Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My inspirational song!

To me, there's nothing more powerful than a great song when I'm running. No matter how tired I am, when I hear a particular song it seems to breath new life into my tired legs and I manage to keep going. I've adopted a Jackson Browne song as my own. It's a song that was featured in the movie Forrest Gump.

The song is called "Running on Empty" and for me it symbolizes the feeling that I get when I have to dig deep when I'm not at my strongest. Even though I'm using this as an inspiration for my running, in many ways it can be used for anything we do in life. There are times when we are not going to be at our physical, mental or emotional "best" and it is during these times that we have to find the inner strength to keep going on. Some people call it "will power" but whatever you call it try to remember that we all have to capability to push ourselves to the limit when we need to.

Here are the lyrics:

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
Looking back at the years gone by like so many summer fields
In sixty-five I was seventeen and running up one-o-one
I don't know where I'm running now, I'm just running on

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Gotta do what you can just to keep your love alive
Trying not to confuse it with what you do to survive
In sixty-nine I was twenty-one and I called the road my own
I don't know when that road turned onto the road I'm on

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Everyone I know, everywhere I go
People need some reason to believe
I don't know about anyone but me
If it takes all night, that'll be all right
If I can get you to smile before I leave

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too

Running on - running on empty
Running on - running blind
Running on - running into the sun
But I'm running behind

Honey you really tempt me
You know the way you look so kind
I'd love to stick around but I'm running behind
You know I don't even know what I'm hoping to find
Running into the sun but I'm running behind

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Week 3 training recap.

Last week's weight: 155
Today's weight: 153.5

Body Fat: 11.5%
Eating Scale: 6 out of 10

Total distance this week (January 20-28): 80K

Monday: Total day of rest. I decided not to work out today in preparation for my tempo run with Coach Ken on Tuesday. This was something that I am still getting used to because I love to do something physically active each day but I resisted the urge.

Tuesday: The day of rest and proper sleep the night before paid huge dividends as I had my best tempo run so far. I ended up running the 10K route in 48:22 which worked out to a 4:51 pace. When I factored in the warm up and cool down part of the tempo, my pace was around a 4:30 to 4:40 kilometer clip. I was definitely winded and pushing it for most of the way.

Wednesday: I did a comfortable 14 k run with an average pace of 5:43. It was nice and very necessary to take it slowly today as I was feeling a little sore from yesterdays’ tempo run.

Thursday: On one of the coldest days of the year (-25C with wind chill), I ventured out with my buddy Rob for 7 sets of hills. When we actually got to the hills it wasn’t too bad but I’m sure both of us were wondering why we decided to do this today. I did all 7 hills under a 5 minute K which was my goal.

Friday: This was supposed to be another day of rest but I decided to do a little bit of weight training on my stability ball as well as some abdominal work. I finished with about 30 minutes on the exercise bike.

Saturday: Saturday’s are one of my most favorite running days as I get to run in the place I’m most comfortable in (trails). I did 8K which seemed to feel more like 12K but the conditions were great.

Sunday: As I write this I just finished running 24K with an average pace of 5:30. This was a little faster than a usual long slow distance day but I was feeling good so I pushed it a little bit.

Eating overview: I’ve given myself a low score this week because I went out to eat twice. Even though I love the socialization part, I realize that it’s hard to make great choices when you go out to eat. I’ve been trying to be so focused on my training and this includes eating healthy at least 80% of the time. Thankfully my weight went down a little but psychologically I know I could have had a better eating week. When you realize that your goal can and will be affected by your eating choices you tend to want to focus harder on making sure that all aspects of your training are being fulfilled. Sadly, when you decide to go to a restaurant to eat, this control is taken away from you. In my case it sets up feeling of guilt but I’ve learned to do my best to not let it snowball into something bigger. As I tell my clients, you need to look forward not backwards so this is what I will do as well.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Week 2 re-cap!

The feedback I've gotten from those who read my site is that they like the updates I've been doing so I will continue to do so. I'm also going to start recording my ending weight and a recap of my eating for the past week. I want to run my races at 150 or lighter so this will help me keep on track and hopefully give you some insight into my own eating.

Last week's weight: 160
This week's Weight: 155

Eating Recap: This week I tried to decrease my carbs a little bit at dinner but I noticed that when I came home from the gym ( sometimes 9PM) my cravings for carbs increased. Because I run so early in the morning (6AM) I decided to eat some rice cakes and a few yogurts before going to bed. Before my run I always have 1/2 banana and a cup of tea. My post run meal is always a protein shake with 1/2 banana and about 1 cup of blueberries.
I snack on yogurt, fruit, cheese strings, carrots, zone perfect protein bars or cliff bars and cottage cheese.
My lunch is almost always the same. 1/2 carton of egg whites, some feta cheese and sometimes some turkey. I form this into an omelet and I serve it with 1/3 cup of oats with cinnamon, splenda and 1 tbsp. of natural peanut butter.
I would give my eating a score of 7 out of 10 this week (YES, NOBODY, including me is perfect (LOL)

Monday I rode the stationary bike for 90 minutes and did some core training.

