Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

By

And now we taper

It has been 14 weeks since I started training for the Montreal demi-marathon. BlissThis training has been quite a bit different than my previous training sessions. Differences include:

  • Over those 14 weeks, I’ve run all my runs straight through – no more 10-and-1s for me.
  • I’ve run the majority of my runs in my zone 1 heart rate zone and done a few zone 3 runs – though not nearly as many as I should have. And I’ve done some zone 2 (which is the zone I’ll run my race in) at the end of some of my long runs, but, as with zone 3, not really as much as I should have.
  • I’ve been alternating between two different pairs of running shoes

One thing that has been similar to my previous training session, despite using a different training plan, my weekend long runs have still increased in distance each week, save for a few recovery weeks where the “long” run got shorter. Yesterday, I ran my last really long run of this round of training – 20 km. Which means now the tapering begins!

Tapering is where you decrease the volume of running you are doing to allow your body to recover from the training you’ve done so that you are in tip-top shape on race day. You don’t get to slack off completely – the schedule I’m using calls for a couple of runs this week where you warm up for 10 minutes, run as fast as you can handle for 30 minutes and then cool down for 10 minutes. Next week it goes to 10-20-10. And next weekend my “long” run is 14 km – so less than this week’s 20 km by a fair margin, but still a long run to be sure!

As you can tell by the photo of my foot – yes that is a blister on top of a blister which has a blister inside of it! – my poor feet sure won’t mind running a fewer kilometers for the next two weeks!

By

Road to #12

Hey remember that most recent time I set a goal of running a sub-2 hour half marathon, specifically for this year’s BMO Vancouver, which will be my 12th half marathon? Since I’m really, really, really going to dedicate myself to my training and not flake out on it and tell myself that finishing the race is good enough1 this time, I went for my first training run (and my first run in *eight* weeks!) on my lunch break today.

Snail

My Runkeeper app doesn’t pull any punches. Apparently not going for any runs in December makes me a snail.

As usual, I’m following the training plan from the Running Room‘s book on running2 – except for the part where I’m actually going to follow the plan3. I’ve also signed up for a Sunday morning running clinic so that I have people to do my long runs with, which is through Fit First4. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Back to today’s training run.

As I mentioned, I hadn’t been out running in two months (!), so I was expecting be sucking wind on today’s run. Instead, I actually felt fine. And not only did I feel fine, but I ran a significantly faster pace than I usually do, though it didn’t feel like I was running faster. I think maybe there really is something to this whole “recovery” thing I keep hearing about.

Today’s run5 was slated to be a 3 km tempo run, targeted at 5:55 per km. Since I was running on my lunch, I decided to set up my Runkeeper app to have a 5 minute warmup, which is enough to get me away from the busy street on which I work and past the long streetlight on another major street, so that I could focus on running uninterrupted along the seawall, in the hopes that I could reach the target 5:55 pace. And as you can see from this handy dandy screen shot, I was practically on my target pace for the warm up, and then well within the pace for the necessary 3 km (outlined in red):

3 km tempo run(The last “1 km” is really just a small fraction of a km and included me stopping at the aforementioned stoplight as I geared down for my cool down).

I have to say, I was pretty chuffed that I was able to achieve the target pace and that I didn’t feel like puking from it. Honestly, I was really surprised when my app told me what my pace was (as it was set up to tell me my pace every 1 km) and thought that there must have been a glitch where it thought I’d run further than I had, as I felt the same as I do when I run my usual ~6:30 per km pace! I think what we can learn from this is that my internal speedometer, like my internal compass and my gay-dar, is broken.

Now here’s hoping that this run is a harbinger for the rest of my training6!

