. But trail isn’t as fast as pavement. However, I run trails ALL THE TIME. I have decided I love trail running. The deeper in the woods the better. This race has that. And the race has a medal. Of course it does. Having a medal is my standard for participating. Although I needed a chip time and that was the priority, I would have run without the chance of a medal, luckily I won’t have to! Go to Facebook and like the page so you can be entered for a free race entry fee!

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Now that I have run 2 half marathon distances, a 10k has become my weekend basic long run. I will increase that to a standard of 16k/10miles in the next month or so. Now that the distance is a standard for me, I can focus on speed, form and ease. I am pretty excited about that. I now have a base. I HAVE A BASE! Excuse me while I happy dance all over the place!

So I checked out the trail I am unfamiliar with. I usually run the lower trail next to the river, it is hilly. The upper trail is not. I am not sure which trail is part of the race course, but now I have a good idea what both look like. These trails are part of my 16k distance – I know, I HAVE A 16k ROUTE!!!! Again…happy dancing 🙂

Do you know what else I loved about running yesterday? I would stop to take pictures and enjoy the moment. I live in a beautiful city that prioritizes its park system. Thank You City of Edmonton! I love the trails through the valley. It never gets boring, although I am shocked because I saw THIS:011

WHAT THE HELL? Red fall leaves mean August is just about over. I don’t feel like I made the most of my summer but I am rocking an awesome runner’s tan! Yesterday was my zen run. I am tapping back into that feeling so I can continue forward will all my goals, big and small. I ran past the high bush cranberries that are changing colours and ran through caragana tunnels, into the park and past the field of canoes where the Canadian Forces are prepping for Mountain Man. Good bye summer run season, and now it’s time to embrace the fall run season. Learn to run is over, endurance is over, time now for speed.

Happy running!

I’m getting faster Mo!

8503c2e33b94a0c20cb09c257b2689d5It is no secret that the speed at which I run is depressing me. I want to be faster and I kind of need to be faster as well. I have some goals this year where my pace needs to pick up or I will be swept during the race and not finish. That would suck.

I realize I am worrying about something that just needs practice. I talked to my coach about it and he told me not to stress, it will come as I build strength. I have to keep in mind that conditions make a big difference.

In a week, a shaved 10 minutes off my 6km total time. 10 minutes! I was thrilled! But that huge difference required me to take a really good look at the difference between the fastest 6km and the slowest 6km.

Fastest 6km Slowest 6km
The temperature was  +11C The Temperature was  -3C
I ran without YakTrax Run I ran with YakTrax Run
The trail was ¾ clear The trail was snow covered
I ran 2 hours after I ate I ran 1 hour after I ate
I ran avoided 2 giant lake type puddles and ran through the snow bank The puddles were ice and made the footing difficult
I wore a t-shirt and leggings I wore winter layers, gloves, scarf and hat an double layer pants
I am 4lbs lighter 4lbs heavier

I also have to take into consideration my endurance factor. With each day I run, I get stronger. I have a ways to go but I think the lack of ice and snow will make a huge difference as will the layers I wear. Less restrictive clothing is so freeing!

Farleks and hill intervals are also part of my process. I cannot wait until I get faster! The best part? It is happening already!

Meanwhile don’t forget to wave when you see me on the trails…

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Happy Running!

 

Let the Winter Running Begin!

photo 4(3) After a couple of months not being able to run because I have spent my time healing, I figured today was as good as any to try again.

My 5km race goal came and went without me racing. I was a little disappointed but knew I will still get to that goal, just later than sooner. Such is life.

The last time I went for a run, it was hot and sunny, the leaves were turning colours and the roads were dry. Now winter has set in the roads are icy and covered in a sand/salt mix. My greatest fear of winter is falling. Torn, strained or broken anything is not fun. I want to stay a runner so I need to run all year not just when the sun is pushing the temperatures above the freezing mark. I needed winter equipment.

I went to Mountain Equipment Coop and found a Polartec fleece for my outerwear. Most people south of me use this as their mid or base layer. Cold doesn’t affect me that much so it works fine for my outer layer. I use a long sleeve dri-fit for my base. I tucked my dri-fit summer weight leggings into my socks. I HATE cold ankles! I have a head band that keeps my ears warm, thin breathable gloves and a scarf. On went the sunglasses and I was ready to roll, except for one minor detail.

I am afraid of falling.

I decided to try a pair of Yaktrax Run for my addias. This is what they look like out of the box.

photo 1(2)I put them on my shoe before wearing my shoes. The instructions told me to put the shoes on first THEN put the YakTrax on, I rarely listen to instructions…

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Wearing them on the tile floor was tricky. It was like walking on ice. But once I was outside, I couldn’t believe how solid I felt!

I did a quick warm up and run down the middle of the road because too many people shovel their walks and I wanted to try these out on ice. It felt not all that different from walking with snowshoes. By the time I got to the park running trails, I felt solid! I was a great feeling to run in the cold air with the sun shining! I liked it much more than summer running when it’s hot.

The park trails have been stomped down by tons of foot traffic. The city plows the trails a couple of times a year. It looks like they had been through once already.

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After about half way onto my run, I needed to stop and walk. Obviously the health toll has effected my stamina. my body felt great but sucking cold air hurts a little. My arches ached a bit too but I think that was because I was tense from being afraid of falling. Once I get use to the yaktrax and relax that should ease up.

So now its official. I AM a runner if I’m out in the snow in ankle socks and running shoes… Nothing makes me happier than that!