Tuesday was supposed to be a tempo run but the sidewalks were frozen and snow covered which made this close to impossible. Still I managed a decent run with Coach Ken!

Wednesday was a nice slow 12K run with Theresa and Jane with a pace of about 5:40K.

Thursday was my hill training day and I did 6 hill repeats with a 3K warm up and cool down. I kept the hill repeats under 5K which was what I was hoping for. The hill training is becoming harder as I was very sore on the way home.

Friday was my 20K long slow run which I just finished. I kept it nice and slow which was relatively easy to do given the fact that my quads were still sore from the day before. I had a nice salt bath when I came back which helped.

Saturday will be a day off (whew) but I'll probably ride the stationary bike for about an hour.

Sunday: I'll aim for about a 10K slow run.

I'm really starting to enjoy this program because each day is a completely different "animal" and I'm learning to run smarter as a result.

What do you think about when you are running/working out?

My running friends know that I have the worst sense of direction out of anyone (right Rob?). The reasons for this is that I not only get lost along the route but I also get lost in "thought" when I'm running. I actually enjoy this part of running more than anything else as it allows me to escape and do some deep thinking while getting exercise.

When I go out for runs, especially the long ones (over 20K) like I will today I will be thinking about my life. What I've accomplished and what I need to accomplish. I'll think about the great friends I've met since I started running. I'll think about my kids and what lies ahead for them in the future. Sometimes I'll just sing silently to my music. Mostly, though I will have a smile on my face as I can't think of a better way to spend my free time.

Running beyond any other activity I've ever done gives me the ability to do this. I'll have plenty of time to do this as it will take me roughly 2 hours to run this distance. Some people who run say that they have never experienced the runners "high" but I get it almost every time I lace up my shoes. I think I can count on one hand the number of "bad" runs I've had. This pales in comparison to the hundreds of runs I've had since I started running in July of 2005. I actually feel sad for the people who say that for them, the best part of their run is when they are finished.

Whether your favorite activity is running, walking, cycling or weight training, I hope that you appreciate the fact that you are doing something both mentally and physically good for your mind, body and soul.

Top 5 reasons that you KNOW you have an addiction to running

My passion is without doubt running and I know there are many of you who feel the same way. I present to you the 5 top reasons that I know I am addicted to running:

5. After completing a run (no matter what distance) I'm already thinking about when and where my next run will be.

4. When I look at my internet "favorites" I notice that my running list is overflowing with links to running magazines, races and nutrition related to running.

3. I keep thinking about how I can involve running in EVERYTHING I do.

2. When looking for new songs for my mp3 player I try to find songs that are about 4-5 minutes in length which is the usual time for me to run 1KM.

1. I watched Forest Gump last Sunday but only until I had seen the running part of the movie. You know, where he runs for over 2 years straight. My only thought was, I wish I could do this. OH, and of course as soon as the movie was over I had to download Running on Empty by Jackson Browne (a VERY inspirational song for runners).

Monday, January 15, 2007

Grocery Shopping Tips

1. Don’t go shopping when you are hungry. If possible eat something before you go shopping or take a bottle of water with you to the grocery store. This will prevent buying unnecessary items on impulse.

2. Make a list AND a plan.
Decide what food you want to eat between now and the next time you go grocery shopping. If you grocery shop once per week then decide what you will eat for this week. Go through your cupboards and fridge and make a list of what you will need for the next week.

3. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store first. Grocery stores strategically place items around the store. The healthier food is found around the outside and as you move towards the inside you find the canned/pre-packaged items. These have less nutritional value than the items found on the outside of the store.

4. Educate yourself on how to read food labels.
(typical food label will look like this)

Saturated Fat:
Trans Fat:

You have to remember that each food has different serving sizes and before deciding to purchase that particular food, ask yourself how much of that food do you consume at one time? Does “your” serving size match the serving size listed on the package?
When looking at the ingredients listed on the package, remember that items are always listed from highest to lowest.

5. Watch for hidden words or phrases. If an item listed on the ingredient list ends is “ose” you can be sure that it is a type of sugar. Other things to eliminate are Trans Fats, High Fructose Corn Syrup and oils such as coconut and palm kernel. In most cases, the less ingredients a product has, the better it is for you.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Week 1 training report

So, this is what Marathon training looks like!
I've finished most of my runs for the week (still have a trail run tomorrow and then a light run on Sunday) and I'm beginning to understand the kind of effort it will take for me to achieve my goal of Boston.

On Monday I took the day off from running and rode the stationary bike for 80 minutes.

Tuesday came my tempo run with Ken and we pushed it pretty hard (for me anyway) and finished doing the 10K at a sub 5 minute pace. At one point during the run I brought my heart rate down considerably and then raced up the final Kilometre. This was by far the hardest part of the run but once I was finished I felt amazing. There were times where I actually thought I was going to throw up but thankfully this didn't happen. I got some great tips from Ken about breathing which I will use on my subsequent runs.

