Sunday, July 27, 2014

STWM: Training Diary Week 5

I can't call this training, at least not this week.  I awoke on Sunday feeling not very well so instead of my scheduled 6 miles, I hopped on the treadmill and walked 3.  And that was the extent of my week.  Yep, just the one day of walking.  No running, no other treadmill walks, nothing.  Blech.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Doctor Doolittle

The giant orange furball, aka Nero, and I headed off to long overdue checkup with the Vet today.
Don't worry, I didn't ACTUALLY transport him in a backpack.  Although it was tempting.... He went into his new carrying case quite easily and then... proceeded to wail and howl like he was being tortured.  Sigh.  As we waited for the elevator, I was sure our neighbours were going to start popping their heads out of their apartments to stare at us in annoyance and judgement.  The cab ride was relatively uneventful.  I'm not sure if the continued wailing from Nero was due to his shock and discomfort or if he was bothered by the overwhelming smell of oil/grease in the vehicle. Ugh.

Nero hasn't been to any Vet since he had crystals and that was about 7 years ago?  Needless to say it was about time.  For the past couple of years, he's been getting some residue/deposit/gunk on the edge of his nose - you can see it ithe picture below.  It doesn't bother him in terms of breathing and I can rub it off with my fingers but I've never had it happen with any other cat I've had before so I wanted it checked out.
After Anubis' rapid deterioration following his traumatic visit to the Glenora Cat Clinic earlier this year, I opted to take the Emperor to a different clinic.  Luckily, the Rossetti Veterniary Centre is just a couple of blocks away from the GCC so we didn't have to travel any further.  I am sooooo happy with this new Vet.  We lucked out and met with Dr. Rossetti himself and he LOVED Nero.  I have never seen him so well behaved and quiet when being poked and prodded by a stranger.  Dr. Rossetti gave him the once over - healthy weight, good heart and lungs, no blockages or lumps.  He's concerned that Nero may have allergies which is what I had suspected as well.  He didn't go out much when we lived in our old apartment but where we live now, he's able to go out on the balcony and get exposed to all manner of flying pollen and dusties.  We left after he received a steroid shot with the promise that they would call us a couple of times in the next few weeks to see if it helps.  We'll definitely go back to visit with Dr. R and his staff again.

After an uneventful (and relatively quiet) taxi ride home, someone let us know he was not amused.

Final bit of "cat news", while pulling some of my fave Nero pics from my Flickr account, I found one of my alltime favourite shots of the boys.  
Typically Nero, splayed out and exposing his jibblies to the world.  Anubis, in healthier happier days, looks like he'd dreaming of pouncing through the grass chasing bugs as he was so fond of doing.  I miss that furry little bugger.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

STWM: Training Diary Week 4

SUNDAY:
After last week's lackadaisical attitude towards my training and not even attempting to try and beat the heat, I was determined this week will be much better.  I headed out Sunday morning for my long walk; I had 5.5 miles scheduled.  My plan was to do the same route as last week and tack on a small  side route at the end to get that extra half mile. Everything went well and I was prepared for the possibility of racing to a bathroom since I knew where they were this time out. Surprise surprise, I didn't need one until I got home!  Not sure what was up with last week then.  

The small park behind the Legislature had been watered recently so, even though the trail was clear, there were a lot of mosquitos on the hunt for breakfast.  Lucky me, my blood is super tasty.  Note to self - ALWAYS wear sunscreen AND insect repellant (I skipped on the insect spray this time).  Not sure why the skeeters think I'm so tasty but they do...  This week, I timed myself as usual but forced myself to keep it on the slow side and just "do the distance".  Therefore no running.  I sped up now and then but not to race speed.  My hands tend to swell when I walk so every once in a while, I make sure to raise and swing my arms to get things moving.
I took this shot from one of the bridges in town - not a cloud in the sky. Ugh.  That means no reprieve from the blazing hot sun.  Despite the lack of bug spray, I remembered to slather myself in 30SPF as usual so I wasn't worried about a sunburn.  There were a lot of people out running and cycling Sunday morning.  What a difference half an hour makes.  
I passed by this little furry fellow on my travels.  He was soooo tiny! Just sitting there munching away oblivious to all the people passing him by.  Adorable. Around mile three, my left foot (surprise) started to hurt.  Not the tight feeling or cramping from my muscles; nope, it was my arthritis.  Normally, walking will help with the pain but not today.  It began to get worse the closer I got to home so I skipped the extra half mile.  Fortunately, I have anti-inflammatories my Doctor gave for just such an occasion so I took one when I got home.  Pain gone shortly after.  All in all, Sunday's walk felt pretty good (other than the foot!).  I didn't have the problems with my hip/butt muscles I had last week so I'm counting that as progress!

