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Where were we

Ok so after three weeks of no running I’m back.

Started with an easy 5K charity run, did ok. As long as I run slow and keep my strides short I can run ok. 

Since that run worked I volunteered to teach a 10K clinic via my local Running Room and we started two weeks ago. Since this is a Running Room clinic it is very conservative on the millage build up. That is ok since some of the runners are rusty or new to the longer distances. Already some are struggling.

But since I start Marathon training in Jan I need more km’s so I can keep up. My 10K clinic will overlap for three weeks with the Marathon group so I’ll be running Wed, Thur and Sun with my group and Tuesdays with the other group – still won’t be enough.

To help overall I’ve joined a gym and met with a trainer. We worked out yesterday for the first time and today I can barely move my arms 😉   My legs however are yet to notice the extra strength training we did.

So right now I’m working on bumping up the millage and also some strength training. 

Looks like Dec will be harder than Jan…



Still limping along

Its been 10 days since a slip while dancing injured my ankle/achilles tendon – right where the connection point.

Its still stiff and even walking I am limping a bit, enough that my knee is getting complaining about it.

I’m still walking the dog with the odd sprint or jog while playing and I even though its better the pain is sharp enough to tell me to not try a run, even a short one. It is getting better but its been 13 days since my last run, so much for a 10k race this month!

The clock is ticking, the  full marathon clinic starts Jan 1 and I need to improve my conditioning before it starts. I can’t sit on the couch and wait for this to heal.

To that end I started looking for a gym.

I seem to live in a gym hot spot. There are two big chains, one little and a community center all just a few blocks from my apartment. And there is a little piddley gym here in the building and one at work.

The small gym (I think its a really small chain) has been in the same spot for over 30 years, so its not going anywhere and it has something the others (including the community center do not  – a pool. Its not a big pool (only 60 feet) but its decent. Oh and it has a hot tub – can’t think of anything better after a long sunday run than soaking in a hot tub.

I had a tour sunday and today I started a 5 day trial. May do that with the big places too so I can do a good comparison.

So far my thoughts on Fitness 2000

it looks like what it is – a gym in a weird tiny mall under a 40 year old apartment building. The small cardio room has no windows and reminds me of a 70’s era days inn and casino I stayed at in Vegas once. But its clean and doesn’t seem that crowded. It has the typical Atlas circuit machines and some treadmills, bikes, stair climber and elliptical. Nothing earthshattering or cool.

There is a second gym, the “big gym” and it has free weights and such as well as more cardio machines including the loan flywheel rower. Again its ok, a little more crowded and its got a lot of gym monkeys

The pool – seems popular with the senior set – this is not a surprise really. There are no community pools around here so I imagine a lot of folks have their memberships just for the pool. Its mall but its salt water and nice and warm. Hot tub is small but deep -it even has a standing area which is a bit odd.

The bad?

The ladies change room kinda sucks, its a maze. Didn’t like that my 5 day pass did not include any sort of program design -I appreciate the soft sell but some guidelines on what to use would be nice

I haven’t done much in terms of resistance training in a looooooong time (other than push ups and some dumbbell stuff at home) so I just did a warm up on the cross trainer then hit the circuit, then a few of the “bigger” machines in the other room followed by some laps. Didn’t go nuts but I know I’ll feel it tomorrow.


My first injury… sigh

I’ve gotten a few ows running, a bruised toe, a couple blisters and a turned ankle. They have been something I could work through pretty easily (except the ankle, that took some time).

Last friday I hosted a big Halloween Party. Since it was populated with people i know and like I let myself dance the way you do when you truly don’t care who is watching.

The off shoot? Stiff calves and something with my achilles/ankle on the left. It was so sore the first couple of days I was walking like the guy in Person of Interest.

Down where the tendon attaches to the ankle it is still sore to touch abut walking has gotten easier. The few attempts of jogging or sprinting (when walking the dog) have been painful enough to prevent me from going for my runs.

Having to walk the dog is certainly hindering the healing process but its not like I can hook Ruby up to a treadmill. A dog used to jogging 8K needs some walking let me tell you.

I’m finding being sidelined frustrating. Come Jan 1 I want to start the marathon training clinic and I need to work on my distance between now and then. Sitting on my duff for a week was not on the schedule.

What makes it worse is that the last two days have been sunny and beautiful the way only Vancouver can be in the fall and I’m on the late shift  – the morning was just perfect to go for a run in Mundy park but the ankle said no.

Trying to take it day by day but oh this sucks

Don’t get cocky

I’m a little late in posting this but well thats me.

