Tag Archives: running

Running Out of Time

14 Mar

Last week I was away in a place where night is day and day is night. A city that is bountiful in history, where spirits seem to always be amongst you. A place where anything goes and everyone is welcome. A home to endless drinks and an abundance of Cajun food. A Southern location that is truly unique and special.

Last night I lay in bed, my internal clock completely turned around and a million thoughts  racing out of control in my mind. It’s already mid-march and I feel as though I haven’t accomplished anything when it comes to my training goals. My friend Loa says I’m an expert at balancing life but I definitely don’t feel that is true thus far this year. The thought of getting back to reality after the return of such a great getaway was uninspiring and then it dawned on me…

“F*&# I’m running out of time!”  with just a month left before the The Vancouver SunRun. This is one of the biggest 10k race in North America where more than 55,000 runners gather.  I can run a 10k in my sleep, hung-over or sick but I’m determined to break my 2009 record of 54:34 (5:27 per km). Consistency and speed work is scheduled for the next four weeks and my goal is to run a sub 50 minutes race. Two weeks later I run the BMO half marathon; I’m praying the rain stays away this year.  

The clocks sprung forward this weekend and I’m excited to finally be able to hit the pavement after work. Time to log some serious miles over the next six weeks.

PT Girl xo

1.11.11

11 Jan

2011 began as most new years’ do… hung over! The only difference is this year I was nursing my headache on the slopes at Whistler; with a little less than four hours of sleep I impressed myself by skiing all day, which was then followed by “après ski” at the Longhorn, which turned into another early morning.

My birthday was yesterday but the festivities started on Friday and didn’t stop for four days. Sharing all the highlights here would take a while but one of the best parts was sitting at Qwest Field in Seattle with my friend Alicia proudly wearing black & gold while surrounded by 67,000 Seahawk fans in blue and bad neon green. With a point spread of 10.5 in favour of the New Orleans Saints I can assure you that their loss was unexpected. I didn’t hold back my disappointment nor am I shy in expressing my dislike of the Seahawks in general but I must admit the fans were cordial and the energy in the stadium was infectious; especially when the 12th man roared!!

Amongst all the Holiday festivities I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my fitness accomplishments as well as other aspect of my life. 2010 was filled with failures, changes and difficult decisions but 2010 also encompassed personal bests, new adventures and eye awakening moments.

So after much thought, much debate and much self inflicted guilt I’ve decided not to do Iron Man Canada this year. There, I said it!!! *gulp* I know that some of you (you know who you are) are shaking your heads at me but after making a list of pros and cons, discussing for countless hours with my friends and losing many nights of sleep I decided I had to be true to myself; my heart is not in it. Having Iron Man on my bucket list isn’t motivation enough to train over 20 hours a week right now. I’m just not in a place where I am willing to dedicate the next eight months of my life to only training.  What I do know is that over the last few months I fund a new zest for life.  My goal for 2011 is to have a balanced year that will allow for spontaneity. Focus on my work is high on my list of priorities and so is travel. But don’t get me wrong, I have no intention on losing my passion for fitness. I will spend more time skiing, snowshoeing and taking advantage of British Columbia’s great outdoors. I want to ride my bike lots this spring and I also want to get back into hiking. I’m still seeing a personal trainer, attending infrared yoga and getting lots of use out of my indoor bike trainer. I’m excited to start my new running program that will prepare me for a sub 4 hour marathon in Chicago and I will most likely throw in a few half marathons along the way.

Stay tuned, as I promise 2011 will be filled with exciting, fun fitness adventures.

PT Girl xo

Who am I?

6 Oct

Last night I picked up my irun magazine and was reading the article “The Long Revisited” by Erin Sheared.

The article focused mainly on first time marathoners. It outlined many training programs and discussed how long and how fast you should run before your first big race.

In summary it suggests that no first timers should ever go over 32 km (or a three and half hour run). It advises first timers to do two 30 km runs allowing themselves plenty of time to taper off  prior to race day. “Huh?? 30 km…that’s it??”  Sorry but this is where I have to interject. This concept boggles my mind. Isn’t the “runners’ wall” at 35 km? So why wouldn’t a program recommend at least one 36 km run to help mentally and physically prepare you to overcome this defying obstacle?