TUESDAY: Too hot.

WEDNESDAY: Too hot.

THURSDAY:  FINALLY! Rain!  Not much but enough to cool things off enough that I could get a workout in.  I hopped on the treadmill after work and managed 2.25 miles.  Felt awesome to get more than one walk in this week. Sure, its only the second one (third in two weeks...ugh) but its better than not walking, am I right?

FRIDAY: Nope.

Not thrilled with the poor number of miles I've logged the past two weeks but the heat and I just do NOT get along.  Here's hoping next week is better!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

STWM: Training Diary Week 3

SUNDAY:  Five miles - done!  It wasn't easy though.  I headed out at around 630am to avoid the heat, bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Despite not drinking anything for the hour before I left and going to the bathroom right before I walked out the door, within half an hour my bladder was bursting. I struggled with what to do - do I go off my planned route and hit the McD's a few blocks out of my way or try and see if any of the University buildings are open and I can sneak in to one of their much cleaner bathrooms?  I opted for number 2 (no pun intended).  Twenty minutes later I was on campus and trying doors to a number of buildings along Saskatchewan drive  No luck.  Argh.  The pressure on my bladder increased.  If all else failed and there was NO indoor bathroom option/outhouse, nature would accommodate.  However, the traffic (both pedestrian and vehicle) along Saskatchewan Drive was increasing and the woods along the river valley side were dark and promised to be home to any number of creepy crawlies.  I struggled onwards.


Emily Murphy saved my life.
I'd made it this far, I figured I could make it to the porta-potties at Government House Park if I absolutely had to without doing too much irreparable damage to my bladder.  And then it hit me - Emily Murphy Park.  For the past few years, we've held a work picnic in the park and they have indoor bathrooms!  Oh dear god, please let them be open.  Instantly, my bladder took this new hope as a sign that it was going to give up.  I practically threw myself down the hill with little caution or concern to my own personal safety.  "Please be open! Please be open" was my mantra as I winded my way towards the building.  Off to my right was a sign with the park hours.  I couldn't tell if it said the park opened at 6 or 8 there was so much sweat in my eyes.  As I got closer, I did a little skip of joy - it opens at 5!   I was so excited I stopped to take a picture of the park's namesake.  Yes, bladder be damned.  It didn't take long though before the urge reminded me of why I was there in the first place!  I rushed to the building and ... it was open!  Heavens rejoice!  I took a good five minutes to do my business, and take advantage of the running water to wash my face.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

The rest of my walk was fairly uneventful - the number of runners, walkers and cyclists increased and I was so happy, I said hello and good morning to everyone.  By the time I got home, my hips/butt muscles were in full rebellion however and I barely managed to throw myself onto the couch without crying out.  Who knew have a mile would have made such a difference?  My lower back was also sore (its hard not to clench when you have to wee!) so I begged Mommikins to remove my compression socks.  Its hard to complain though when the views on my walk are like this.

TUESDAY/WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY/FRIDAY:  No training.  There was still a good deal of complaining muscles on Tuesday so I passed on walking or running.  On Wednesday, it was way too freaking hot again.  Things cooled off on Thursday and I had plans to hop on the treadmill when I got home but... I was already a lazy pants and figured one more day won't matter!  Plus the weather had cooled off dramatically.  This normally would have been the perfect day then to train.  However, I hadn't slept well for the past few nights and the cool weather was a big "SLEEP NOW" sign to my body.  I think I was in bed by 7PM on Thursday night.  Friday?  Heat returned. Blech.

Next week will be better... although its supposed to be wicked hot again. Damn.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

STWM: Training Diary Week 2

Normally, I like my treadmill but during Sunday's long slow distance (LSD) I hated it. When I woke up on Sunday, it was raining and I didn't feel like slogging through 4.5 miles in a downpour so I figured I'd hop on the treadmill and watch a little MSNBC while I walked.  I've done four miles on the treadmill before. This shouldn't be a problem. Ugh.