  1. To clarify, I do think that finishing a half marathon is an accomplishment and, in fact, I recommend to people running their first half marathon that “finishing their race” is a fantastic goal. But I’ve run 11 of them now, so I know I can do them. I really think it’s time to challenge myself. []
  2. And, as usual when I mention a company here on ye old blog, I have no affiliation with the Running Room, other than the fact that I spend a bunch of my money there. []
  3. As opposed to what I usually end up doing, which is just the long run on the weekend and one short jog during the week – nowhere near the 5 days per week of running that the plan calls for. []
  4. I also have no affiliation with Fit First, other than having paid to join their running clinic, albeit through Groupon, so I didn’t pay that much. []
  5. which was actually scheduled for tomorrow, but I have a hockey game tomorrow night, so to avoid tiring out my legs with a run on a game day, I did the run today. []
  6. *Knocks on wood* []

By

Good Night, Sweet Sharkies

For the past few years, I’ve been using Sharkies Organic Sports Chews1 as my electrolyte and sugar replenisher on my long runs. They are super tasty and full of nutrition-y goodness. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that they’ve been discontinued!!

I finished what I thought was my last pack of Sharkies2 on my long run last Sunday3 and so I went to London Drugs the other day to get some more… but they did have any. However, they also didn’t have the coffee or the tea that I usually buy there, so I assumed that LD decided that it hated me and thus had stopped carrying the stuff that I buy there. I cursed the fact that the Thrifty grocery store in New West was turned into a Save-On, as Thrifty had carried Sharkies whereas I’ve never seen them at Save-On4. But then I remembered that the Running Room carries them and there just so happened to be a Running Room right by the LD. And that is where I was told the news: Sharkies are no more!

Sharkies

RIP Sharkies

The salesperson at the Running Room told me that the closet product to Sharkies – in terms of nutrient content, taste, and consistency – is Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews:

Honey StingersHowever, this week in my half marathon training plan is the week where I get a bit of a break, with my “long” run being only 12 km. 12 km does not warrant electrolyte and sugar replenishment, so I’ll be waiting until next weekend’s 18 km run to try these guys out. I’ll be sure to report back on my findings!

 

  1. As per usual, I have no relationship whatsoever to the companies/products mentioned in this blog posting, other than the fact that I bought these products. No one ever tries to bribe me – life is so unfair! []
  2. As it turned out, I later discovered another package hiding in my linen closet! []
  3. As an aside, I made the silly, silly decision to do a 16 km run last Sunday, which is the usual distance that my training program would have me for that week of training for the June 22 Scotiabank Half Marathon – oh yeah, I’m doing the Scotiabank Half Marathon in June… I don’t think I’ve mentioned that here on ye old blog yet! – but I hadn’t been doing the previous weeks long runs. I mean, I did my Hollywood Half Marathon in April and then decided that I needed a few weeks off from long distances to recover, and then I got busy, and then I did the 8 km race so I couldn’t do a long run that weekend, and then various other excuses, and only now that I’ve officially registered for the Scotiabank half am I taking it serious that I need to train. OK, wait, what was I talking about? Oh yes, I made the silly, silly decision to jump from an 8 km run one weekend to a 16 km run the next. I did the run fine, but my quads were freaking sore for the next four days! []
  4. Also, Thrifty is just a way, way better store than Save-On! []

By

2 Weeks ‘Til My 10th Half Marathon!

Hollywood Half marathon badge

This morning Alicia and I ran our last long run in our training for the Hollywood Half Marathon! As so often happens with our training, we set out with the best intentions of doing our training seriously and attempting for personal bests. I mean, I was just finishing up the running study I was participating in that required me to run four days per week, which meant I was in the groove of training and had set a good foundation for the training for this half. But, as also so often happens, training plans did not go according to plan. I blame a combination of darkness, snain1, and the plague.

