Race review: Dead Cold Run

Following the ever popular Zombie Evasion run from October, race organizers put on the first annual Dead Cold Run in Edmonton on February 22.  While the “white walkers” weren’t as delightfully costumed as the autumn zombies, this little race still had a lot of heart…or would that be brains?  Mmmm…brains.

Speaking of brains, and brawn, a couple of Edmonton Oilers showed up to participate as well, including team captain, Andrew Ference.  The boys gotta do something on the Olympic break!

With just over 150 runners hashing through Rundle Park on this 5K, it was a challenging little trek for me. I seeded myself WAY at the back to avoid the pushing and shoving that occurred during the fall race. (Zombies! Zombies are coming! RUN!!! Insert big ginormous shove from tiny blonde runner behind me….) No worry of that happening this time.  Everyone was pretty cool about the undead, and white walkers zipped speedily through the crowd, stripping 99% of us of our life ribbons.

More difficult than I anticipated, the course threw in a couple of hills and a LOT of off-road/off-trail running through ankle-twisting snowy depths.  The snow seriously slowed me down and got the heart pumping right off the bat.  A fun highlight was a slide down a toboggan hill about half way through the race.

In terms of my own performance, I did walk a wee bit, but often enough it wasn’t because I was dead tired, but because it was really challenging to wade through the snow. I tried to keep moving regardless, and that was kind of the most important thing for me: keep moving!  I had some terrific snot bubbles on this run, and I was sure to wipe off the frozen snot cat whiskers that crept across my face as I ran… yes, it was cold. Only -18 C but with the wind chill, upwards of -26 C.  The smoke (exhaust? death chemicals?) from the plant across the river kept blocking out the sun. Brrr.

My overall time was 45:23 with an average 9:05 pace.  Right now I don’t have a lot to compare that to… I’ve only just started being aware of times. (Previous goals in races were all about finishing alive.)  I think as I’m trying to improve my running skills and times, I might lay off the “fun” runs and concentrate on flat out road or trail races.  As well, these fun ones aren’t any cheaper!  Already the Zombie Evasion for next fall is $50-60 and Color Me Rad is $40-50 as well. I dunno.  We’ll see.

Overall, it was a good time.  It ended back at the Rundle Family Centre with plenty of hot soup, fruit and muffins/cookies.  Hot chocolate was drained by the time I got there, but when you come in 123 out of 159 runners, that’s bound to be the case.  Lesson learned: want the good snacks? Run faster.

Armchair runner

February has indeed set in. The magical snowy deliciousness of Christmas is gone, and winter’s steely days seem to stretch on forever: dark going to work, dark coming home. Then there was a two-week deep freeze with temperatures between -19 C and -30 C. My body is shutting down organ by organ into hibernation mode.

Despite following my couch to 25K plan (which is really quite gentle & accommodating while still being challenging), I’ve missed a few days here and there on this schedule. I just want to sleeeeeep. In between work and watching Netflix, and sort of getting in a few walk/runs on the treadmill, I’ve been registering for races as mini stepping stone goals to get to that 25K.

I already have my Dead Cold Run – 5K – this weekend. Next, I need a 10K sometime in March/April – possibly a St. Paddy’s Day affair. Check out the Run to the Pub run in Bozeman, MT! How AWESOME is that?? Maybe next year this will be a road trip… For early May, I’m looking at the 5 Peaks trail running series to get in some longer runs, and then bam! Baby Ultra time.

In other words, lots of armchair running going on.   Let’s chalk it up to visualization techniques in the long, dark winter days. NEXT week, I shall be geared up into training mode…

Couch to … 25K?

Back on track at the gym (membership renewed!) I’m as giddy as a school girl with my treadmill workouts, my drop in classes, etc.  I even did yoga one day, which I thought was pretty tame, until I did the triangle pose and almost blacked out.

I’m one and a half weeks away from my Dead Cold Run zombie 5K and my running time isn’t really getting any faster.   While I do feel less like dying each time,  I’m still hovering at 45 minutes for 5 kilometres.  When I push myself, I feel like an Olympian after every run.  That’s actually pretty cool. But sometimes I just don’t push toooo hard.  Like when I went to the gym after supper one night.  Running with a tummy full is actually kinda gross.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

So, just to add to that mix, I committed to a new challenge for Spring: a wee run in the woods.  A “Baby Ultra“.  Which is 25K. That’s just a smidge longer than a half marathon. (And didn’t I just say I could barely even do my 5K??)  HOW EXCITING!!  Google came to the rescue with a Couch-to-Half-Marathon 14-week training program which is just enough time to make it happen.  And it will happen.

