Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Holy Heck! Hills!

It's been a long time since I did any hill training! All the mountain climbing I do on Saturday's sure is different then running up that Curling Club hill! It was tougher then I was expecting and because of that, I only did 3! If I pushed myself, I am sure I could have done more but I just didn't feel like putting out the effort. When I looked at my hill times from a few years back, they ranged from 1:48 to 2:10. Next week I hope to extend this graph to include a couple more hills and valleys! I sure like getting this stuff done over the lunch hour, instead of feeling the pressure of trying to accomplish it afterwork!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Garmin & Racing Question! - UPDATE!

The two responses I got were to turn it on as soon as I hit the mat. If I turn it on then, it won't get the satellites in time enough and won't start timing right away! I guess I need to be clearer with my question. Do you press the on button 1 minute before the start, 5 minutes or 10 minutes to give it enough time to make sure it has the satellites before the race even starts?

I am a newbie when it comes to running a race with the Forerunner 305! Although my race is not until April 26th, I am thinking about it lots, lately. I have a question for those of you who are experienced in this area!

How soon before the gun goes off at the start line, do you turn your Forerunner on to catch the satellites so it's ready to start once you step on the mat?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Slow Slushie Sunday Slog

When I went to bed last night, I thought, maybe the forecasters will be wrong this time and we will have fine weather in the morning! Deja vu! Once again, just like last Sunday, Calgary woke to a big blanket of white! I didn't even let my mind go in any direction other than get ready to run!

It was a slippery drive to Prince's Island and a slippery run too, for the most part of it. I headed east to the Edmonton Trail bridge and crossed over to north side to head west! Five minutes into the heading west part, right before me, a car slid off the road, over the little bank, across the pathway and smashed into steel poles stopping it from dropping into the river! Cars pull off to the side coming to aid when the guy dressed in his Sunday Going-To-Church outfit gets out of the car looking a little shaken but appearing fine physically-wise. Lots of folks were now there to assist so I did not stick around. The incident did make me pay attention to traffic thereafter. If I had been a minute sooner, I would have been in his way!

At about 18 km into my run, Kelly caught up with me! I have been following his blog for about a year or so now and it was nice to run into him running on the running path. We chatted for a bit but he is speedier than I am and if I wanted to finish my run I had to do my pace, which I think is a little more than a minute slower.

I was not surprised when I downloaded my 305 and it spit out the results. I knew it was a slower run this time around but hey, isn't that what the LSD is! Long SLOW Distance!

This is what my 305 spit out:

Time: 2:45:22
Distance: 24.26 kms
Pace: 6:49 min/km

After a week and a half of being down on my running, it feels like I am back on track!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Being Safe, Not Sorry

Gigantic Lesson Learned!

Every once in awhile our plan of attack changes for one reason or another such as two much snow for hiking boots or daylight hours are closing in. Today our plan changed for a totally different reason!

Our adventure designer completed an exhaustive level of research on the area we planned to venture to. The plan was reviewed by overseers and we were good to go! Simply shown here in this elevation graph is how the day unfolded!

It was the first time I ever did a hike or snowshoe where right from the vehicle is a steep downhill. We parked by a snow bank along the Smith Dorien Highway just 2 km past the Peninsula Day Use area. We climbed up on the snow bank only to see this steep downhill in front of us. The only way down was to sit down with feet in the air and just go. Once at the bottom, we had a steep uphill climb ahead of us in deep snow through the trees and bushes. This is me through the tree with my head down, labouring through. I can only believe this has to be an excellent upper body workout pulling yourself uphill in deep snow with a heavy back pack on.
We reached the old gypsum road and began to follow it. We had a steep up hill to our left and a steep downhill to our right as we followed the narrow road which was more like a two foot wide path. In a previous flat area a few experienced a gentle sensation. Along this road is where I felt it! Standing for a second, I heard a whoomph and felt my whole body drop except my heart, which felt like it was in my throat ready to come out my mouth. At this point others felt it quite significantly and frequently. We saw in front of us, a fracture line. If you click on the whoomph above and hit play, you can see what was ready to happen next.
I was thankful we had knowledgeable people with us who knew exactly what was happening and suggested we turn around and get out of here, back to before the old road. We found an opening on a gentle slope and decided this would be our dining spot. One of the fellows shoveled a hole to see what the layers of snow looked like. There you go, underneath was a layer of crystallized snow and then a wide pocket of nothing.
We enjoyed our lunch, took some group photos, then packed up for the steep downhill section. Most of this downhill, I spent on my behind, it felt safer and was easier on my legs and back. It was steep enough that we needed to stay in control, some did end up straddling trees.
Once back at our vehicles it was time to bring out the pelican snow flites! I am getting better and quicker at this, this time around my maximum speed was 19.3 km/hr.
Today was quite an adventure and learning experience! The whole whoomphing episodes were scary but quite neat. In a way I am glad I got to feel that, in the presence of others and knowledgeable folks. If it ever happens again, I will listen to the mountain and get the heck out of there!
After only 2.6 km and 4:05 due to steepness and bushwhacking, we still didn't make it to our destination because we believed it is better to be safe, not sorry! The incident was being reported to avalanche.ca so they can post an advisory notice on their website.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Lunch Run Replaces The Home Run

