Life

Going for the BQ: 2014 goal update and my Boston-bound marathon training plan

IMG_3542It’s been six months since I declared my 2014 personal and fitness-related goals for this year: become a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), get published in a print publication, and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

So how’s that all going, you ask? (more…)

My Annual Non-New Year’s Resolution Post: 2014 Goals

Me at the top of Haleakalā in Maui in March 2013

Me at the top of Haleakalā in Maui in March 2013

Has it seriously been 365 days since my last non-New Year’s resolution post? It felt like 2013 flew by in a blur of awesomeness. A lot of wonderful, fun and challenging things happened for me in 2013, including getting a full-time, permanent job with the government (medical and dental FTW); going on vacation with my boyfriend to Maui;  celebrating my grandma’s 90th birthday in Oyama with my whole family (before she passed away less than month later); watching my best friend get married; completing my first 50 km trail race in one piece; and running a super fast marathon time without training. (more…)

My 2013 non-New Year’s resolution post!

Winter run at Gowlland Todd

Winter run at Gowlland Todd

Well… I didn’t really meet the 2012 goals I set out in last year’s non-New Year’s resolution post, partly due to work/life factors, and partly because I didn’t follow my own advice of setting small, weekly goals for yourself as you work towards your larger goals.

I didn’t end up competing in any triathlons in 2012 because I was crazy busy organizing the majority of the triathlons I probably would have participated in. I did get back in the pool for a little bit, but was sick of everything triathlon by the end of summer and lost my passion for it slightly. I didn’t do a marathon in 2012 so I didn’t get my sub 4-hour PB, but I did manage a super fast half marathon time, beating my previous best by five minutes. With all things considered, I still had a great 2012 fitness-wise. And I know 2013 is going to be even better. (more…)

Why I’m heading back to the gym

Something I’ll never be able to do at my new place… my bike trainer sounds like a plane taking off.

Something I’ll never be able to do at my new place… my bike trainer sounds like a plane taking off.

Remember when I quit the gym? Well… I’m on the hunt for a new place to workout indoors, but not because I’m tired of running outside. Who could ever get tired of that? I’d take running in wet, dreary west coast weather over a treadmill any day. No, it’s because my new downstairs neighbours can’t handle the sound of us walking across our living room floor, let alone me jumping around doing workout DVDs.

I moved into a new building last week, in part to save money by living with a roommate, but also to cut down on my work/boyfriend commute time. Just five days into living there, we received a formal letter of complaint from the property manager  on behalf of the people in the unit below us, saying that they hear constant noise,  loud party noises coming from our unit (during a time when my roommate wasn’t even in the country and I hadn’t even moved in yet), and that they could hear “loud banging and moving furniture” on November 16… the day I moved in. Really?? There was moving furniture?? Ya don’t say!! Pretty sure you can’t fine someone $200 for that. (more…)

Saturday hikes around the Island

Indy at Matheson Lake.

As part of my new do-whatever-I-feel-like-doing fitness routine I’ve got going on lately, my boyfriend and I have been exploring a few of the local Vancouver Island trails with the dogs almost every Saturday. Although sometimes I think I’d rather be flying through the trees, expertly side-stepping roots and clamoring up rocks like a mountain goat (okay, I run trails more like a regular goat… that’s been hit with a tranquilizer dart. It’s more of a controlled fall, actually…), it’s nice to take your time once in awhile and to really appreciate the scenery. I could not imagine living somewhere without these parks and trails just a short drive away. (more…)

My non-New Year’s resolutions post: Goal setting and my endurance sport plans for 2012

Me in Maui after finishing the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon. Has nothing really to do with this post. I just thought it’d be more interesting than a stock photo of ‘Happy New Year’ text with squiggles and sparkles.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. Mainly because I’m always thinking about, planning and refining my goals — personal, fitness and otherwise — throughout the year. But January 1st is a good time to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year and how they changed you, as well as look forward to and plan what you want to achieve in the year to come.

And by planning what you want to achieve, I don’t mean the lose-30-pounds-and-make-time-to-read-more-books type of plan (otherwise known as the ‘New Year’s Resolution’) — I mean actually writing down your goals, and considering what it is you actually need to do to reach them.

For me, I knew 2011 was going to be the year I completed my first triathlon. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing or where to even start, but also I didn’t even know how to swim. With my target goal in sight (meaning I signed up for the triathlon before I even had a bike or knew how to swim), I wrote down all of the steps I needed to take in order to get there — the first being to get a good triathlon coach, which helped take all the guesswork out of the rest of the steps! (more…)

Twitter, runners and cancer research

Miss May in the Van Island Runners for Cancer calendar. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

I have to say I’ve met some super awesome runners and fellow endurance sport enthusiasts through social media.

This group of Victoria-area and social media-savvy runners of all ages, levels and abilities came together under the #yyjrun hashtag on Twitter a few years ago. We get psyched for races together, cheer each other on and support each others’ goals, offer tips and training advice, run together, suffer through injuries, training road-blocks and taper madness together, race together, and have coffee and dinner together. And most recently, we’ve come together to raise funds for a cause close to all of us. (more…)

It’s time for an action plan

My YouTube debut. Thankfully, Dave was nice enough not to film me walking.

So it turns out I did actually tear a calf muscle. At the insistence of Kirsty, I went and made an appointment with Dr.Mike to get it checked out. That was my first time going to see a specialist for anything sports-injury related, and now I know why Kirsty didn’t tell me much about what to expect.

Active Release Therapy HURTS. Dr. Mike busted out this metal spatula device and started scraping my calf, like one might try to scrape the blackened burnt part off a piece of toast. But more violently.