Usually when I run a half marathon in the spring, it happens in May (BMO Vancouver) or June (Scotiabank Vancouver, Edge to Edge in Tofino), which means that by the time I have to start training, the days are long enough that it’s still light out when I get home from work, so I can throw on my running shoes and do my training. Not so when you train for an early April race – for most of the training period, it’s dark when you leave for work and it’s dark when you get home. And since I hate treadmills with the fire of thousand suns – and was extremely sick of treadmills after completing the running study – I just couldn’t motivate myself to go to the gym to do my running. And then it seemed like every time I made a plan to go for a run after work – usually in a valiant effort to do my hill training or speed work – it would snain. Or snow. Or some other ridiculous thing that would make it rather unsafe to go running up and down a hill. And then, about two weeks ago, probably precipitated by running 18 km and playing three playoff hockey games in one weekend, I got sick. I’m pretty sure it’s just a really bad cold, but it was so bad that I actually had to stay home from work! If you know me, you know that I almost never stay home from work2 so the fact that I stayed home meant I was pretty much on my death bed. I woke up with a screaming sore throat, a massive headache, a bunch of other random aches and pains and was fully intending to go to work, but when I got up and fed the cats and found that just opening a can of cat food exhausted me, I called in sick. And then slept for 6 more hours, despite having slept a full night’s sleep. Since then, I’ve been trying to be reasonable, which for me means I’ve only run my long runs (18 km last Saturday and 20 km today) and played my hockey games, and have deliberately rested to try to recover3. I’m feeling a fair bit better today than I have been, except for the lingering cough. Poor Alicia had to listen to me coughing for the entire 20 km of our run. I’ve got two weeks to shake this cough before the race, so hopefully I still don’t have it when we fly down to LA!

If you happen to find any typos in this blog posting, it’s not my fault. I blame my copy editor:

Crick is helping me blog

  1. Snain is a portmanteau of snow and rain and I used it to describe this precipitation that we get in Vancouver where it’s not quite snow, but not quite rain. It combines the making-you-soaking-wet-when-you-are-out-in-it property of rain with the coldness of snow and somehow the synergy of the two makes for the worst kind of precipitation to run in. []
  2. A habit that I picked up from my father, the man with the world’s most incredible work ethic in the history of work ethic. []
  3. I really haven’t been pleased about this given that it’s smack in the middle of the 90 day challenge, but I guess it’s a combination of (a) me trying to be sensible for once and (b) the fact that this virus (I’m assuming it’s a cold that I have) being particularly virulent in the making-me-exhausted department, so I haven’t had the energy to do much else. []

By

Men Wanted

So you know that running study1 I was telling you about yesterday? They need more men to join. The study is meant to look at if sex is a risk factor for running injuries, so they need to have both males and females and right now they have more females. So boys, if you are interested in running and interested in science, this group is chalk full of fit ladies! Just sayin’.

If you are interested, you can tweet the study manager at @justdoitYVR or email ubc.amsmc.research@gmail.com.

  1. Also, at the running group this morning, we met the Principal Investigator for the study, Jack Taunton. He’s a sports med doctor who was the Chief Medical Officer for the 2010 Olympics and founded both the Sun Run and the Vancouver International Marathon, among other achievements. So, you know, a total slacker. []

By

Classic

Fall Classic, to be specific.

Yup, Alicia and I have registered for yet another half marathon. This time, it’s the Fall Classic race out at UBC in November. The route is, in my opinion, not ideal as it involves a double loop, which means that you start, you run a loop back to where you started and then you have to go back out and do the loop again! I don’t like the double loop because when my brain sees the place I started it goes “Hooray! We must be finished! Wait, we have to do that ALL OVER AGAIN? Nooooooooo!!”

Fall Classic half marathon route

Plus, as you can see from the elevation chart above, it’s a wee bit hilly, and we know how much I love hilly half marathons. But unlike the Edge-to-Edge, (a) I’m going into this with my eyes open that there will be hills, (b) I know these particular hills, as I’ve done my fair share of running out at UBC, and (c) I’m actually doing some hill training this time!

Also on the plus side, it’s a local race, whereas the other fall races that we were looking at were all ones that involved traveling somewhere. Not like any crazy cool destinations, but just far enough that we’d have to take a ferry or drive a long time and get a hotel and whatnot.