I’ve never been one to follow the rules. I’m definitely the black sheep of the family and I’ve always liked doing things my own way.  So I am veering off the published training programs and creating my own course. Only time will tell if I am being foolish.

A few weeks ago I ran 30 km in 2h42mins and felt fantastic. With eight weeks to my first marathon my plan is to increase my distance by 3 km each long run, bringing me up to 39 km by the start of November. This will give me four weeks to taper and rest before the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Marathon.

Marathon training programs like Hal Higdon’s have guided millions of people across the finish line so who the heck am I to say they are wrong?  Trust me; I’m aware I am no one. With only three half marathons behind me (4 after this weekend BMO Half in Kelowna ) I am clearly still a novice runner.  But I know my strengths and my weaknesses. I know how much I can push myself and I know what my boundaries are. But most importantly, I know what mental preparation is required for me to cross the finish line.

PT Girl xo

Fall Focus

7 Sep

It’s been a week since I lined up for over five hours at the on-site registration for IRONMAN Canada; yesterday I went online and finalized my registration. The reality, severity and insanity of what I’ve committed to has started to sink in.

I‘d planned on keeping it a hush-hush for a while but wasn’t able to contain my excitement and blabbed my own secret.  As the news spread so did my fear! I must have heard hundred times last week. “You’re nuts!!” My response was both defensive and honest “You have no idea!”

My work schedule was hectic, so training encompassed a PT session on Thursday and after a ten days hiatus I ran twenty four kilometers on Saturday morning.

With less than five hours of sleep and I awoke Sunday morning with a pounding headache. I laced up to sweat the vodka out of my pores by running seven kilometers and eight, two hundred meter hill repeats. I finished the weekend with an evening infrared yoga class; practice always helps me clear my mind and focus on the positive in my life.

My ongoing sleep deprivation is affecting many aspects of my life; averaging about 1.5 nights of decent sleep a week. I know all too well that the lack of proper rest will ruin my training goals. When I fall asleep at three a.m. it’s difficult to find the enthusiasm to wake up a few hours later for a early morning run before work.

This is causing me concern since I haven’t been able to find a remedy.  Melatonin definitely puts me out, problem being I can’t pry myself out of bed in the morning. So before I grow permanent bags under my eyes I’m planning a fall schedule that ought to force me to collapse from exhaustion at the end of each day.  As per normal I will be going to my training sessions, yoga practice and running 30-40 km a week. In addition I will be hitting the bike shops this weekend and will get out and ride as  much as possible; once the rain hits I’ll be grateful for the spinning classes at the Steve Nash Sports Facility. My swimming classes starts next week and thanks to my biggest fan Loa,  I start a freelance writing course at UBC in October.

At the party on Saturday night I asked Mike “Did you think I was actually going to sign up?” “Nope I really didn’t!” he replied.   I know some friends would describe me as obsessive and compulsive. I like to think of myself as a logical and rational individual but the truth is I can sometimes be pretty impulsive and reactionary. Signing up for Ironman was one of those spontaneous moments. Nevertheless I’ve always lived by the motto “What’s meant to be will be.” I trust this more than ever and know that focusing my energy on something as insane as Ironman will ultimately keep me sane.

PT Girl xo

I am an “N”

12 Aug

This week wasn’t any better than last. Work is hectic because both of my clients are moving at the end of the month. On top of that I still have unresolved business that is weighing heavy on my shoulders; with lots on my plate already why did I sign up for my first marathon?  I had a moment  at the office where I boasted about an 18 km run; a bit smug I got carried away and before I knew it was typing in my credit card number online and registered for the Las Vegas Rock & Roll marathon on Dec 5, 2010. I’m an impulse buyer and never second guess a purchase. Shoes, purses, running gear, dresses and suits for the office I’ll bring up to the till with little regret. But this was different; pressing the ‘purchase’ button evoked instant buyer’s remorse!! “What the hell was I think…?”

A few days (and short runs later) I started to process and deal. I started rationalizing my decision, training for something more challenging might be exactly what I require right now; a grander goal to keep me focused and positive.

I’m bound to have uncontrollable interruptions during my training so alleviating any setbacks I do have control over is very important. I must remain injury free; for that reason I have made the following promises to myself.