I am not a fast runner, and I never will be. I’m a bit bigger than most of the other runners I see lined up at 10k’s and 1/2 marathons and most of them can run circles around me, but I’m ok with that.

I go out, I get it done and can keep going after. I don’t collapse in a heap after a 1/2, I go walk the dog.

So I’m not fast but I’m strong.

Lately I’ve been trying to work on my speed. I reduced my running over the summer and taught a Learn to Run group. In theory this was to let me do some speed work on my own – yeah didn’t really happen. But the break from long runs did allow my legs to recharge and helped heal any damage that may have been happening from over a year of clinics and races.

My best 1/2 is 2:23:09. my best 10K is 64 minutes and my best 5K is just over 32. And I would really like to cut that down a bit. I’d love a sub 60 10 or a sub 30 k….

Anyway I took the summer to recover and I was still getting out there, running 5 days a week, three times with the clinic (and some of that was barely running) and at least twice more (usually more) with Ruby. She had a shoulder strain so she needed the slow rebuild as well.

Sept 30 was Run for the Cure and I have a love hate with that event  – is a great cause but it is emotionally draining and I do not like crowds. Despite the congested start and all the deaking and weaving I had to do to get a good pace I managed my fastest 5K to date, coming in at just over 32, 90 seconds faster than my previous best from March.

I was pretty happy with that. I set my sites at 30 minutes for the Oct 21 Rubber Ducky. I wouldn’t have to doge nordic walkers and wouldn’t have to deal with the emotions that can come form Run for the Cure

Then I got cocky

I was running with a 10K group, three times a week, slowly building the distance up so 5 thats like nothing right?

Two days before the race I donated blood then I ate poorly.

The result?

I tanked.

Ok it wasn’t that bad, just not what I was aiming for. 34 minutes, 6th in my age group.

First 10 was perfect, next 5 was starting to get hard – the last 15 minutes WAY harder than it should have been.

Lesson learned – do not get cocky, poor eating and such can make even an easy race hard

The truth is out there

Lets talk about calories, weight and all that.

I have a friend that is quite overweight. We were chatting over sewing halloween costumes the other day and she said she was going to talk to her Dr about her weight.

I’m pretty happy about this, she’s been carrying about 100 extra pounds for quite a while so her wanting to talk to her Dr means she is perhaps finally in the right head space to do something about it. I think that being overweight is like being depressed or an addict – until you are ready for change nothing works.

But thats not what I wanted to get into, today.

This friend is pretty sedentary and has been walking 2 times a week and about 6 weeks ago she added swing dancing and she is disappointed that this extra cardio has not lead to weight loss.

It made me think about how people often have unrealistic expectations on what activity can do.

Yes walking twice a week and dancing is great. It will help increase blood flow and get the body in better shape but its not going to drop pounds without some other changes.

Lets look at the math.

At 5’4 and 260 lbs you can assume that living burns around 2200 calories, (

thats around 80-90 per hour.

Lets replace 1.5 hours of sittting (burning about 130 calories) with dancing – swing burns 300-500 per hour if you are moving the entire time. she’s not so lets say she burns 400 calories in 90 minutes – now subtract what she would have burned watching hockey night in canada 400-130=270.

Hey don’t get me wrong, 270 calories is great but if we go with the rule of thumb that it takes 3500 to loose a pound it means it will take 12 weeks to loose one pound!

People assume that getting a good workout will answer all their weight issues – it doesn’t.

Lets take a run as an example. You run 5K race at a good pace and grab a bagel from the snack bin after. Guess what? Those two things cancel each other out. Running burns about 100 calories a mile, 5K is 3.1 miles so a 140 pound person (more for us heavier types) burns 300-340 calories in a race.

Guess how many calories are in a bagel?

You got it 300-330.

Am I saying that the answer is not in activity? No, I’m not. You do need to get moving, even at a comfortable pace like walking or dancing to help your body create muscle so that when you change your calorie intake you drop that fat and not the more important muscle tissue. The best solution is to combine balanced eating with activity and not fall into that “I went for a run/worked out so I can eat whatever I want” trap

trust me, I’ve done it too.