Wednesdays are turning out to be one of my favorite running days as I got to run a nice easy 8.5K run with Theresa and Jane. This was a good time to catch up on some good conversations and also get a good run in at the same time. It was nice not going too fast for this one.
After the run I rode the stationary bike for 40 minutes and this helped get rid of the lactic acid that had accumulated from the run.

Thursday was my first attempt at hill training in months and Nancy and I did 5 sets of hills. By the end of this I was gassed. I can see how this will help when my marathon comes around. I tried to keep a consistent pace from hill 1 to 5 and when I checked my pace it was below a 5 minute Kilometre which was what I was hoping for. In the afternoon I did some core training and a little bit of weights. I haven't lifted weights in months and it felt a little strange at first. I don't want to put on any weight because I feel lighter on my feet at my current weight (155 pounds) and I know it has helped increase my speed.

Today Nancy and I ran 21K at a slow pace (5:45K) and I was feeling sore by the end. This is the longest I've run since my marathon in December but it felt good to get this done. What made the run fun was finishing at the Pickering Running Room. It feels so much like "home" to me when I go there. While there I was asked to do a nutrition talk for one of the learn to run clinics. I've done plenty of these and love doing them.

Although week 1 was a challenge, I'm looking forward to doing even better in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I want Boston!

There, I said it!

When I first started running about 1.5 years ago, I fell in love with Trail Running and while those around me talked about the Holy Grail of marathons (Boston) I turned the other way and focused on trail running. Don't get me wrong. I still love trail running and was proud of my accomplishments from last year but something happened in November of 2006 which changed my thought proccess.

While training for a December marathon last year there was a 10 Mile race in Whitby which I had to do as part of my training. I had never really pushed myself to run a "fast" race before because when you run trails it forces you to be a little more cautious and slower than on the roads. With the encouragement from my great running friends (Nancy, Theresa, Miriam and Ken) I decided to race this particular event. To my amazement I was able to run a 4:35KM pace for 10 miles (1:13). I was hoping to do it in 1:20 so this gave me plenty of confidence as I prepared for my upcoming marathon in December.

Then came my marathon in December. I again was hoping for between a 3:45 to 3:50 time but felt great along the way and ended up with a 3:39 finish.

My goals for this year were to complete a 50 mile race in May and then run a marathon in the fall (Scranton). After doing some serious thinking, however, I have decided to concentrate on improving my marathon time. I understand that this will be a huge undertaking but I'm willing to put in the time and effort to make this a reality.

I will need to run a 3:20 marathon time in order to qualify for Boston in 2008 and it will more than likely take me the whole year to prepare for this. Thankfully I have great runners who inspire me on a daily basis and I have already started to train for the Mississauga marathon in May. Instead of the 20+ races I did last year, I will focus my attention on some 5 and 10K races to improve my speed and do a few trail runs for "fun." My hope is to take off a few minutes from my personal best in Mississauga and then do the Scranton Marathon in October (http://www.steamtownmarathon.com/)

Tomorrow I start a 5 week hill training program as part of my marathon training. This will be something new to me so it should be interesting.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Finding your "passion"

It comes as no surprise to those that know me best (Nancy, Theresa, Miriam) that running is indeed my passion. When I'm not running I'm usually "thinking" about my next training run or researching the latest running magazines on the Internet. I've only recently discovered running about 1.5 years ago and still have much to learn about the sport. Thankfully this passion has not caused any major injuries (bumps on the head from trail running notwithstanding). As I learn more about this great sport I'm also getting wiser with my training. When you realize that what you love the most could be taken away in an instant it makes you appreciate it more. Unfortunately two of my best friends have been suffering from some injuries of their own and just now are beginning to return. These two women have far more running experience and expertise than I do and I've learned so much from them. Their injuries have made me understand that I don't have to go full-tilt with every run.

This week I begin my training schedule and I will actually have to train less than I have in the past. I'm also going to cut back considerably on the number of races this upcoming season and instead focus on roughly one per month (instead of the 25+ races I did last year). My goal races are a 50 Mile race in May and finishing a Marathon in 3:30 or better (probably at the Scranton Marathon in the fall).

I believe that it is very important for everyone to find their passion in life. This needs to be something that is important to you and something that you realize you cannot live without. It can drive you to complete things that you otherwise found unattainable. It can also have a trickle down effect into other areas of your life. My passion has improved both my personal and professional life. It has given me an opportunity to meet 3 of the best friends I could ever ask for. Your passion should be something that is rewarding and something that is a priority in your life. Some may call it selfish but it is something that only you will truly understand and you should never have to apologize for. It has taken me years to discover my passion and I firmly believe that it can happen to anyone at anytime. If you haven't found yours then I urge you to try different things and don't be afraid to fail. There is absolutely no way that I would have thought that my passion was running 2 years ago. I only wish that I would have found it sooner.