“I, PT Girl swear to stretch after each run. I swear to attend one yoga class a week. I swear to see my RMT once a month (at minimum). I swear to take my fish oil pills daily and I swear to nourish and rest my body as required”

My friend Julie invited me to join CC and herself to a yoga class on Sunday afternoon. If you’ve been following my blog or tweets you know that yoga is not my forte and I’d usually decline the invitation. “Yes! Yes! I will come.  What’s the address?” I said. To my surprise this was no typical yoga class.

This was Infrared Yoga. I’ve been in infrared saunas before, I like the way the heat gets distributed and know of its many health benefits.

  • Promotes weight loss
  • Improves your immune system
  • Improves your strength and vitality
  • Helps cure several skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis,  and acne
  • Strengthens the cardio-vascular system
  • Helps control your blood pressure
  • Detoxifies your body
  • Gives you more energy and relieves stress
  • Relieves pain (joint pain, sore muscles, arthritis)
  • Helps control your cholesterol level
  • Helps treat bronchitis
  • and many more….

The small private studio (holds up to 6) was immaculately clean and beautifully lit with little red candles along the mirrored wall. It’s located in the heart of Vancouver and in last Sunday’s class it was just us three girls and the awesome yoga teacher. Upbeat, positive and full of confidence this yoga class is a more then a hot stretch session, it’s a self esteem booster!  The close personal attention from Sarah the teacher was fantastic.  She knows how to mold her class to her students’ personalities. I’m frightfully inflexible; it’s hard to believe that once upon a time I was able to do the split! These days I’d be happy to see any kind of elasticity. Like most yoga classes the vibe was mellow and relaxing but Sarah was quick to read that cracking jokes and making fun comments would be more then welcomed by us gals. At the end of the 60 minutes I felt fully relaxed! “… yes I will be back next Sunday!” I said thanking Sarah.

My body was feeling great on Monday and was ready for a long run.  The weather was overcast and 19 degrees, which is perfect!  I set out with no specific goal; I just wanted to let my mind go blank… so I ran and ran and ran some more, clocking 19 km. I kept a steady and easily sustainable pace of 5:52 per km.

Tuesday morning I had to face Toby my RMT. O.M.G. that was the most torturous 45 minutes of my life! How can my body feel so good yet be so stiff, tight and knotted?? “I’m barely applying any pressure; you are so tight. You have to stretch!” Toby told me again.  “To hell with this! I can’t take another excruciating massage like this” I thought to myself as she rubbed out the knots in my lower back, I vowed to religiously to stretch and attend yoga.

I’m excited about my marathon training. I’m starting this weekend by attempting a 24-25 km run (my longest run ever).  But as a marathon NOVICE I would like to ask my followers for some tips and advice. Dos & don’ts. Recommended books or training programs. HELP!!

PT Girl xo

Early Morning Thoughts

31 Jul

I think we all make plans and have these grandiose ideas of what our final destination is supposed to look like.  But life is unpredictable and unbeknownst to us we are often faced with unexpected road closures and we end up in a completely different city; or in my situation country. Where did I veer off wrong? What the F** happened? My recent dilemmas have lead me to wonder how much control do we really have over our lives? How much does fate really play a role?  I wish I had the answer.

I’ve always been a firm believer that we create our own destiny,  that we can manifest anything we truly visualize and that we get back tenfold the good we give out; in the end having true power over our lives. Thus far this way of thinking has served me quite well. Unfortunately, it’s come to my attention that some things are unpredictable and are completely out of our hands no matter how much planning, thought and caution we put in. This is a tad unsettling for someone who tends to be a control freak.

Through it all, over the past few months I have learned that hard times show us who our true friends are; and I can say I am extremely grateful for the ones I have. (You all know who you are …love ya all lots xo) The cream rises to the top and the rest is just mediocrity. Besides my wonderful friends whom mean the world to me, the one constant thing I can always count on is my runs.  In the past few years I have ran for many reasons. I’ve ran to lose weight, I’ve ran to get faster, I’ve ran to prove something to myself  and to others,  I’ve ran because I am competitive and I’ve ran because it just feels damn freaking awesome!  But lately I run because I can be in command of how far I run and how many times I run. It is my sanctuary where no one can touch me; where I tune out the world that is spinning out of control around me.

