10K pop-up training plan (aka I forgot I had a race)

Just had that runner’s moment…

seawheeze shortsMy Seawheeze race shorts arrived in the mail on Friday, and I was all “Woohoo, I still have 3 months to train and fit into these size 12 shorts.” (Kinda nice that you get ‘free’ shorts as part of your race registration fee.)

Then today I realized…I should check my calendar…

And HOLY CRAP I have a race in two weeks.  It’s only a 10K, but when one has done strength training and not a lot of actual RUNNING for the past few months, this is kind of a challenge!

So, yes, I’m a little worried I will be miserable or screw up my knees, therefore I’ve developed a pop-up training plan so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel:

Week 1

MON: Easy run (30 min)
TUE: Yoga – P90X2 “X2 yoga” (67 min)
WED: Tempo run w/ speed intervals (30 min)
THU: Cross training – 21 Day Fix “dirty 30” (30 min) + T25 “lower focus” (25 min)
FRI: Rest day – walking YEG river valley stairs at lunch time
SAT: Long(er) run (4.5 miles/~7KM)
SUN: Easy run (20 min) + Sunday morning Yoga (Meadows Rec Centre)

Week 2

MON: Easy run (40 min)
TUE: Pilates/Yoga – PiYo “drench” (45 min)
WED: Run w/ hill intervals (40 min)
THU: Cross training – 21 Day Fix “cardio fix” (30 min) + T25 “lower focus” (25 min)
FRI: Rest day – walking YEG river valley stairs at lunch time

And – promises of rolling out the muscles and stretching really well every night.

I checked my Nike running watch and the fastest 10K I’ve ever pulled off is 1hr 11min, and that was part of a longer run. Mind you, last year was about survival, not really about excelling at anything.  Given that this is my first race of the season, and that I’ve been a sloth and not gotten the training miles in properly…I don’t have high hopes for nailing any personal bests. I will consider this run a “training run” unto itself. (Is that a cop out??)

I apologize in advance for not training more to the good people at Rocky Mountain Soap. While it’s my first time participating in the Rocky Mountain Soap Co.’s Women’s Run & Walk, I’ve done a 5 Peaks trail run in the same location, the Canmore Nordic Centre…and it started with 2K of UP and required a canister of bear spray.  Doh.  I think this run is a little more gentle??

Looking forward to a great weekend in the mountains for the race – just need to earn it now…!  Pop-up training plan is a GO!


Backcountry hiking, half-marathon running, fat-reducing is-it-summer-yet PLAN

I love winter.

I really, really do love winter. I play outside on my snowshoes. I find excuses to buy really awesome winter socks, and I now own three winter coats. I like frost and cold. I love the stillness of being in the woods, branches heavy with snow.

And, in the depths of this delightful deep freeze, I love, really love, planning for the summer.

I’ve had my maps out since December trying to figure out where to hike this summer, and how to work those trips around my running schedule and my girls’ adventure to Iceland and Scotland…

And the over-arching issue for all of these grand plans is simply to get in shape.

So, starting with my fabulous 37.9% body fat (erg – I should really just be calling that 38%) I need yet another plan…

Having blogged for about a year now, I’m seeing a bit of repetition… that there’s more plotting and planning than actual DOING going on a lot of the time. But being in a bit of a bind – getting chubbier again and having some big goals to kick this year – I need to get on with that DOING part.

The basic strategy for the next few months is to increase weight training and cardio while cutting calories via “clean eating”. Tah-dah. Yep, that’s it.

I’ve gone old school again, and printed out a calendar, upon which I’ve penciled in my workout schedule.  The training is essentially worked backwards from my half-marathon trail race in July and my half-marathon road race in August.  And the best part is that I reward myself with stickers on the days I work out. Oh yes, stickers work for me. And I work for stickers. (Who doesn’t love happy face stickers??)

So far, I have FOUR stickers!!!!!!!  WOOT!  And let the positive visualization begin 🙂

A year in pictures

Looking back to 2014 with pride. And a whole lotta iPod selfies. Let’s blow it out of the water for 2015.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”  ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
~ Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

My newest scheme – P90 (yo Tony!)

Soooo, after an entire summer and first month of fall having LOST NO WEIGHT, I’m onto yet another scheme of awesome.

Backing up a bit… after the 21 Day Fix (which WORKED) I got on board with the newest (at the time) program release from Beachbody, which was PiYo – a combination Pilates/Yoga exercise plan. This program is truly challenging, and it builds strength using your own body weight. You also get more flexible. However, I didn’t follow the PiYo meal plan, and I only half-heartedly attempted to maintain the 21 Day Fix meal plan while doing PiYo. I did do a cleanse – which was really good – but then ate my pounds back on.  It all equals one big bomb.


So – back at it. I’ve got the new Tony Horton program in my hot little paws: P90 = “for everyone.” Super excited about this one, but I totally have that nagging feeling that I won’t stick to the food plan or the workout schedule etc. I got all psyched up for DAY ONE, and then boom! Caught a cold.