In related news, I made a graph of all my half marathon finish times because all data should always be graphed, always and forever, and things aren’t really looking too good:

half marathon finish times by date

As you can clearly see, my finish times have gotten steadily worse since my personal best in October 2010. Note that the abysmal finish of October 2007 was the result of a foot injury – I had to limp the last ~6 km of that race. But if things keep progressing the way they are going, I’m going to be taking that long to run a half marathon without an injury! In an attempt to stem this tide, I think I’ll need to be a little more serious about my training – and my stretching and foam rolling, this time around.

In also related news, I needed a new pair of running shoes as my old pair had given up the ghost, but when I went out to buy some, I discovered this:

Apparently all the running shoe companies got together and decided that the theme for this year's shoes should be "hideousness".

Seriously, every pair of running shoes that you can buy right now is some combination of garish colours. What happened to the good old days when I could just get a pair of white and red or white and blue shoes? But no, now I have to buy “titanium/mint green/hot pink”:

Day 57

The salesperson who sold me the shoes seemed to be quite offended that I thought every pair she brought out was hideous and garish. She actually said to me, in a most offended voice, “They aren’t *garish*! They are just bright colours!”1 I don’t know why she was getting so offended – it’s not like she designed them herself! At any rate, every pair was hideously ugly, so I had to make my purchase decision solely on comfort2. And the “titanium/mint green/hot pink” pair did feel pretty good on my feet. However, the hideously ugly laces on this hideously ugly shoes were actually way too short. So short, in fact, that in order to tie them up, they ended up pinching my feet, or else there wasn’t enough lace to make a bow. After doing a few runs like this – and whining about it – I finally went out and bought some new, longer and non-hideous laces:

Day 78

And now not only are my shoes entirely comfortable, but the white laces take the edge off the hideousness. Plus, on the one run that I’ve done since having these new laces3, I was substantially faster than my other runs of late. Clearly, the hideous laces were holding me back. Plus, at the end of that run, this kickass rainbow came out:

So my new laces are not only performance-enhancing, but they also make rainbows happen!

  1. Guess no one ever told her that the customer is always right! []
  2. Which I suppose is really what I should do anyway. But usually I at least have some options that are both comfortable and decent looking! []
  3. Not counting tonight’s hill run, because those are, by definition, slow. []

By

Run, Dr. Beth, Run

When I started my MBA, I decided that there were certain things that I would have to give up in order to make time for school. One of those things that I said I was going to sacrifice was training for half marathons. As it turns out, I’m a filthy, filthy liar!

The thing is, at first I did give up on my running ways. Which resulted in my gaining 10+ lbs and feeling like a big pile of crappity crap. And then, a few weeks ago while out on one of the few runs I’d allowed myself to go on this year, I remembered how good it felt to run. How much my body loves to move. How refreshed my brain feels after working out my body. And I came to the realization that I just can’t afford to keep putting off my health. I mean, I have two years left in this program1 – can I really just say, “I’ll worry about being healthy two years from now!”? I’m too old for that.

Now, I know that there are only so many hours in the day. But I ca,e to the recognition that I’d truly rather be fit-and-B-student than fat-and-an-A-student2. I’m learning a hellava lot in school and they give us a hellava lot to do, but with a little bit of organization, I can get what I need to get done  – remembering that I don’t have to have the top mark in the class – and still make time for running. I *have* to make time for running. Plus, my brain works a lot more efficiently when I’m exercising regularly, so if I can fit in an hour of running after work and then do my homework after that in a much more focused way, I’m golden.

A short while later, while out on another run, I came to another important realization3. The Victoria Half Marathon is in the beginning of October, which means the lion’s share of the training for it occurs during the summer. As in when I don’t have classes4. And I know from past experience that if I don’t have a race that I’m training for, I just don’t get out running. So I came home from that run an announced to Devon, “We should run the Victoria Half Marathon!” To which he immediately agreed5.

And that’s how this happened:

Registered!