Why do you run?

PT Girl xo

Aiming for Speed

14 Jul

PTGirlFrontView

Can anyone become a faster runner? Well after running three half marathons where each race I finished shy of breaking two hours by 90 seconds or less I am starting to believe that I’m not designed  to run any faster! I decided to run the Okanagan Half Marathon Oct 10, 2010 and am about to embark on a three month training program where the bulk of my energy will be focused on increasing my pace.

turtle640

The last half marathon I ran was the BMO Half in May; my official race time was 2:00:47; pace of 5:40 per km.

I used to think that I had to run more miles to run faster. I’m no longer worried about the distance of the race, as my Saturday leisurely 17 km run is one of my favorite times of the week (besides Friday afternoon cocktail hour on the patio…of course) I attempted some hill training during my last half training but focused mainly on logging miles; unfortunately running those extra miles at my regular pace didn’t turn me into a cheetah :( After talking to some friends, discussing with some trainers and a little online research it seems the only way to learn how to run faster is to get out there and run faster!  Here are a few steps that I think will help me:

Step 1

Increase your turnover (turnover refers to the number of times your right (or left) foot hits the ground in 1 minute). Obviously the faster your turnover, the more distance you cover in a given period of time. Count your current turnover rate and then aim to increase your turnover by 5 steps per minute until you eventually reach that magical 80. Elite runners usually clock around 90+ strides per minute but for us mere mortals runner a turnover of 80 is considered pretty decent.

*Note – Don’t let your feet get in front of your body.

Step 2

Push off with your big toe. This will also help to take some of the pounding out of your heels and push your body forward more effectively.

Step 3

Swing your arms forward, not across your body. Moving your arms back and forth across your body will pull your body from side to side. Aim your hands in the direction you want to go; directly in front of you.

Step 4

Incorporate speed workouts into your program. Speed workouts are a great way to increase your pace slowly and steadily over time.

Cheetah

In addition to a long run and a shorter fast run per week, here are the new rules I will be living by for the next three months:

Rule # 1 – Set a clear & realistic goal of a time you wish to beat

I want to run a 1:55 half marathon (5:27 per km) Thirteen seconds per kilometers faster

Rule #2 Use hill training to build muscle & endurance

Hill sprints at least once a week

Rule #3 Yoga & strength training to prevent injury and to increase flexibility and range of motion

Strength training twice week with my personal trainer.

2 yoga classes a month and 1 massage therapy session a month.

Rule # 4 Interval training, using sprints to increase speed as well as lung capacity

To be incorporated in each of my personal training session

Rule # 5 Give your body rest so your muscles can recover and avoid injury

I swear to take a rest day (or yoga day) a week

Does anyone have any other suggestions how this turtle can evolve into a cheetah?

PT Girl xo

Nothing last forever, not even a good buzz

6 Jul

PTGirlmartini-01

My long weekend launched off Wednesday with a late lunch at Cactus Club with my friend Shauna. She was there when I arrived and was holding a beautiful burgundy drink.  “The sangria is awesome!” she said as the waitress came up to our table; I pointed at her refreshing looking cocktail “I’ll have one of those please!”sangira

After one glass I was feeling my happy place.“Holly Yum…!”I smiled. “Aren’t they the best!” Shauna said. When the waitress came back and we ordered a second round. I sighed “Yikes… I could really get on roll here but I’m supposed to do the Grouse Grind.” Shauna slightly rolled her eyes “Have fun with that?!” I started to think it may be a bit ambitious of me to hike tipsy especially as I recalled my disappointing first hike of the year a few weeks ago where I didn’t come close to breaking an hour (1:07:44). I don’t know if it was too early in the morning or what but I couldn’t find my pace and just wasn’t able get my breathing in check. It felt as is I had to stop every twenty steps.