I started out chipper and gung-ho!  Look - I'm smiling!  that quickly changed.  For some reason, no matter how slow I walked, it all seemed to be too fast.  What was wrong with me?  The first two miles took forever. I couldn't believe it.  Only two miles?  Double ugh.  I'd get bursts of energy where I sped up to a decent (but slower than racing!) speed which helped but I was a sweaty dripping mess by the time I finished.  Maybe I should have just braved the rains and gone outside.  Oh well.

Waking up on Monday, I was stiff and sore.  Definitely a foam rolling, stretching kind of day for me. Or it should have been.  I rolled a little bit but did no stretching, yoga, or nearly as much foam rolling as I should have (i.e. I only did one leg!).  Tuesday I ran. Things went pretty well - I had 2.5 miles planned but decided to only go for two.  Considering how wiped out I was last week, I didn't want to push it.  The plan was to try and run 2x2s but that didn't happen. Instead I did a weird R1/W1/R1W2 for the first mile and then walked the second.  I was hot, sweaty and exhausted by the time I was done.  All I could think of was that Wednesday was not going to happen at this point. However...

Wednesday afternoon I went out for a two mile walk.  Not my smartest move.  It wasn't because I was tired, sore or uninspired; it was god-awful hot with a toasty warm wind blowing every which way.  Pretty sure I ended up with a sunburn.  And I brought home a friend - a slimy green caterpillar that hitched a ride on my shirt back to my apartment.  The river valley is currently coated in these blighters.  For the first part of my walk, I could skirt around them as they hung down over the path, pretending to be Tom Cruise as they repelled from the trees above.  However, I would turn a corner and the path would be so covered in stringy caterpillar webs I thought I'd stumbled into Shelob's Lair. Yes, I'm that much of a geek.

Friday's scheduled two miler didn't happen - its been way too hot and muggy for me lately and I was exhausted and sweaty by the time I got home late from work.  So, I took it easy and rested Friday and Saturday instead. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

STWM: Training Diary Week 1

I did it. I survived the first week of training for my half marathon.  Should I back and do a proper intro?  Ok sure but I'll make it short and sweet.  The women in my family, especially my mother's side of the family are nuts.  Plain and simple.  You want proof?  The older we get, the more we seem to sign up to do things that you'd expect much younger folk to do.  Case in point, three of us have registered to do the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  My mother is in her late 60s, my Aunt is in her mid 50s and I'm in my 40s.  Yep, crazy.  Unlike my previous attempt to do a half marathon, I decided to actually train for this one and see if it might help me cross the finish line this time.  Rather than writing a summary of each workout and boring my non-running readers to death, I'll do a weekly summary so you can get it over with in one shot.

So, my very first day of training went pretty well although my bladder might not agree.  I followed this up with two miles on Tuesday using the treadmill. My shorter runs are scheduled during the week and considering how early I go to bed, heading out into the river valley after work doesn't really work. So, I'm sticking to the treadmill for anything up to three miles.  Since these sessions are supposed to be faster, I'm also trying to run part of them (intervals).  The Tuesday run went well enough but come Wednesday, when I was scheduled for another two miles, I was exhausted.  I figured I'd push it to Thursday and finish off the week with my last scheduled session on Friday.  Um... no.  I walked on Thursday but pushed myself too hard and the area right above my ankles protested.  No training on Friday. However, I managed 8.5+ (including warmups) for the first week and I'm pretty proud of that.  Looking forward to week 2!

I also received my medal for the "May The Fourth Be With You" walk I did back in late April.  Look at me!  WOOT.  My collection doubled just like that!   
To help out with my training later this summer, I've registered for another race, this time running trails in the river valley.  Robyn has organized the EarthGroove 10K Valley Trail Run for mid August.  I've registered for the 5K run although its still not clear whether I'll be running or walking.  Its a shorter distance (3 miles) than I'm scheduled to do that Sunday (8 miles) but its on trails not road and its a race so its ok.  The following week, I'm hoping to also shorten my distance.  I'm scheduled to do 8.5 miles but I'm planning on registering for the 10K race (6.25 miles) which is part of the Edmonton Marathon weekend. These two races will give me a great indication of where I am in terms of training and how things are progressing.

The adventure continues...!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Its Training Day!