Totally swiped post

Many of these points are peeves of mine, 8 in paticular
How can you have your best race day?1. Pay for Your Spot. Running in a race you haven’t entered, also called “banditing”, is not fair to race organizers, volunteers, and especially the people who have paid to participate. It’s also unsafe, since race organizers plan their course amenities, such as water and spo

rts drinks, and medical assistance based on the number of people who have signed up for the race. Overcrowded race conditions can lead to falls and other problems.2. Pin your race number on the front of your shirt or shorts. This is where it’s most visible for photographers and race officials.3. Line Up Properly. Nothing is more annoying to a runner at the start of a race than having to weave around slower runners after the gun goes off. Faster runners should line up at the front of the starting line, slower runners and walkers at the back. Some races have corrals based on estimated pace or post pace signs. If not, ask runners nearby their anticipated pace, and if it’s faster than yours, move further back. Most races use timing tags, so the time it takes you to reach the starting line won’t count in your final net time. If you’re walking in a group stay to the back of the pack and walk no more than two abreast on the race course.

4. Pay attention to the pre-race instructions! Sometimes there are last minute course changes or important announcements. This is not the time to be blasting your favorite song on your iPod!

5. Keep to the right! If you need to stop, walk, stretch or tie your shoe, move over to the side of the course, preferably the right side. It’s ok to stop and walk, just don’t stop in the middle of the road. You could get hurt, someone could hit you from behind etc. Move over to the side when you need to stop. As a general rule, stay to the right except to pass other runners.

6. Don’t take up the whole road! Many of us race for fun but some take it a little bit more seriously. For those that have invested many hours training, give them a clear path to run their best race. If you’re walking a race, keep to the right. Don’t walk (or run!) more than two abreast so others have room to pass.

7. When going through the aid stations you don’t have to grab the first cup. In big races there are lots of volunteers handing out cups, so don’t swerve over to grab the first cup you see; go on a little bit where it’s less crowded. Grab your cup, thank the volunteer and continue to move forward away from the table and the crowd. Don’t block others from accessing the aid tables or the volunteers handing out fluids.

8. After you drink, look around before tossing your cup. It’s usually best to toss it to the side of the road and not just drop it at your feet (and don’t toss it over your shoulder, especially if it’s not empty!) If you see trash cans try to aim for them. If you’re past the garbage then toss the cup to the side so there’s no risk of someone slipping on it. The same goes for any other garbage – gel/fuel wrappers etc. Toss your garbage to the side, or put it in your pocket, so it doesn’t pose a hazard to others.

9. If you have to spit, blow your nose or vomit, move to the side of the road. Bodily functions are a fact of life during a race. It happens. Be courteous.

10. Thank the volunteers. They’re out there just as long as you are (many longer!) but are not getting any glory or endorphin high, so smile and say thank you when you can. Sometimes just a smile or thumbs up can make their day!

11. Finish strong. Once! If a friend or family member is running the last stretch with you and isn’t in the race, he/she should move off the course before the finish chute starts. If you’ve already crossed the finish line and have returned to the course to finish the race with a friend or family member, don’t cross the finish line a second time. Move off the course and allow your friend to have their own moment of glory!

12. At the finish, keep on moving. There are going to be people sprinting in behind you, so grab your medal and keep on walking a little further until you’re out of the crowd. From there you can find a safe, open spot to remove your timing chip, stretch, sit, get some water etc without being run over by other runners or affecting anyone else’s finish.

13. ALWAYS follow the instructions of the race officials along the course, paying close attention at the start and finish of the race.

Everyone wants to have a great race experience, so just remember the golden rule: treat the runners behind you as you’d like to be treated by the runners ahead of you! 🙂

Clothes make the runner

Suddenly its fall and in Vancouver that means rain and sometimes RAIN (that is when the rain hits the ground and bounces to your knees). Its days like these where the thing that keeps you moving on your run isn’t how strong your legs are or how many hills you can do, its your clothes.

I think that on a wet fall day nothing challenges a runner more than what they are wearing. Do you feel cold? Too humid and warm? Are you wet? Do have a slight chafe that you know will be a major problem in a few km?

Everyone has their own prefrence in clothing. Some people are cold and need to bundle, others (like me) tend to “run hot” and need to expose more skin or wear fewer layers. 

The key is to wear the wicking fabrics. The same smart socks that wick the sweat from your feet will also keep the rain water off your toes. Same with pants – last week I ran 8K in the heavy rain and despite being drenched I didn’t feel wet. My overpriced tights suddenly seemed like the bargain of a lifetime.

And my socks, loved my $12 socks. Ran though a couple billion puddles and my feet would feel wet for a moment then magically dry despite my orthotics being totally saturated.

Polyester and nylon don’t hold a lot of moisture so even when fully saturated they aren’t heavy with excess water, unlike my poor dog who I think weighed 5lbs more at the end of our run that at the start.