Category Archives: Running

Toronto Waterfront 10k Recap

Back in March I signed up to run my first 10k race, the Toronto Waterfront 10k, and this past Saturday was the day!

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Yeehaw!

I have run several 5k races in the past, but that’s all I’ve done as far as “racing” goes. If you can call that racing. I was apprehensive about the distance as 10k is actually the furthest I have ever run before. It was a real big deal and I have been training for it for the past several months.

Initially I followed the Couch to 10k app on my phone, until I got past the 5k distance and then at the end of April I switched to Hal Higdon’s novice 10k training plan. I really liked doing Couch to 5k to get me started, but once I got past the 5k mark going to 10k was difficult because of the amount of time required. It was getting to the point where every run was 60+ minutes and it was difficult to fit that in three times a week, especially when the weather was getting hotter. I found Hal Higdon’s plan much better as I got closer to race time, not that I followed it to a T. I didn’t exactly do the strength training and I didn’t always do the full long run distance (I am so weak-willed sometimes…especially when it’s really hot and humid out).

Anyway, the longest distance I ran before the 10k was 8k, and at a pretty slow pace, so for the 10k I didn’t really know what to expect of myself. My 5k PR is just over 30 minutes, but 10k is a different beast. I doubted I could do it in an hour. And then last week I suddenly got really, really sick. I am talking threw up for nearly 8 hours straight, plus a fever. That kind of sick. The sickest I’ve ever been in my adult life and I thought I had food poisoning, possibly from the wedding, but it only happened to me so it looks like it was just the flu. Fun!

Needless to say, that left me drained and weak. The worst of my sickness was on Wednesday, so by Friday morning I was starting to feel human again and decided I was still going to run the race. But I dropped any sort of time goal. I was running with my good friend Melissa (who I blew across the lake with, and you may remember her from her ridiculously fun Jack and Jill, and then her wedding this past November), and she is in the same running boat as me. We’re pretty equally matched.

She slept over on Friday night (I was feeling back to normal by then but we had too much wine and stayed up too late talking, maybe not the best of ideas), and we got up at 5:30am on Saturday, made our way downtown, and promised each other that we would do whatever it took to run the entire thing together. Even if it was at a super slow pace!

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We also met up with my friends Michelle and Casey (this race was Michelle’s idea in the first place, I cursed her at times but now I’m glad she got me to do it).

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At 7:45am we were off! It was HOT, and it was humid, and that wasn’t awesome, but for some reason I felt awesome. We started off running down Yonge Street to Lakeshore and that part was a bit of a downhill and it may have had something to do with this, but I felt better than I have ever felt while running. I was chatting to Melissa and Michelle and around km 3 or so and I remember thinking that I wasn’t even out of breath (Missy and I stayed with Michelle for the first 5k, Casey took off like a gazelle immediately ’cause she is freakin SPEEDY). That was crazy to me because normally I can’t hold a convo while running. I don’t think. I only really run by myself and I don’t really talk to myself, but I really didn’t think I could. My friend Emily texted me while I was running and I just responded with this selfie:

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Feeling good! Until about 6k when I started to deteriorate. At km 7 we had a turn around and were running directly into the sun and I went rapidly downhill. There’s a big uphill around there too which was not my favourite. 8k was the worst. I really wanted to stop and walk and I know Melissa was right there with me, but we soldiered on!

I am so happy to report that we ran the entire race, no walking, no stopping — though we ran super slowly through the water stations while dumping water down our throats, and onto ourselves. Gah, it was hot. We finished in 1:14:16 and I am super happy with that time!

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Yeahhhh!

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Afterwards we found Michelle, Casey and their friend Stephanie. We were all proud of ourselves. That Casey man, she ran it in 55:07. Crazy. Maybe one day…

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I think I caught the running bug. I am already thinking of what 10k I could do next (I’m not ready for a half marathon yet, if ever, but 10k I can do!).