Mike, Michelle and I headed up around 6 p.m. and my only intention was to find a pace where I didn’t have to stop. I reached the first quarter mark in 15 minutes and knew if I was able to keep my rhythm I’d make it under and hour. I reached the top in 58:14  “Bring it ON!! I shaved ten minutes off my first climb! I said jumping around. Every Wednesday is social night at the top of Grouse Mountain so we decided to stay and have some nachos and of course a few drinks. The elevation really does wonders for your buzz ;) We chatted about Mike and Michelle’s Iron Man experiences and laughed our asses off while “beerstorming” (brain storming) for innovative fitness ideas I could bring to my blog.  (Which I will share with you in future posts)

When I got home I popped a melatonin and slept for six glorious hours. It was heavenly! Thursday morning my girlfriend CC came over for a short run. We ran my usual seven kilometres Cambie to Burrard bridge loop. She’s training for the Okanagan BMO Half Marathon in October and managed to convince me to sign up as well. “Twist my arm!”

Later in the day I meet Hank and Jules at Local in Kits. The vibe there is pretty relaxed and the drinks over the bridge are so cheap! But today’s 20 something fashion trends are seriously disturbing.  All the girls were wearing scarves (it’s not winter) flannel chequered shirts and/or flip flops. I just don’t get it?! A few sangria’s..blah blah blah… a few tequila shots, fast forward….fireworks and “Happy Canada Day!”

Friday morning I had to go into work- blech! I took care of the few necessary tasks and rushed home to grab my fur baby Gucci (Yorkshire Terrier) and went to North Vancouver to meet my friend SM and his dog Reggin for a hike in the trails. We walked about five km then headed back to his house which is absolutely gorgeous; it looks like it’s permanently staged for a photo shoot in Modern Living Magazine. We sat in the backyard basking in the sun drinking Frenz Rose from Naramata,B.C. I was pacing my intake because I planned on running 17 km the next morning, when deWolf sent me a text and told me he had an opening for a session instead.

Saturday I woke up refreshed and got ready for my PT session. I decided to run the 7 km to the gym. I was unsure of how long it would take me because of the elevation on the last few kilometres. I made it in 42:55 and could instantly tell that deWolf had no intention of taking it easy on me; I knew he was actually going to push me harder than normal!  Argh! I know he thinks I can be problematic. I sometimes bring tude’ to our session’s and tend to question why he makes me do certain exercises. He’s stubborn, I’m stubborn and we butt heads from time to time.  But he’s encouraging and supportive in his own unique way, yet never forgets to remind me that I am capable of more. Given that I’m surrounded by friends and family who tell me I’m fantastic all the time his form of motivation typically works. After an hour of arms drills, core exercises, squats and hill sprints I was feeling surprisingly okay. I geared up, grabbed my iPod and headed out for the 7 km trek back home. My legs started to get heavy and forced me to slow down as I headed over the Burrard Bridge.  In total,  I ran 14.10 km in 1:22.

wine-glassesThat evening the girls came over for dinner and copious amount of wine.  We all ravaged the low fat turkey lasagna I whipped up earlier that day and shared lots of laughs.

On Sunday I didn’t roll out of bed until ten am. I lazed around and later on hooked up with Alicia for a long overdue chitchat …and yes… more sangria!  But as all good things, the weekend has now come to an end and the reality of my week ahead has set in. I’m staying upbeat by enjoying the wonderful weather and as much running (away from life) as possible.

PT Girl xo

Insomnia

29 Jun

I wasn’t looking to post a personal best but I did have every intention of running the Scotia Half Marathon on Sunday but…. didn’t. My intuition is so good, I just need to listen to it more carefully; I had an feeling my plans were going to fall apart and they did late Saturday night. I lay awake in bed at the crack of dawn on Sunday wishing I had made alternative plans and agreed to commute up to UBC with Hank. I was pissed off at myself; I wanted to run so I should have just done so and figured out the logistics afterwards.

Big congratulations to Hank, he ran the Scotia Half marathon in 1:32:18 Impressive especially if you knew how much (or little) time was actually dedicated to his training. Way to go!!!

After a pot of coffee while watching the soccer match between Argentina and Mexico I was still beating myself up so decided to lace up. I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to get angry more often… rage really seems to help my speed.

sleeping-snoopy

Over the past few months I’ve been cursed with really bad sleeping patterns  and I feel as if I exist on adrenaline; and every so often I crash losing total motivation to do anything at all. Yesterday at work I was worn out and wished for nothing more than ONE good night of sleep; so I decided to go to the Steve Nash Gym and exert myself to the point of exhaustion. I jumped on the treadmill and ran 5 km in 27 minutes and then went straight into an hour spin class. Although I worked my ass off, I must admit this was one of the worst instructor’s that I have ever had. In my personal opinion the spin teacher (personal trainer or aerobic instructor) should not be panting harder than me, especially if they are working less than me. How can I possibly be motivated and take the instructor seriously when I’m being told to push harder from someone who demonstrates no fitness or athletic ability? Am I wrong for thinking this way?