At this point, if I was granted three magical running wishes from the tarty-but-all-knowing running fairy (aka Lucky Star), this is what I’d ask for:

  1. HEALTH.  Keeping fit and healthy as I build up my running abilities.  I admit, I have a dreadful fear of seriously hurting something (knees come to mind) that will set me back forever on this journey to getting into fantastic shape.
  2. PEACE. I want to lose the nerves prior to races and even just going to the gym.  The big old “you can’t do it” voice that sits there mocking me.
  3. MOTIVATION.  I need to compete with the person I was yesterday, not the anonymous people on the track, at the gym, or in a race.  We all have different journeys but boy, oh boy, I just have to resist comparing myself to everyone else and just motivate myself.

So, enough writing. Time to go for a run!!!

The Vertical Beer Kilometre and other fun things on the Internet

Slowly, slowly I’m discovering a world of running, fitness, clean eating and adventure out there on the WWW.

It’s an amazing virtual support group, and although you aren’t supposed to believe EVERYTHING you read, I love all these very cool people.  Here are some of my current favourites:

Never a dull moment with your blender, Dashing Dish has the most awesome selection of creative smoothie recipes.  Seriously, protein shakes like Strawberry Lime, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Girl Scout Cookie and French Toast…yum.  The nifty ingredient in many of these is cottage cheese!

I’m getting some adventure inspiration from the fun folks at Pebbleshoo – hiking, skiing, trail running, gear reviews and even recipes… hello? Tell me more about the Vertical Beer Kilometre…

WellandGoodNYC feeds my need for both New York City and urban wellness, while motivation abounds at Roni’s Weigh.  The Live Fit Girl is a regular poster with lots of good recipes on her blog.

If I want to know the research behind my workout journey or the science of “sitting is the new smoking” I hook up with the Gym Lion blog.  Stats, baby, stats.

On the flip side, when I need a giggle & a drink or want to cook with butter, I tune into My Drunk Kitchen or check out Ree’s latest to-die-for ranch eats on The Pioneer Woman.

Would love suggestions for health, running, fitness, food, mountain blogs to follow!

In other news, I’ve switched my blog format in an attempt to add more photos and be relatively more engaging.  Wish me luck on my technical skills.

5 things I love about the gym

In my week of NO GYM, I’ve been reminiscing what I love about the gym.

  1. The ice machine. When I first visited the community centre and saw they had a machine that distributed little ice pebbles for my water bottle?? SOLD! Makes my day every single time.
  2. The Eastern European. This guy I love. He is like a horse out of the gate at the Kentucky Derby when it comes to getting in the front door of the gym at 0600 hrs, clothes off and under the waterfall in the children’s pool by 0602 hrs. Then he stands/lays beneath the falls for a good 40 minutes getting a free water massage treatment. Lately, a little round Chinese lady has been his competition. When she arrives second, she gets on a pink turtle floatie and lurks about until he acknowledges her presence and shares the space.
  3. Fitness classes. I’m too cheap to pony up for fitness classes, so having a whole bunch of them included in my membership is pretty cool. So far I’ve tried Rock Bottoms and Yoga. On my list is Bollyrobics and other cardio/strength ones that I know will kick my ass. Fitness classes are tricky because there is pride involved. Keeping up. Doing it to the bitter end.
  4. Edmonton Eskimos. Hooked up to the Commonwealth Stadium, us village folk often work out alongside athletes. Former Esk Gizmo Williams does personal training in the gym all the time and now and then I catch snippets of advice. My favourite from last week was him speaking to a player on the treadmill. “I do your workout three times a week. It never gets any easier, but I keep doing it.” And this guy is uber fit. Who knew?
  5. The anonymity.  The complex is large enough that I can wander from cardio machines, to classes, to the track, to the weight room, to the courts, etc and never really be noticed.  It’s cool to just be in my own bubble and work out.  And I like that other people are the same – doing cool stuff. Getting fit.
My gym

My gym (uhhh in the summer)

In the mean time, it has been a rough week.  Food wise, I’ve stumbled a bit and have been drinking milk, eating more bread than usual and just sucking back the cheese.