Afterwards we went out for brunch at Hunter’s Landing. I have seen a picture of their recovery Caesar before and I knew I had to have it, even though it wasn’t 11am yet and they weren’t serving alcohol. I was okay with a virgin one. The garnishes made up for the lack of vodka.

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I always say I like Caesars because they are a drink and a snack all in one… In addition to your usual spicy bean, celery stick and olive, this Caesar included sausage, cheese, bacon, pizza slice and a freakin lobster tail.

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Ridiculous. I loved it.

And then I went to a fish fry party with my friends and spent the rest of the day eating, but more on that later!

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Spring Running

Yesterday I ran outside for the first time since…I’m not sure, at least the fall. Since January I have only been running on the treadmill, and running outside again actually felt a bit harder. I was feeling the lack of momentum (and the hills and the wind), but the weather is finally warming up and the sun felt SO NICE beating down on me.

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Not the most beautiful scenery but it sure beats the treadmill. I felt like a new woman. It was harder (especially the first 20 minutes), but it was so much more enjoyable. And I like that I can better track my distance and pace with my Runkeeper app — I don’t feel like the treadmill is totally accurate for that.

I am still doing my 10k runner app (unofficially known as Couch to 10k) three times a week. I am even surprised that I’m keeping up with it, and I know it’s probably still only because of that 10k I signed up for in June. I finished week 9 day 2 yesterday and last week I officially finished the 5k portion of the program, so I am now onto the 10k. My final run last week had me running for a full 35 minutes (about 5k), and my two runs so far this week have been run for 20 minutes, walk for two, run for 20 more minutes (sandwiched with five minute warmup and cool down walks), slowly building my endurance up to 10k.

I still find running more boring than anything, so I was reading my own blog post on how to not hate running to remind myself why I enjoy it.

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I came across a Reddit thread earlier this week titled “does running ever get enjoyable after you build up endurance?” and I eagerly clicked on it hoping most of the responses would be a resounding “YES!!! Once you get good at running it feels so easy and AMAZING!” but alas, no. The general consensus is that running sucks forever and you do it because it’s good for you. I guess some people get a runner’s high, but I certainly do not get that during a run. Or at least I haven’t yet. Generally when I am running I prefer to not be running, even though I can tell that I am building up endurance. But I do feel really great afterwards so I think that’s keeping me going. Okay, and it is motivating to see results, with my stamina, and also in my bod.

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Not that running is going to make me babelicious, but several people have commented lately that I have lost weight (hurrah!). It’s definitely the eating too (I am still tracking my calories and macros in MyFitnessPal), but the running is part of it. I’m hoping to keep it up with the running in Cuba too (we leave on the 23rd for a week), so hopefully I can stick to that. I’m hoping that I might actually enjoy running on the beach.

Speaking of eating, I have a new overnight oats recipe I have been eating nearly every workday for past few weeks that I’ve been meaning to talk about.

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It’s not the most photogenic but it does taste delicious. I can’t take credit for it, I got the idea from my friend Amy (thank you Amy!). I honestly look forward to it every morning. I have tweaked her recipe slightly, here is what I do:

  • 1/3 cup oatmeal (I use quick oats)
  • half a scoop of protein powder (I use vanilla)
  • half TBSP of chia seeds (or one DSSP which I think is a dessert spoon)
  • 1 TBSP of natural peanut butter
  • Cinnamon to taste

Mix that up until it’s crumbly, then add:

  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (or I’ve actually been using Skyr lately, which is creamier and has a bit higher protein content)
  • 1/3 cup milk

I mix it together and then top with coconut ribbon and frozen fruit (or instead of frozen fruit I’ll add a sliced banana in the morning). I leave it in the fridge overnight and in the morning when I get to work I eat it cold. I LOVE IT and it solves the lack of protein in my oatmeal without using egg whites (which was okay but I wasn’t loving). Amy uses keffir instead of Greek yogurt, which I haven’t tried yet but I may branch out, and she also adds a half TBSP of ground flax seed. I know overnight oatmeal doesn’t sound the most appetizing sometimes, but it’s super good and filling. J’adore.