Well, actually, that’s an oversimplification. I went online to register for the race, but I got hung up for a while on the question “What would you like mentioned about you when you cross the finish line?” You see, when you run in these races, you have a timing chip on your shoe that records your race time. But it also means that the race announcers see a list of people’s names as they cross the finish line. So it appears that they are giving you the option to write in a little something so that instead of just announcing your name and city, they can add some excitement to the announcing by saying a little something about you. Of course, there’s so many people running the race that they won’t be able to say everyone’s name, so I figured I wanted to put something catchy in the hopes that the announcer actually says mine. But what to say?

Of course, I asked some friends, and Dr. Dan came up with:

zombies! run!

Because how hilarious would it be for the announcer to yell out to all the runners that the undead are hot on their heels?

Then I thought maybe this one would be funny:

SH eats kittens

But I figured that there would be 0% chance that they announcers would go for that. So I finally settled on an eternal truth after all races:

post-race beer

And while we are on the topic of running, did you know that yesterday was National Running Day (NRD)? Naturally, I celebrated by going for a run6. Happily, the running gods decided to bless us on NRD with the only day of not-raining we are going to get this week. But they also made it threaten to rain, with a few sprinkles here and there, to motivate me to run faster in hopes of avoiding the potential-rain. The running gods are nice like that. In the end, when I got home from my run, I checked my trusty Runkeeper App, which I use to track all my runs, and found that I had, in fact, run a better pace than I had been of late, and also that I’d run an awesome distance of awesomeness:
NRD

6.66 km! Tee hee7!

Anyhoo, all that to say that I’m back on the running bandwagon – though I don’t expect to be running as much as I did in the carefree days when I wasn’t a student. But I will at least do all the long runs in my training program and at least another run or two per week. Training officially starts on Sunday! Squee!

  1. Oh dear god, 2 years??? []
  2. To be more accurate, I’m only speaking of my own individual marks when it comes to this. For group work, I understand that other people are more concerned with marks, so group work always comes first and I’m always willing to go the extra mile for group work, at the expense of my individual work. And, so far, I’m firmly in the A range for both group and individual work despite having spent some time on being active, so I think this is something that I can manage. []
  3. See. I told you running makes me think better! []
  4. I do have a big group project to work on, but I’ll have much more flexibility over my schedule than when I have classes every third weekend. []
  5. See. I told you Devon is made of awesome! []
  6. After my teleconference with my project group from school and before coming home and reading about Business Ethics. See, I told you I could do all the things! []
  7. Don’t look at the “current pace”. It’s slow because it takes a minute for me to take my iPhone out of my arm band, unlock the screen, and stop the timer []

By

Running Update

Today was the Sun Run, so it seems like a good day to do an update on my running. Now, for the record, I did not do the Sun Run1 (but many congrats to all the people who did do it – Heather, Raj, Alicia & Paul – I’m looking at you!!). In fact, I have *never* done the Sun Run. Every year I think “I should do the Sun Run.” And then I remember that 60,000 other people have this exact same thought and the idea of trying to run through a crowd of that many people makes me claustrophobic, so I decide to skip it.

Instead, I chose to run this week’s long run – a 10 km, just like the Sun Run – yesterday. I happened to be in Vancouver to see my accountant and my investment person2, so I brought along my running gear so that I could run along one of my old Vancouver routes – the seaside route from about Oak to Kits beach. Running in Vancouver is SO MUCH BETTER than running in Surrey. And I’m not sure if it was the sunshine or the being next to water that inspired me, but I had a spectacular run. Like, I ran 30 seconds per km *faster* than last week’s long run! And it didn’t even feel like I was pushing myself too hard. It just felt good. Craziness! I don’t expect I’ll be able to maintain that speed as the long runs over the next few weeks increase by 2 km per week, but it sure was nice!

Day 299

Look at me being a good girl and actually doing my stretches after my long run!

Oh yes, I suppose I should mention that when I’m talking about “the long runs,” I’m referring to my training plan for the Scotiabank half marathon, which I’ll be doing in June. I’ve officially registered for both that and the 8 km at the BMO Vancouver International Marathon. w00t diddly w00t!