Then he dug his thumb right into the torn muscle and asked me to FLEX my foot, which is something that hurt to do anyways, let alone with a thumb digging into the muscle. “Go go go go go! Pull pull pull!” I felt like a Biggest Loser contestant at the mercy of Jillian Michaels the way my face was contorting in pain.

But then I hopped off the table, and I could walk without a limp. I had zero pain in my calf, and haven’t felt pain in it since. Dr.Mike works (painful) miracles.

A few other pointers he gave me: You started out to fast. Get a coach, train properly. Six half marathons in one year is too much. No running for two weeks. Take up swimming and do some light cycling. You should be good to go for the Bear Mountain 10K  in November (yes! — that’s all I needed to hear).

So now my plan is to join a marathon running group and a triathlon club in January. I also need to take swimming lessons and get a proper bike. I signed up for the Gunnar Shaw as well, an off-road 10k at Thetis Lake in November that takes you through mud pits and freezing lake water (already bought some sweet trail running shoes for this adventure from MEC!), and have my sights set on doing the Island Race Series and another marathon in the spring.

Nothing helps to heal a running injury more than coming up with a new action plan — well, to help to mentally heal, anyway.

Hitting the Great Wall

The Great Wall Marathon - Photo from www.great-wall-marathon.com

I have a confession to make.

I haven’t laced up my running shoes in 12 days.

In fact, I haven’t done any physical activity besides packing boxes, moving furniture and going housewares shopping.

I’ve tried everything to get out there for a run: setting my alarm clock for 4:00 am (didn’t work – went back to sleep), Tweeting my running plans for the day (never happened), putting on my running clothes as soon as I get in the door (I end up taking the dog out then looking up matching bedroom sets online).  Pathetic!

But I do have to give myself some slack. With the puppy and moving and my boyfriend working 15 hour days while all of this is going on, I haven’t had much free time. I feel guilty for not spending my free time doing something productive, like cleaning or unpacking, but then I also feel guilty for not running.

I bought four running magazines yesterday. I find they are the best inspiration when I’m in the rut like this. Reading about the tips, tribulations and triumphs of running always gets me out the door. If a new mom or someone going through chemo can find time to run, surely I can suck it up and find time. Or make time, if I have to.

I find nothing gets you more motivated to run like a goal race. Sure, I have my first marathon coming up in October and I haven’t run farther than 21.1 km yet…but that doesn’t seem to be enough.

So I have a new goal now, one that was planted into my head by my best friend the other day on Facebook. She has been living in Montreal for the past four years for school, and is coming home to Victoria soon. After graduating highschool and before university, she and I went backpacking in Thailand and New Zealand for two months, and we promised each other we would travel again after university. Well, she’s done, and I’m almost done.

 Yesterday she made the mistake of writing on my Facebook wall that we should run the Great Wall of China.

 Turns out there is a marathon there in May, and if funds are available, we’ll  be doing it.

Can’t think of a greater goal to get me psyched about running more than the Great Wall.

Running with puppy?

After a week of my puppy alarm clock going off at 4 am and the inability to leave Indy unattended in the condo, my running has seriously suffered this week.

I tried to compensate by riding my bike to work twice this week.  I love riding, but when you are trying to become a more efficient runner, you need to be running. I managed one 20-minute run after leaving Indy with my parents, and another 30-minute run yesterday after a 45-minute Jillian Michaels DVD that pretty much depleted any energy I had for running.

The ride to work is about 17 or so kilometres, and it takes me about an hour to get there and another hour to get home.  I have a crappy mountain bike that needs some TLC (the chain in so covered in dirt and mud it takes almost five minutes so change gears), so I feel like I have to work extra hard JUST to go at a decent clip.  It sucks getting passed by every single rider on the Goose – even 70-year-old men pass me.   

I’d love to get a $3000 bike one day so I can do a tri or a du and not have my bike to blame for slowing me down. I could just take the time and take it somewhere for a tune-up, and I will, but it’s at the bottom of my enormous To Do list this summer at the moment.

Next week is going to be even busier; we move into the house, and it needs to be painted and cleaned, so I’m going to have to fit in running when I can. At least in a house I can leave Indy in his pen and let him howl all he wants – I’m so worried about leaving him in the condo and pissing off the neighbours that I take him to my parents house anytime I have to go do anything, whether it’s grocery shopping or running. And howl he does – it’s so loud and nerve-wracking, I bet the whole building can hear him.  I can only take 10 minutes of it before I reappear to make him be quite, which a big no-no according to Cesar Millan; if you reappear when he’s howling, it will only make him think that all he has to do is whine to get his humans to come back.  You have to ignore him, and he’ll stop eventually. But not in this condo!

Living with a puppy and being a runner makes me wonder how running moms do it. Indy is like a child, and I was fully prepared for the change in my lifestyle, but now my WHOLE schedule revolves around this tiny little mutt.

He’s the sweetest little thing, and I already have him sitting on command and shaking a paw (at 8 weeks old!), but I want him to just settle down long enough for me to do what I want to do. When I said this to my mom, she said “Better get used to this! This is training for having kids!” Ugh, not yet.

So after lunch with mom and dad today (who have been so awesome looking after Indy everyday for almost 12 hours at a time) I’m going to see if I can run around my old ‘hood (which will soon be my neighbourhood once again!) for an hour and a bit. The weather looks perfect for running, so I just hope I can keep my energy up that long – I’m a morning runner, and seriously struggle to get the motivation to run in the late afternoon.

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