Alright, I’m out. Have a great weekend. I know I will, it’s supposed to be sunny and nice!!!

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FINALLY.

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Couch to 10k

Okay, so I’ve been wanting to talk about running lately. And by running I basically mean a mix of run/walking three times a week for about 5km (currently but I am steadily increasing this). If you are a seasoned distance runner who has no problem going out and running a bunch of miles several times a week, this post might not be for you. Just warning you so you’re not bored.

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I’m going to.

So I have been running consistently now since about January, and for me this is very exciting because I haven’t ran that consistently since 2012, back when I was super into it.

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I completely got out of the habit of running. I’ve started up again over the years — as I tend to do, usually twice a year, in both the spring and the fall. But after running for a few weeks (if that) I inevitably stop again and then guess what happens? I am out of the habit. It’s really freaking inconvenient because every time I stop running I have to start over from scratch. I lose all my progress and when I try to start running again it’s so much harder, and that is discouraging. It is actually easier to run three times a week than it is to run once a month. My body is better used to the torture and not as surprised at what I’m making it do.

I realize that it’s only been a couple of months so I hope I’m not speaking too soon here. I truly feel like I’m back in the habit though. I ran on Monday when I got home from work and I plan to run when I get home tonight, and after a holiday weekend is usually around the time I would fall off the bandwagon. I am following the 10k runner app — there is also a 5k runner app which I used back in the day when I ran my first 5k. The apps were free when I got them but it looks like they might be around $5 now. I would recommend though, I think it’s worth the price if you’re going to take it seriously.

The program starts you each time with a five minute warm up and a five minute cool down, but in the middle you are running more the further you progress. So week one day one is running for one minute, walking for one and a half minutes, six times.

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Week seven day two, my last run, has you running for 20 minutes straight.

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My next run has me running for 25 minutes straight. It builds you up so you don’t feel like it’s too much at once, your body gets used to the increased distance gradually. I like it because speed is up to you. It’s not dependent on how fast you are running, so you can really do it at your own pace. And if you need to repeat a day it’s no biggie.

I have been running on the treadmill because the weather has been crappy forrrreverrrrrr.

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That’s what winter feels like. But I know spring has to come eventually so once it does I will be takin’ ‘er outside.

I think what’s keeping me into running this time is I signed up for my first 10k in June. That is the furthest I have ever run, and I know you can probably “run” a 10k without training, I would rather not walk for most of it. Now that I have officially signed up my competitive nature has kicked in and I want to get a fairly decent time (only for myself). So my plan is to follow the 10k Runner to get the distance down, taking the running times as slow as I need to, and then work on speed once I master that distance.

That’s my plan right now. I don’t really know enough about running to know if it’s a good one.

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Maybe it will change as I go, we will see. For now, it’s keeping me running (/walking) three times a week, and that’s my main goal.

I also feel like this has been a domino effect for me. I started with walking for half an hour every day at lunch (I still do this 4-5 times a week), which led to me eating healthier and tracking my calories in MyFitnessPal. And then I started running, and then I wanted a goal so I signed up for the 10k to keep me running. And then I started tracking my protein, fat and carb macros in MyFitnessPal because I signed up for Gillian’s nutritional habits training, which led to me getting into a healthier mindset. Now that I am in this healthier mindset I am reading more about health and fitness, and that led to me wanting to get back into weight training, so the last two times I ran I lifted weights after. Maybe tomorrow I will go to the gym and only lift weights! And now I’m doing yoga once a week.

It was the simple walking every day at lunch that started all of this, it didn’t happen overnight. It is gradually building, and I am eating healthier and being more active and that is my overarching goal in all of this. It’s working!

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Anyway, so that’s it about the running. For now. I’m sure I’ll be back and boring you about it in the future.