I put my new gym membership to use today! These "lunch runs" are going to work for me so much better then those "home runs"! I like this map of today's route. I go from a concrete jungle to a riverside park in about five minutes of running! My 305 didn't kick in until I got out of the jungle but it surprised me and stayed tuned in upon my return back to the jungle all the way to the front door of my gym. The reading that my 305 gave me represents .78 km short of what I actually did and this is what it looked like:

Time: 27:12 Distance: 4.3km Pace: 6:19 min/km

Today was a practice run through of how long it takes me to get to the gym, to change, to get out the door, do my run, shower, dress etc. and get back to my desk! With more practice, it should become a quicker and smoother process.

We are off to explore tomorrow, looking for an old gypsum mine. I was checking out my GemTrek Map to see what neck of the woods we are heading to this time! My map gives a route but whether we follow that is yet to be determined! After all, it's all about adventure!

I love my maps because, to me, they are more than just a piece of paper. They represent so much more! I even blogged about them last year in a post called Map Mania! Since that post, my map collection has grown!

Time to dig out my snowshoes, GPS, camera, pelican snow-flite and decide what attire will be suitable! Here's hoping for sunshine and lots of reasons to smile!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Panic Made Me Join !

When I checked into my blog this morning to see what others have been up to and I saw the countdown clock to the Police Half Marathon read 31 days, and 66 days until the Calgary Marathon, my heart skipped a beat and I panicked!

I have not run since my home run last Thursday! I missed last Sunday's 26km and have not made it up. The weather got in the way, the sidewalk conditions in my neighbourhood and on my home run route are downright treacherous. Work is very busy and the transit commute home seems to be taking longer these days. By the time I get home, I am beat! I need to run my runs!

Once the panic passed, I had a light bulb moment! I do my best thinking in the early morning.

I got to work, did a little work, then skipped out of work! All it took was 25 minutes! I popped into a gym close by my office and explained my situation! I told her, I just want a two month membership, a place to change, to shower, to lock up my stuff and once the last week of May comes, that's it. I told her I only want to run, I don't want anything extra, I do cross training on Saturdays, I do weights at home. She knew I meant business. She quoted me a price and it included a sign up fee and an initiaiton fee which made the grand total $315.00. I told her that was a little more than I was hoping to pay for two months. I asked if we could work something else out and she said what if we make it $100.00 a month to which I quickly said yes, signed up and 25 minutes later I was back in the office.

The pressure is off to try and fit runs in after work! My bag is packed, I will be running tomorrow at lunch time on clear dry paths!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Two, Two, Two Hikes In One!

Seeing as yesterday's cave adventure was complete by early afternoon, four of us carried on 20 minutes down the road to Banff to squeeze in another hike. We picked Tunnel Mountain which had many great views on the way up. It was a short hike of roughly 2.5 kms one way over an elevation of around 260 meters give or take a few here or there.

We came across this unusually shaped tree and it looked like an open invitation to conquer! We each had our turn scrambling onto it! Me, being the last, it wasn't pretty but I did it! You see, I was told if I could do this then I could probably do a moderate scramble. Game on!

Our time in Banff was topped off with shopping, chocolate and visiting a pub for dinner! This time I had pasta because I knew that would be best seeing as I was due to run 26 kms the next morning.
Well, the next morning came (this morning) and I woke to blizzard-type weather! I stayed in my PJs, drank lots of coffee and had a great big breakfast then went back to bed! I have to admit, I do like days like this at times! My 26km will have to come another time!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Dark Secret Discovered

Can I now call myself a spelunker? I would say so! What do you think after looking at these photos? What would normally be so beyond my comfort zone turned out being not so bad. Life to me is all about learning and growing and to do that sometimes barriers have to be crashed! This crash was head on with full force and coming out victorious at the end! This could only have happened with the fun folks I was with.