Today was the first official day of training for the half marathon in Toronto this fall.  It is also the first full day of summer - yay! Days are getting shorter! WOOT!  Just teasing .... sort of.  Anyways, according to the training program Pat the Runner and I whipped together earlier this year, I was scheduled to do 4 miles.
The "Program"
So, at the incredibly early time of 6AM, I suited up, slathered on the sunscreen, filled my water bottles and laced up my Mizunos.

It was a beautiful morning in the river valley today - a crisp 9C but plenty of sun.  There weren't too many people out there yet which was just fine with me.  It was one of the first times wearing my running skirt outside, in public (!), and I was feeling self conscious.  I was testing out my entire half marathon outfit to see how it felt and to start getting used to the weight of the fully loaded belt.  The weight wasn't much of an issue and I discovered I preferred wearing it backwards (as I do with my skirt) so the bottles are in the back.  Wearing it with the bottles in front like I'm supposed to, my arms smack into them when I swing them.  Argh.

Anyways, I took the "Long Slow Distance" instructions a bit too literally and apparently was walking slower than I do on my treadmill.  By the time I reached the turnaround point, I was behind schedule.  However, I had to pee so badly, I thought I was going to have to jump into the bushes.  Fortunately, a little further down the trail was a park with outhouses I was praying were unlocked.  So, I powered on and added an extra half mile to my total for the morning.  I momentarily considered returning to the church when I saw the port-a-potties were available!  That thought quickly evaporated as my nostrils filled with the fumes as I stepped inside.  Yadda yadda yadda...I started walking home.

Seriously behind in terms of time, I decided to try and make up some time by running, one minute at a time.  I probably shaved about five minutes off my time imagining I was a Kenyan as I plodded along.  All in all, I did 4.5 miles (next Sunday's mileage!) in 89 minutes.  I need to drop that down by at least ten minutes but I keep telling myself Sunday's are all about distance, not time.  I'm going to leave my watch at home on Sundays and only use it on those days I have shorter distances and can focus on time more.  Next up - two miles on Tuesday and two miles on Wednesday although I think I scheduled hill work with Robyn.  Eeek!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Goodbye Grief

It’s been a while since I posted anything here and for regular readers, I hope you can forgive me. The past month has had its ups and downs which I haven’t had the energy to talk about until now.

First off, as those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know, we had to make the heartbreaking decision to put my beloved Anubis down four weeks ago.  He’d been suffering from kidney failure/renal disease and it was the best option for him given its rapid progression. In all fairness, I probably should have made the decision much earlier but I had a terrible time admitting to myself that I had to let him go.  He went quickly and peacefully (Mom was with him – too upsetting for me), and I miss him beyond words.  Even writing this, thinking about him, I’m fighting back tears.  Nothing will ever fill the Nubs sized hole in my heart but I have a million wonderful memories of him over our 15 years together.
Nero is trying his best (as is Rocky) to help me heal.  He’s been cuddlier than normal, not as loud at 330 in the morning and adorably cute.  The two remaining boys realized quickly something was up when suddenly the old man was no longer around.  It took them both a while to adjust but things are settling. Our building’s manager is allowing us the opportunity to make a forever home to another feline despite the rules about only having two cats (long story; they’ve been very generous with us) but after careful consideration over the past month, I don’t think I want another cat at this time.  Nero deserves to get the kind of attention I didn’t give him when Anubis was alive.  I focused almost solely on my relationship with Nubs and often ignored Nero, and he ignored me.  Now is his time and I will give him the love and attention he deserves.  He’s about 13 years old now and getting on in kitty years.
In non-cat related news, I applied for a new job.  To be honest, I didn’t think I’d get an interview.  Since applying, I’ve had two.  Now, it’s wait and see time.  They should be making a decision by the end of this week but they haven’t called my references yet and I’m starting to worry.  At first, I didn’t care (much) if I got the job or not – I have a good job that I enjoy and people that I like working with.  The higher pay and responsibility would be nice but I wouldn’t be disappointed if it didn’t work out. Then I had the first interview.  I LOVE these people!  There were so many connections and great moments that I couldn’t have asked for a better interview. And then, the next business day, I was asked to come in for a second interview.  That one? I’m not too sure about.  It didn’t go badly but I couldn’t read the interviewer’s body language or face – no visual feedback at all.

Now, I care.  I really want this job.  It’s down to just two or three of us, from about 10 who were interviewed.  Hopefully, I’ll know by the end of this week. Fingers crossed that someone is away and that’s what’s holding up the reference checks and final decision.  The waiting is the stressful part.  I’d do both interviews all over again if it meant not having this period of not knowing and having no control over the process! Argh. Stay tuned.