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Running Outside in the Spring: Expectation vs. Reality

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And then you go home and continue to spit out gnats for literally two hours.

Still beats the treadmill.

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Running and Workout Stuff (and a new playlist)

So it’s been a little over a month and a half of running three times a week, about 5k each time, and I gotta say…I am feeling pretty good about it.

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How long do they say it takes to make something into a habit? 21 days? Nailed it! I am not getting too excited though…because this has happened before (many times) and then I inevitably fall off the bandwagon. This is the reality.

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I mean, you guys know. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know my cycles with running. I start out feeling super motivated about it, kill it for a few weeks, start feeling all self-congratulatory about my running efforts, give myself all the pats on the back, write a grand blog post about how I’m back to running (this, by the way, is not going to be that blog post)…and then I inevitably slip back into not running. For months. And then I get into it again, and the cycle repeats. The worst is that every time I stop running for a while, when I start again it’s like starting over from the very beginning. I lose all my progress.

When I started six weeks ago I hadn’t been running since the fall, so I was pretty rusty. I would run for 2-3 minutes, walk for a minute, repeat. Then gradually I would up my running time, so run for five minutes, walk for one minute, repeat. The last two weeks I have been running for 10 minutes, walking for one-two minutes, repeat twice. Yesterday I ran for 12 minutes, walked for one, repeat twice. I am surprised at how easy that feels from when I started just a short while ago. I still don’t enjoy it all the time, but I am proud of myself for keeping with it and it’s motivating to notice improvement in myself. Once again I wish I could bottle up this feeling so that I remember how good it feels later when I’m back to being unmotivated. And the thing with running is, it totally changes my body composition and keeps things in check so my eating doesn’t have to be perfect. Wine and pizza on a Friday night? No problem.

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Also, last week Evan, our roommate (Evan’s friend Ian is living with us for about six months or so, not sure if I mentioned that yet) and I started going over to the gym before work and lifting weights. Just weights, no cardio (so actually last week I only ran twice and then did the weight thing with Evan twice). I started this on my own but when I’m by myself I really tend to half-ass the weights.

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So it’s much better having Ian and Evan as buddies. Evan is our “trainer” and put together a full body weights workout for the first couple of weeks that he calls the Noob workout.

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(He got the exercises and reps from here and put it into that spreadsheet). It’s going well. And can I just tell you how amazingly wonderful it feels to work out in the morning before work? When it’s 8am and I have already accomplished something that I will be feeling the effects of every time I move for the rest of the day, and the next day… That makes me feel pretty hardcore.

And I definitely like to be sore after my workouts, because if I don’t I feel cheated. There is no better feeling than that workout sore.

Evan and I are going to Cuba for a week next Friday, so I think the biggest test will be if we keep this up when we get back. Last year I had been decent with the workouts leading up to our Cuba trip around the same time, and when we got back I completely fell off the wagon. That needs to not happen.

Anyway, back to the running, just quickly. I absolutely cannot watch TV or read while running on the treadmill. I don’t know why, but I’d really rather stare at the wall/myself in the mirror/out the window and try to zone out. For the first month or so lately I was really into the podcasts while I was running, but the last couple of weeks I find myself drifting back to my old faithful music. So I’ve made a new playlist! You can find all my past playlists here.

Spring 2015 Playlist

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(clicking on any of the links will take you to the song’s YouTube video)

Best Look Lately – Dear Rouge

Black Sun – Death Cab For Cutie
Black To Gold – Dear Rouge
Budapest – George Ezra
Get Out The Way – Mother Mother
Harder Than Stone – City & Colour
Hollow Moon (Bad Wolf) – AWOLNATION
I Bet My Life – Imagine Dragons
I Heard I Had – Dear Rouge (on a bit of a Dear Rouge kick)
Let’s Fall In Love – Mother Mother
Mess Is Mine – Vance Joy

Lucifer’s Eyes – T.O.L.D.
Riverside – Ages Obel (I love this song, but it’s slow so I usually use it for a warm up or walk break)
Sacrifice – Zella Day (from the Insurgent soundtrack, I like a lot)
Shaky Ground (Hey Na Na Na) – Freedom Fry
The Nights – Avicii
The Way Around Is Through – Live

Don’t forget music works best if you save those songs to listen to only when you are running, so then you are excited to listen to that music!