Sporting my helmet getting ready for the crash, this is the entrance to the Dark Secret! I have driven by here so many times never realizing this existed. I guess that was the whole idea when the shelter was built.
This is the view of Lac Des Arcs looking across the highway from the cave entrance.
Headlamps were mandatory! I was surprised how much light my little lamp gives off and with 13 of us shedding some light, we could well see our way.
Would you believe this was our dining spot? Others had been before us which was apparent from the fire pitts here and there, and the used tea-lights left behind. Our tea-lights were our only light for lunch, as we powered off the headlights. It was time for weaving tales and taking lots of photos.
We counted seven storage chambers each carved off this main tunnel. We explored each one finding things such as rebar hanging from the top, nests in the corner and fire pitts.
Nests? Yes, nests! This cave is home to the woodrat! This little fellow sat and stared at us for the longest time before jumping out and sprinting off into the darkness. If you click on the photo, you can get a clear view of him.
After lunch and more exploring, we followed the light of our lamps until we saw the light of day which lead us back out.
I still don't know why I started to get a headache upon our entrance to the cave! Was it because my helmet was too tight? Was I straining my eyes too much to see? Was it the stress and uncomfortableness of going to some place and being in some place that was just so far beyond my comfort zone! While dining, I popped two advil thinking that would help. The relief of the headache came as soon as I was out of the cave and took my helmet off. Did the relief come because the advil was working, because I was finally out of the cave or because I took my helmet off! Hmmm!
So, you saw photos of me entering the cave, in the cave and here climbing my way out! Would you call me a spelunker?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Recovery and Ready

Now that my long runs are getting long, it's time to plan my recovery from them before they even happen! This is my recipe to recovery:

2 cups of Yoplait Regular Yogurt
1/2 cup of milk,
1 banana

Blend them together and pour into a thermos to keep it cool.
Drink as soon as possible after the long run.

I used this for my marathon training a few years ago. It was the advice of a running guru and I found it worked. I would drink it on my drive home after my run. It's time to now through it into my routine.Not only is my recovery plan ready, but ready is what I am for Saturday too! It's a helmet! Not a bike helmet! Time to try something new!

Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

...but my play list will!

...accompany me on my home run today! For only the second time in two years, I tuned into my IPod while I ran. I enjoyed the company! Lifehouse joined me for awhile, as did Katy Perry. Both Chris Brown and Rihanna paced with me but not at the same time. Bon Jovi got me up the hills and do I dare say, The Pussycat Dolls pushed me on to home base!

I have yet to bare my legs while I run this year! Today would have been a great day to! I'm not quite there though...I need to work my way towards that. I should get a pair of those running capri pants!

So, it's another home run to add to my stats and the outcome was:

Time: 53:20
Distance: 8.1 kms
Pace: 6:35 min/km

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday + Sunday =

...equals...UGH! I think I survived! I should know by tomorrow! Today's run called for 23km but I came up short! I hit the path at 8:26 and only 17 minutes into the run, I was sorry I second-guessed myself! It never pays! I hate running with my jacket tied around my waist but that's what I resorted to. At the last second, I talked myself into wearing a jacket and there was definitely no need for it! I was feeling a bit fragile this morning and thought it would bring comfort.

Boy, lessons were learned this weekend! Not only was I reminded not to second guess, but I was reminded how important proper fuel is for energy. You see, after our hike yesterday, we stopped in Longview and I devoured a greasy burger and glass of 7-up! It was delicious at the time but geesh it sure did a number on my stomach, I made it home last evening just in time and I still felt the after effects during my run this morning.

Feeling like a bump on a log, this is what my run turned out to be:

Time: 2:28:43
Distance: 22.2 km
Pace: 6:42 min/km

It was slow, it was difficult, it was short by .8km but I will take it!

Then there was yesterday! Eleven of us spent most of the hike, climbing up and down terrain that looks like this, battling wind that I have never experienced before in my life. I'm disappointed that my GPS did not spit out the weather information this time because I sure would love to know what speed the gusts reached. A few lost items that were not tethered down one way or another! We guesstimated that the gusts were possibly around 100km/hr.
When we were not climbing up and down the mountains, then we were breaking trail through (thigh deep for me, hip deep for some and even waist deep for a few) snow like this.
We felt reprieve when the route took us along areas like this, away from elevation and away from deep snow. The only thing here was, we did have to battle snow cyclones and they could be painful on the face.
We had company along the way. I have never seen tracks like this! What kind of animal could this be! Meow! I need to get one of those little books to carry in my backpack that identify animal tracks.
The map is busy! If you click on it you will have a better view. I am still learning things about my GPS and Google Earth! I'm terrible with directions. I like lots of landmarks so I can get my bearings. The red line is the route we took.
I sure hope Saturday's hike of 11.6 km with about 560 meters of elevation accounts for something towards my marathon training. It seemed like such a struggle the whole way! Even though, it was still fun being out in these new elements with fun people cause it made me feel like I was on top of the world!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Loving Life Right Now

This morning's run was quick and short with no Garmin to confirm what I actually did, but my old Timex Ironman Flix told me I put in 32 minutes. That's about it for this week until tomorrow which calls for 23km. I can hardly wait, I love those long runs! It's my quiet time to deal with things and organize what needs to be planned for, going forward.