And that, my friends, is my life in a nutshell for the past month.  Unless you live in a bubble, its World Cup time which means my free time is taken up with matches and talking to other fans about the Beautiful Game.  Pretty soon, you’ll also be inundated with running/walking updates as my “official” training for the half marathon in October begins Sunday.  Le sigh.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

The Week That Was

Not much going on in my little corner of the universe.  I entered another virtual race, May the Fourth Be With You, in support of Spinal Muscular Atrophy research.  The race had to be completed by May 4 - Star Wars Day - so I took care of it on Wednesday, my day 
5K Walk/Run - Medal Earned
My original plan was to try and run it using a Run 1/Walk 1 method.  I figured this would be the easiest way to get back into the swing of things since I haven't been running regularly for about 6 months now.  It did not go well.  After six intervals, I quickly realized how much of a set back those six months have been.  Not only did my foot start to cramp up, the running itself was incredibly difficult.  So, instead, I walked the rest of it.  Not great time but I did it, earned my cool medal and got a lot of support from other people registered for the race. Thankfully, I had a scheduled physio appointment the same morning!  Turns out I overdid it a bit on the treadmill and was dehydrated and exhausted for the next two days but all's well now.

Followers on Facebook know that I recently purchased a BBQ - my first real BBQ since moving out on my own oh so many years ago.  Got a great deal on Walmart Canada's website including free shipping (I know...Walmart...try not to judge).

Sparky the Blue BBQ
Coworker Lily thought I bit off more than I could chew when I said I was going to put it together myself, saying it was a bit more complicated than Ikea furniture. Um... I'm quite handy.  I found it slightly offensive that she thought I couldn't do it mainly 'cause I'm a chick.  I put the standing frame together without any issue.  Then, when I went to add the tires so it could stand up, I encountered a problem. No, I didn't need someone with a Y-chromosome to come and rescue me; I was missing a part.  I ripped apart the box, checked all the pieces against the instructions and... sure enough, they forgot the axle for the tires.  Arrgh.  I called the company the next day and within five minutes, I had a replacement part shipped to me free of charge.  They had GREAT customer service.  Big thanks to Big Brother and Super Duper SIL for picking us up a can of propane and delivering it.  Those suckers are heavy!

Those were the big events this week.  I've eaten out far too much this week so this weekend I wanted to try and eat a bit healthier. 
Buffalo chicken meatballs, jasmine rice, broccoli with cheez whiz.
I devoured this tonight and practically had to fight the cats to see who would get to lick the plate clean after it was all gone.  Good news - I had enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow!  Sweet.  No bike riding this weekend for me - far too cold.  There's talk of snow but no sign of it yet.  Unfortunately, our neighbours to the south in Calgary got dumped on today.  Yikes!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Numb...

No, not another complaint post about the problems with my legs and feet!  Aren't you lucky?!  Instead, I'm here to sing the praises of my second bike ride of the season!  Despite waking to yet another wet, windy and "will it never end" kinda morning, I desperately wanted to get out and take Cherie for a ride.  I'm not confident enough in my biking abilities to ride around in the pouring rain, nor did I relish freezing again as I cycle in 0C temps so I had almost given up hope of enjoying some fresh air.  However, by 9AM it had "warmed" up to +2C and I figured it was now or never.  Out I went, once more donning toque and mittens.
Brrrrr.  And once more, my ears were frozen by the time I climbed back up the hill to my apartment twenty minutes later. Not only were they numb from the wind, my thighs were numb from the exertion and close to giving up altogether in protest. While I was out, I ran into the Goose I came across last week and this time his Missus had joined him.  I wish they would move back to the river valley side of this not very busy road - not a lot of danger of being hit by a car but its not a great spot if they're looking at building a nest.
When I finally wheeled my bike back to its spot in my room, Nubs was there to greet me.  Still skinny as a string bean but no signs of getting worse.  Ah, old age.  

I was surfing the 'net this morning, I came across a blog I used to follow when I first bought my bike. Girls and Bicycles is a local blog (Edmonton) written by the lovely Sarah. I stopped reading a few bike blogs, Sarah's included, when my focus switched to running, but it was a joy to find it again.  What I didn't realize until this morning?  She's also the wife of our current mayor, Don Iveson!