Either way I made it my ride and gave er’ my all! My legs were shaking and I was completely soaked. I was convinced that this 90 workout would absolutely do the trick and induce me into an eight hour coma. Wahhhhh!! Yet another sleepless night!!! I’m about to lose my mind!!! Does anyone have a good insomnia remedy? I’m ready to try anything!!

PT Girl xo

Just Do It

20 Jun

It all a distant dream… my girlfriends and I went to Scottsdale AZ for a spa getaway a few weeks ago. Our flight left Vancouver, BC at 7:30 a.m. We landed in Phoenix, got the car rental, stocked up on snacks and bevies and were at the Princess Fairmont pool by 1 p.m. After a few hours in the blazing sun I headed to my first spa appointments; a sixty minute massage is just want I needed to shift into relaxation mode.

arizona 2010 001

“Beep beep beep…” I pushed the snooze button on my blackberry alarm two mornings in a row. CC and I hiked Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak. We figured it would be best to start before it got to hot. Jules was perplexed by the sound of alarm clocks on vacation. “Have fun girls, I’ll be by the pool when you get back.” she yawned waving from her cloud like bed.  By 9 a.m. it was well over 100 degrees but we persisted and kept going even though I was sweating profusely and CC was showing symptoms of dehydration.

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The first hike was followed by coffee, a shower and breakfast. I had about two hours of R&R  then changed in my workout wear and headed out to the hotel gym to meet Charles the Personal Trainer for a session. I was strangely energized and ready to give er’. I was also curious to see what I’d get for a $89 +18% gratuity PT session. Twenty five minutes in Charles asked “How you feeling?” “Greeeeat!” I grinned. “Huh?” He seemed surprised then kept insisting I maneuver the most difficult variation of each exercise he presented me. Charles was really nice and was able to quickly determine how hard he could  push me. “You’ve been taught great form” he complimented. We talked about the hike I’d just done and I explained that overcoming the heat was the most challenging part for me. Camelback is a small hill compared to the Grouse GrindI told to him. “I’ll have to come to Vancouver and hike this Grouse Grind you speak about.” Charles said. The Fairmont charges $64 for a 30 minute stretch session so it was nice of Charles to include a 20 minutes stretch at the end of my session. He observed the same as every other trainer and massage therapist does “You need to stretch more!” he said. My review of my Personal Training session at the Princess Fairmont was A+. Charles was friendly, personable, knowledgeable and adaptable. If you live in the Scottsdale area or plan on traveling there and would like a good ass kicking I would recommend calling him for a workout.

The week we got back I was swamped at work and only managed to squeeze in one PT session with de Wolf and one climb up the Grouse Grind. Our first attempt of the year was executed at 6:30 a.m.  The only good thing about going that early is the lack of other ‘crazy people’ in our way.  de Wolf  suggested we go up twice but by the time I got my sorry butt to the top there was no way! “I’m not going again, not happening!!” I shouted.  How quickly I forget how hard this hike is. “How did we do this three times in a row?” I asked de Wolf reminiscing of the day last summer we hiked up the Grouse Grind three times in a row before 11 a.m. where I’d actually I finish each climb under an hour and he’d finished his well under 50 minutes each. To me that seemed impossible right now.

This week was way more productive.  I had two PT sessions where abs seemed to be the “core” focus; fitting as bikini season is upon us :) I also laced up for the first time in seven weeks and did two short seven kilometer runs. Yesterday morning after the best uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep in a very long time, I decided to attempt a real run. Out before 8 a.m. the sun was shining, Stanley Park was all mine as I enjoyed my new tunes and the great West Coast scenery. Nowhere near a record time I was still pleased to complete 17 km with ease after such a long running hiatus. So even though I haven’t been training and will probably not run a personal best I’m thinking of signing up for the Scotia half marathon next weekend. “JUST DO IT!” Right?

PT Girl xo