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Running…again. And a Playlist

What is this? Three posts in three days? I can’t remember the last time that has happened. But this isn’t really a real post anyway, so don’t get too excited (I know you’re probably not).

After quite a long hiatus from gym things, ol’ Evers and I are back to running on the treadmill. I was running outside a couple days a week when we had Bolt in the summer (Bolt doesn’t love running but he would do it for max 5k), but I haven’t ran since he has been gone, and now it’s cold. Well actually, the current temperature is probably just a few degrees lower than my favourite outdoor running temperature, but the bigger hinderance is that it is dark when I get home from work. I don’t feel that I live in the safest neighbourhood for nighttime running. Not that I feel unsafe being outside after dark, and I do think my neighbourhood has a worse reputation than what it actually is, but still…there are some dark corners. I suppose I could run in the morning before work, but that seems a little adventurous.

So, back to the treadmill. I have mentioned this before, but we really have no excuse for not gymming it up, because this is literally a 5 second walk from the lobby of our condo:

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Use of the rec centre is included in our condo fees and it includes two cardio rooms, a weights room (with ancient equipment, but it’s huge and it has everything), and more recently (it was under reno’s), a pool!

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We haven’t gone in the pool since its reopening and I know, WHY NOT?! It’s free, what are we waiting for? How inviting does that look? The one time we tried to go it was closed because of swimming lessons and we haven’t yet gone back. We’ve been busy, and I know, #excuses. We need to make it happen.

But we’re starting with the treadmill to ease us back into the gym things. This isn’t the first time we’ve started running again, and it probably will not be the last time we start running again (but we can hope). HOPEFULLY we make it a habit once again, because I can’t even count the number of times I have written about this before and I don’t want to lose your interest. So all this to say, I need some treadmill motivation, and for that I turn to the one thing that doesn’t make me want to die while running on the treadmill: music. I have tried reading or watching TV shows, but it doesn’t work for me. I need music. I haven’t posted one of my playlists in quite a while (last one was in April), so it is time!

Clicking on any of the links below will take you to the song on YouTube. Also, I find most of my music through online alternative stations and most of my friends do not enjoy the kind of music that I tend to gravitate to, so if you also don’t love it, that is a-okay. You do what you feel.

Aviation High – Semi Precious Weapons
Black Soap – Ex Cops

I really like this song so I’m making it a highlight:

Cool Kid – The Eeries
Come To Light – Arkells – I cannot get enough of this song at the moment, I do love my Canadian tuneage!

Dangerous – Big Data (feat. Joywave) – another highlight
Fever – The Black Keys
Giants – Bear Hands
I Lived – OneRepublic (touching video also)
I Wanna Get Better – Bleachers
I’m Only Joking – KONGOS
Left Hand Free – alt-J
Little Games – The Colourist
Love Runs Out – OneRepublic
Paris – Magin Man
Pumpin Blood – NONONO
Riptide – Vance Joy
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift (don’t judge, it’s catchy and I like it. Obviously it is better set to aerobics from 1988 so that is what I linked to. Also, someone needs to bring back 1908s aerobic workouts, because I would need no motivation to participate in that cheesiness. I wish I still had my mom’s Jane Fonda videos…)

Stolen Dance – Milky Chance
Take Me To Church – Hozier
White Lies – Max Frost
The Wolves – JJ And The Pillars
We Are Done – The Madden Brothers

And a few others from my last couple playlists on there. Yes I know it’s long, but variety is the spice of life! If you like, you can find my previous playlists on my handy playlist page.

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