Here I am, tip-tap-typing away, snotty as all hell and now with a sore lower back from laying in bed mindlessly watching Netflix with the lap top propped up on my tummy. ALL NOT GOOD.

Fingers crossed that I can de-snot and feel better soon so that I can get started on something new. The year is almost OVER! I need to crack the whip and get into shape here, people.


Detox Day 3: 3-Day Refresh

I had to go to work on Day 3.

It was a Monday.

It was a little bit of a drag. I got to smell all sorts of delish lunches being warmed up in the kitchen. Lunchtime was over in 30 seconds for me (slurp, crunch, done) so I went for a walk.

Lots of energy again today – efficient, effective, etc. Crazy how despite the vague feeling of hunger, I was sharper and more aware of a lot of things, if that makes sense. I prioritized, got things done, had some clarity and vision on other topics. Hm.

When I got home, the family was all in the kitchen making their dinners, and I was blending mine. My love affair with food was on hiatus essentially. Food plays so much more of a role than just “fuel” for me. Hard to break that train of thought.

Monday was super hot in the city again, and despite going to bed at a reasonable hour, I couldn’t sleep. By 1:00 am I shuffled downstairs where it was much cooler. And because it was past midnight (3 days done in my books), I ate a wrap with ham in it. I was SO HUNGRY.

Fast forward to the next morning – for (ta-dah) —–> the RESULTS!

I was down 5.5 lbs and 2 inches from my waist. Feeling lighter on my toes MENTALLY, above all.  Was the junk in my system slowing my brain down?

Would I recommend this refresh?  Ya.  I’d do it again, I think, maybe after Christmas or a holiday.  It really re-sets you. It was an annoyance for me though.  It showed me what a huge role (beyond just being fuel) that food plays in my life. I’m slightly obsessive.

I think my biggest take away is “What am I going to eat next?”  It’s not the pizza or the gooey brownie from the Italian Centre (you know, the one where you literally feel the sugar coursing through your veins = so good) that I was kinda secretly planning on. Instead, I’m feeling very careful in my decisions.

The next day, I spent 15 minutes in Sobey’s staring at the Greek yogurt section debating whether or not I wanted to add dairy back in after the refresh.  I did buy a container (I love it to pieces) but then I didn’t enjoy it as much.  I just felt like it wasn’t right. (Is it possible to be brainwashed by vegetables in three short days?)

Now two days later, I know for sure that I’m going to give dairy a break, remove all processed meats from my diet (so long, deli ham!) and keep my coffee treats to green tea treats.  (Not terribly excited about this, but it just feels right – does that make sense?)  The hardest part is not knowing what to replace things with.  I need to check my protein lists again, review my carb options, get some recipes…so that I’m better prepared.

And that’s the 3-Day Refresh!  Give it a go. You can buy it here with a 30-day supply of Shakeology so you can maintain your kick start results: 3-Day Refresh challenge pack.  Or you can just buy the three day kit on its own here: 3-Day Refresh base kit.

Would love to hear if you do this detox – post your story and results!

Or if you’ve done other detoxes, what were they like?

Back in the saddle (shoes)

I bounced back from my I-hate-running week by kicking off the weekend with a total body strength class, a Bolly-D* session and a 17K run through the woods.

Let me just say that Bolly-D is a freaking blast.

Zumba and I are okay kind of pals, but Bolly D could very well be my bestie. Bollywood beats, a lot of jumping, smiling, and quirky little moves (Hop like a bunny! Pat the dog! Screw in the lightbulb!). There is enough going on to make me sweat but without losing me on the foot work.

Now, given that it was all Bollywood, I so wrongly assumed I would be masala-ing alongside the YEG lookalikes of Shahrukh Khan or Aishwarya Rai. Not so much. Our Asian instructor – the ever happy and energetic Vincent – taught a mash-up class of just about every nationality except Indian.

Halfway through the class, a gaggle of Somali teens in headscarves with that delightful mix of conservative and Converse burst through the studio door and joined in, adding a terrific flavor of awesomesauce to the class at the Commonwealth Community Rec Centre.

The old Chinese man from Zumba (the one with the oversized shorts, dress socks and white runners) goes to this class as well and totally whoops it up. He never quite “gets it” in Zumba either and that’s what I love about him. He’s willing to just try it all.

The big hey-I-can-do-this revelation came with the weekend run.

The training schedule kindly asked for just 10 miles of our lives. Miz Jilly and I decided to kill two birds with one stone by taking training day to the trail, and to scout out the 25K course for the Baby Ultra at the end of May.

Maps were printed, trails highlighted, directions somewhat understood…we hopped in the adventure-mobile and drove out of town on a sunny Saturday morning. As we neared the Blackfoot recreation area, the sun went out, the fog rolled in and every tree branch was covered in frost and ice. Really? We’re out running in the middle of nowhere and it has to get all creepy?