And I just had a text from my husband saying he’s ordering pizza, and would I like a tropical Hawaiian?  Freeze frame: I had a choice….1) decline politely and eat dust when I arrive home while everyone else hoovers in pizza  2) graciously accept his kind gesture to “make” dinner and then just eat one piece.

Choice #1 would have been ideal.  I chose door #2 with all knowledge that I cannot eat just one piece. Lady, tiger…?  We’ll see.  I still have to get home…

February weigh in

When I began thinking about this blog at the end of December, I weighed myself on New Year’s Eve. For the purposes of doing a weigh in one month at a time, let’s call that January 1st. And now, time for the February 1st weigh in.

February weigh in!

February weigh in!

First, I had my last chance workout at the gym. I ran. (With my new sports bra, very exciting). I ran 1 mile in 13.15 minutes. Then I navigated 3 more miles in a run/walk situation. Many times, I thought I would die.  Brain tried to get in the way, but I did my best to distract the comments about slowing down, stopping, jumping off, etc. Just run. Just move. Point-one-five miles to go. 30 seconds to go. Five-four-three-two-one. Just go.

After that, Brain wanted to go stretch in an alcove around the track, so I headed in that direction. Little did Brain know, there was a “Rock Bottoms” class starting at noon. Just when Brain thought we were going to play dead on the stretching mat, I made an abrupt right hand turn into Studio 2 et voila! Committed. Class already 2 minutes in. Let’s just do it.

After that class – where I left a variety of Rorschach tests on my workout mat in delicious fat-burning sweat – I got a fresh mat and did the stretching in an alcove. Then checked my FB. Huzzah for free WiFi.  Brain was okay with that, and then suggested a post-workout hot tub. I sat in the hot tub and decompressed.

AWESOME WORKOUT DAY. Best part? Tomorrow I can do it again! Huzzah for weekends where you can take your time and spend hours at the gym with no pressure.

So, following the awesome workout and to make it official, I weighed myself today:

Jan 01 – 235 lbs
Feb 01 – 225.2 lbs

WOOT!

The only other measurement I took at the beginning was my waist.

Jan 01 – 50 inches
Feb 01 – 47.5 inches

WOOT, part deux.

It’s all moving in the right direction and I’m feeling pretty good.

Don’t think, just do

One of those weeks, just after you pledge yourself to a new fitness goal, and whammo!

Work gets in the way of life. Life gets in the way of plans.

Getting up at 0500 hrs to get to the gym only worked for two of five work days. My brain totally was a pain in the ass. If I allowed myself to THINK in the wee hours of the morning, I could talk myself into the snooze button, or the logic of “Gee, you seem tired. Maybe take a rest day.” {Note to self, there is no thinking permitted for February}  Of course, for each of the three days I missed, I pledged to get there in the evening for a class or spot of time on the treadmill. No go.

Dead of winter, 0500 hrs - do I really want to get out of bed??

Dead of winter, 0500 hrs – do I really want to get out of bed??

Missed supper twice due to staying late at work. Found myself ogling an old Chinese lady on the train who pulled out a Pop Tart from her bag and was nibbling it top down, making the silver wrapping crinkle. I suddenly wanted that refined fake crazy processed food. Mmmmm Pop Tart.

All shocking. Sigh.

But, good things did happen despite missing CRITICAL GYM TIME:

 

  • Internet whining due to lack of foundational garment support has resulted in a set of Champion sports bras materializing in my possession.  Thanks to the generosity of Ms. A. there shall be RUNNING this weekend on the treadmill.
  • Pineapple was the starring ingredient in this week’s smoothie set.  I picked up a ginormous bag of frozen pineapple at Costco and thoroughly enjoy the fresh flavour and the way this fruit thickens up a smoothie. Ingredients: Pineapple, OJ, vanilla almond milk, banana. Optional items: ice, yogurt and/or ginger.  Love the heat of the ginger with the freshness of the pineapple.
  • Got an email from my Spartan/mud run buddy, Ms. N. who wants to look at some spring and summer goals and wowza, we might have a good one.   Stay tuned.

It’s a new MONTH, peeps!   I will do a “last chance workout” at the gym, then weigh myself.  Let’s see if one month of … (well, I wouldn’t say trying hard, because despite my good intentions I certainly slacked right some good) … MODERATE EFFORT has made a difference.