  1. I was actually asleep until after the run was over! []
  2. I was feeling particularly grown up seeing financial professionals and when I mentioned this to my investment lady, she laughed, paused, and then said, “So, the braces are new, eh?” Pwned! []

By

My New Running Shoes!

My recent executive decision to run the Scotiabank half marathon (in late June) instead of the BMO half marathon (in early May) has given me the chance for a do-over of my half marathon training, which wasn’t going well because of my aversion to winter weather. Well, I’ve decided to embrace this chance for a reset and have re-started my half marathon training in earnest1!

After my last few (relatively short) runs ended with achy feet, I came to the conclusion that it was time for a new pair of running shoes2! Since the fabulous SarahDave gave me a gift card to the Running Room to put towards a new pair of running shoes for Christmas, it was off to the Running Room I went!

Now, all the shoes that I’ve worn since I started running have been Asics, so I went into the store with the full intention of buying yet another pair of Asics Cumulus/Nimbus/[enter the name of cloud type here]. As per usual with the Running Room, the salesguy3 had me take off my shoes and walk around the store and then said, “Your gait is totally neutral. No pronation or supination! And, yup, the wear on your old shoes is totally even – neutral for sure!”4. But! They didn’t have the Asics Cumulus or Nimbus in my size! The horror, the horror!!  So he brought out some other shoes5: New Balance. Adidas. Saucony.

The Adidas ones were hideously ugly – bright freaking yellow – and extremely not comfortable. They had zero cushioning, though the salespeople told me this was to make them lightweight – a full 2 oz lighter than a normal pair. Seeing as I’ve never had trouble with my shoes feeling too heavy and I don’t envision enjoying running on what feels like rock, this pair was out of the running6 immediately.  The New Balance pair were OK, but they were nothing compared to the Saucony. The Saucony pair, in fact, reminded me of when I first met my first pair of Asics – so cushiony, hugging my feet like they were made for them! And that, my friends, is the story of how I decided to cheat on my running shoe brand and jumped into the figurative arms of a pair of Saucony Progrid Ride 3:

IMGP2384

  1. I’ve also registered for the race! []
  2. I did have my old shoes through the lion share of my Royal Victoria half marathon last year, plus that race, plus all my running since then. And need I remind you that I blew away my personal best at that race? Clearly, all that speed and distance must take a toll on one’s shoes []
  3. This was, for the record, the same salesguy who laughed at me when I showed up at the Running Room dressed in my running gear. He didn’t appear to recognize me in my street clothes. []
  4. Is it odd that I take pride in have this “neutral” gait? I mean, it isn’t actually something that I’ve done anything to make happen, yet I feel superior because of it []
  5. I suppose I could have gone to another Running Room store, but I was already at this one and figured I may as will give these ones a try before insisting on Asics []
  6. Bad running pun, FTW!! []

By

My New Training Regimen

Had my first hockey game of 2011 tonight. And my first hockey game since December 5, given that I missed so many hockey games while on holidays. Yet *two* of my teammates complimented me on my skating (e.g., “Did you take skating lessons over the holidays? Because it really looks like you did!”) and at a few points in the game I heard the opposing team’s coach yelling a panicked “MAN ON!! MAN ON!!!” to their player who either had or was skating for the puck. For the uninitiated, “man on” is what you yell to alert a player that an opposing player is gaining on them, so they better hustle.  And *I* was the person gaining on them!

How I got speedier than I was in 2010 is, of course, the question.  Over the holidays I did zero exercise. Unless drinking chocolate vodka1 counts as exercise. Which perhaps it does. Because it seems that a steady training program of booze, cookies, caramel corn and sitting on my butt have turned me into a speed demon.  And I’ve been wasting all that time doing hot yoga and running!

  1. I just went to link that to my posting on the chocolate vodka that I made with Dr. Dan over the holidays. And realized I still haven’t posted about that! For shame! []