We managed to find our way to the Islet staging area, slung on our hydration packs and hit the trail. The entire landscape was brown, grey and frozen with ice coating the trees and bushes. We ran (well – we jog, but “running” sounds better). And ran. And ran. Our one rule was to walk up and run down when it came to hills. And there were a lot of hills. Endless rolling hills.

The highlight, of course, was getting lost.

Now, Blackfoot is REALLY WELL MARKED. It was just a little matter of turning left when one should have turned right. That only happened twice. I’d like to think that we added some kilometers in for posterity on that.

And the only time it really got spooky being the only ones out there (note: no cell coverage), was when we came upon a leg. A somewhat fresh leg. The juicy bits had been sucked off and all that was left was some brown fur and a hoof and a bit of blood. It was just lying in the middle of the path, presented nicely on a patch of snow. Sort of like sashimi.

It was obvious that the path wasn’t the kill site, but nonetheless we hoofed it (pardon the pun) outta there. We didn’t want to get between a bear or cougar and dinner. Finding bodies/dead things is a FABULOUS motivation to KEEP RUNNING. We still had many kilometers to go before we’d get to the car, and we rannnnn.

By the time we got back to the car, our bodies were done. We ended up running 17K and walking 8K, and even better, we got to see the course. It’s going to be a great race!!

What’s the coolest/scariest thing you’ve seen while out running?

EDIT: I forgot to mention that 17K is the longest I’ve ever run. Ever. Ever. Ever.

*Bolly D was recently featured on Dragon’s Den, too.

Trotting through Week 9 – training recap

Exercising make me happyWorking diligently on Week 9 of THE BIG TRAINING PLAN.

Baby Ultra is six weeks away!! My goal with this race is to finish with dignity: knowing I trained my best to do my best out there, and to run it with my awesome adventure partner in crime, Miz Jilly.

Leading up to the Baby Ultra I also signed up for a few trail “test” runs with the 5 Peaks trail running series. My very first trail runs – very exciting. I think this will give me a mini taste of the Baby Ultra run, atmosphere and overall experience.

This week proved to be a fairly strong training week with prescribed running, stair climbing, incline treadmill and lots of walking. I really need to work on getting in more strength and hills, though!

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: ER 4 miles + ST
Wednesday: XT 45 min
Thursday: TR 4 miles
(Good) Friday: XT 30 min or Rest
Saturday: ER 9 miles <—- YOU ARE HERE
(Easter) Sunday: R/W 4 miles

Today was my 9-miler.

It all began well – maybe due to the Easter weekend or the fact I went to the gym after the lunch hour, there were scads of treadmills available. I hopped up and got right underway.

The plan was 1+4+4…One mile, then reset the treadmill; 4 miles, then reset the treadmill; and then the last four miles. (The reason why I re-set is because I can only get a maximum of one hour at a time and for some reason it is important to me to compartmentalize the miles…)

The first mile for me is always chaos and pandemonium. Seriously – my body goes ballistic.

  • What are we doing?
  • I can’t breathe!
  • My leg hurts!
  • What are we doing again?
  • Why?
  • Still can’t breathe…etc etc.

This nonsense carries on for a good 10 minutes before I settle into my groove of breathing and moving.

  • Oh, THIS again, I get it…okay, carry on.

I ran the first mile at my “easy run” pace of 4.8 mph, and then reset the treadmill. The next four miles went smoothly – good breathing, lots of sweat, keeping up the pace nicely etc.

I sipped some water and was in the process of resetting the treadmill when…


I set the time for 60 minutes.


I set my weight at 215 lbs.

CRAMP, GURGLE GURGLE – what the heck?

My finger hovered over the GO button.


I pressed GO…oh no. Not good.

I paused the program and hopped off the treadmill and ran for the bathroom. WOW. Nice.

Something was not going well with my stomach this morning. I don’t think I’m athlete enough to claim a case of “runner’s trots” but either way, that was a necessary pit stop.

When I returned to the treadmill I was sweating profusely. I walked for a few minutes then cranked it back up to 4.8 and started running.





I stopped.

Now, typically it is super hard for me to pick up on a run when I’ve given myself a break. That first quarter of a mile after walking/rest is a real struggle. I may have been able to push through, but something felt different this time. Especially the light-headedness.

So, I stopped for good after that initial 5 miles.

Makes me a little sad, as I really was looking forward to nailing that 9 miles today, but I think it was the right decision. Too much fibre? Not enough water? Too few hours of sleep? (I was up until 4am working as a volunteer at a casino for a local charity…)

Either way – wrapped it up, walked another mile – slowly – around the track while drinking water, then headed home. Feel tired now… will hit it next time.

On happier news, I have to send a huge shout out to all those who got me through my four mile threshold (especially Keith and Ms Megan) with kind words and wise running advice. The four miles that were once the end of my line (and life), are now under the halfway point in my runs. I actually RAN my first 5 miles without stopping today (minus the 30 seconds of treadmill re-set). WOW.

Tomorrow is a new day and I’m looking forward to another awesome workout.