Ah! Family and Fun! That's what this week is all about! Here we are at Lake Louise, me, my niece and brother all bundled up to endure the elements! It was -29C! I'm use to it but it was an eye-opener for them! Good thing blankets were provided for the sleigh ride! We spent a day at Sunshine! Them skiing, me enjoying the sunshine! I like the "then and now" photos. I hiked up on top of the ski area back in October and it looked like this! Yesterday was a different story! They skied for about three hours and I let my brother take my 60CSX. It was interesting to see what their ski looked like on Google Earth and to see the speed variances plotted.
A day of shopping already took place! They did leave items for other people to buy! The selection was great for them here in the big city. Now it's go time again! We are off to the Brier for the afternoon and then meeting up with other family members.

I'm ready for my 23 km run tomorrow after they leave and also for my 15 km hike on Saturday!

I'm loving life right now and feeling like I am on top of the world!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Timely Book Report

How fitting to do this book report now! We had a snowfall overnight that makes it look quite Christmasy out! Yikes, but it's March 8th and this is what I see as I look out my front upstairs window. I'm glad I got my long run in yesterday! "The Christmas Blessing" was a book I received as a Christmas gift from J Mo as part of a package of running theme gifts. It's a fluffy, feel-good, quick-read, little story about a runner who overcomes adversity in her life and the role of others who come into her circle.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Windward Bound

For a change, I'm throwing in a little of the "mix it up" scenario into my weekend routine! It's just past noon on Saturday and my long run is done! I've been home for awhile after stopping for groceries after my run, I cleaned up, had lunch, did laundry, took the garbage out and cleaned my three bathrooms. Whooh! I can hardly wait to visit my T.V. and sofa!

Today called for 19 km! At the 25 minute point into my run, I thought if I stopped to walk across the ice patch, I might not run again. I felt tired and my legs felt heavy. The whole first hour was into the wind, which was continuous and at times gusting to 35kph (according to my 305). I pushed into it until the 9.5 km mark and felt a big relief when I got to turn around and head east. I took my jacket, gloves and hat off and unzipped my top.

At Edworthy I saw my hiking buddies gathering to head out to the mountains for the day. I really wanted to be with them! They had a great itinerary to attack! I carried on and shortly thereafter, a fellow who I had a few dates with last year caught up with me. In the span of 30 seconds, he said "you need to stretch", "you look stiff", "you should lengthen your stride", "you should do speed work"! Then my 305 signaled to me that it was time to walk and he does not walk so continued on running. Thank you 305, if not for you, I would have heard more unsolicited advice! It reminded me of when I use to be a big time golfer and people just had to give advice on my swing, as if they knew it all!

I love the long runs! Today's was just over two hours and that was perfect for me! I look forward to next weekends 23 km distance. As for today though, the final tally looks like this:

Time: 2:05:09
Distance: 19.23 km
Pace: 6:32 min/km

Now it's time to relax and then finish getting ready for my brother and niece who arrive tomorrow from Nova Scotia, to visit with me for a week! Boy, I feel like the luckiest girl alive these days, almost like I am "on top of the world".

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Piece of the Pie

Hey, a pie chart of today's run! My run was a short one, so the pieces of pie are little! I always like the bigger pieces of pie and in this case, I do too as 42% shows running downhill! I wonder if there is a marathon that is 42 kms of very, very, gradual downhill running!
Add up the pieces of pie and it amounts to:
Distance 4.59 kms
Time 28:29 min
Pace 6:12 min/km

I'll take that but I would rather it with a flaky crust and filled with apple!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Peppie from the GET-GO

Thank you to those who posted an answer to my "Take It and Run Thursday" question! I took a PowerGel, along with some water/Gatorade, just before I started my morning run. Whether it was psychological or it actually worked, but I felt peppie right from the get-go! I had to harbour my exuberance if I wanted to complete my planned distance.

Along with trying out the new gel routine, I also tried out my brand new spankie sneakers. With that new duo, and having to wear only one layer on the bottom and two light shirts, I felt light and bouncy and I just sailed through my run.

I like how my out and back route looks on this google map! It looks like I ran really far! What I did run was:
Time: 1:47:01
Distance: 16.44kms
Pace: 6:30 min/km