Tuesday, July 31, 2012

making the switch - to kilometres

I've mentioned before that I run in miles and that the reason for that was sort of to trick myself. When I started running I had no idea how long a mile was and really had no reference point for a mile. Three miles felt easier than 5 kilometres and I happily trained in miles. So when I got a Garmin a few years ago, I put it on the miles setting and have happily paced in miles too. But I'm thinking of making the switch - again, as a way to trick myself.

I'm trying to get a bit faster (although a humid summer does not really seem like the best time...but we'll just ignore that part), so I need to be paying attention to my pace and running fairly uncomfortably. Since a lot of what goes into running and training is mental and it is often my mental game that lets me down when I run, I'm trying to think of ways to play tricks on myself. I think that switching my pacing to kilometres might be a way of helping me out. When I look at speed workouts with paces in kilometres, I don't really know how fast it is. I can't get nervous and think "there's no way I can run that fast" because I have no idea what it really means. I am currently looking at a training plan all in kilometres and thinking "hey, that doesn't look so bad" but then when I look at the final finish time for the race, I know it is going to be hard.
Speed of Light

I know that running in kilometres alone will not make me faster - I know it is mostly going to take hard work, but I'm hoping that making the switch to pacing in minutes per kilometre might trick my brain just enough to make it feel a little more achievable.

Do you think it will work?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

growing your bangs out and other annoying things

If you've ever had to grow your bangs out, I think you know exactly how annoying it is. You have to find awkward ways to either pin them off your face or put a headband on (which often just results in the hair "flopping" over the headband and looking weird) or trying to part them and spray them and hope for the best (and hope for no wind). Growing out your bangs? The worst.
not my current awkward length, but still not good
On that note - here are some other things that are "the worst:"

A typo or grammar mistake in a tweet. Ugh. That's the worst. I don't care if other people do it...but when I do it, it is the worst. I then have to delete it in shame.

Speaking of tweets - when you accidentally retweet instead of reply or just click to expand it. Not only do your followers wonder what you're smoking, but the person you retweeted probably thinks you're an idiot.

When you don't realize your curtains are open and you walk into your bedroom naked after getting after a shower. Yes, I will track from the bathroom to the bedroom naked if we have no guests, and yes, this happened to me recently. I have no idea if anyone saw me.

Humidity. Do I really need to say anything else? Totally the worst. Even though my grandmother claims it is great. She and I have agreed to disagree.

When the "last bit" of something you thought was in the fridge or cupboard isn't there because somebody else ate it. Not fun.

Yes, I realize that this post should really be called "yes...I have REAL problems." So - what's the worst in your world these days?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

something new: a free bootcamp

I haven't been doing a very good job with strength training. When I lived in Ottawa, I did group strength training classes 2 or 3 times a week - very consistently. It was awesome to watch my progress as I started with the lightest weights and worked my way through to heavy ones. Since moving to Montreal almost 2 years ago, I haven't been consistent with my strength training. I've done some TRX here and there and have done some body weight training - but nothing consistent and nothing in a group. When I saw an announcement for a free bootcamp put on by lululemon, I decided to check it out.

Pre-boot camp: Bright and early (ok, not that early, but it started at 9) Saturday morning I grabbed my water bottle, ran to the park, and managed to find where the boot camp was taking place (it is a decently sized park and all the announcement said was 'in the park'). I had to sign a waiver promising not to sue lululemon if I dropped dead...but they make people do that for yoga classes too so I tried not to assume the trainer would try to kill us.

The workout: There was a decent sized group and we were lead through a warm-up that included squats, pushups, and sit-ups. Just when I thought the warm-up was over and we were going to go play with the fun equipment (like ropes and the sled that you pull...) it was time for more warm-up: a suicide drill with burpees that increased in number at each line. Then we were TRULY warmed up and were able to do the circuit - 11 stations that worked almost all muscle groups. I can't remember if we did 3 or 4 rounds of the circuit...but it was hard work and fun too.
trying my best to pull myself up on those rings
We finished off with abs. Half a card deck of each suit being an abdominal exercise and we had to do the number listed on the card (4 of diamonds = 4 russian twists. King of spades = 11 crunches). I finished feeling tired but satisfied I got a great workout. And then I had to run home. I have to say -  the first 400 meters or so of the run home made me wonder if I'd have to walk home, but once my muscles calmed down a bit, it turned out to be a nice cool-down.

The aftermath: By the evening, my legs already felt tired going up and down stairs. Sunday I woke up with sore muscles (especially my arms - oh my weak arms) that just got more sore throughout the day (despite my run in the morning). I thought my abs had be spared, but was hit by the "DOMS" (delayed onset muscle soreness) on Monday. I'm still a little sore but the soreness is a good reminder that I need to do this more often!

My first free bootcamp: successful! I'll hopefully be back this Saturday morning and whenever else they offer it. Hopefully I can find some other good (and either free or cheap) strength options going forward. No more slacking with the strength training!

Friday, July 20, 2012

good reads

I've read a couple of things that I've found pretty interesting in the last few days - so if you're bored and looking for some reading (well, online reading), check these out:

Why It is Hard to Make Friends (when you're old like I am)
Why #surviveon35 misses the mark (a well written and well thought out critique on a "budgeting" challenge - some of the comments are also worth a read)

And since I complained about lack of pretty scenery running in the city, I decided to take a picture to prove to myself that it really isn't so bad. I was riding along the canal bright and early yesterday morning. The canal was so still and glassy and the city was still quiet enough to hear everything around me. I meant to take a picture then, but settled on taking one during my afternoon run instead.
Atwater canal by evening
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

seen on the run

Sometimes I'm a little jealous of all of the things trail runners get to see when on the run. Beautiful views, trees, mountains, animals...I wish I could see all that natural beauty regularly. Then I remind myself that city running has its bonuses. First off - you don't have to worry about getting stranded in the middle of nowhere if something goes wrong, but most importantly, city running means great people watching.

Running in the city means seeing people doing very normal things and doing very strange things. Yesterday was one of my favourites - besides the usual random person drinking Pabst, a runner in head to toe 70.3 gear, and bikers decked out like they're riding the tour de France, the best sighting was something I had never seen before but was pretty awesome. Standing on the canal, using the barrier/fence as a barre, a lady had her big headphones (and street clothes) on and was doing ballet. I was filling my water bottle as I spotted her, and actually stopped and watched for a few minutes.

Have you seen anything interesting on the run lately?

Friday, July 13, 2012

oiselle roga shorts - a review (and comparison)

As I mentioned in my 5 things post this week - not that long ago I had no shorts and now I have many pairs of shorts. But here's the thing - I'm very picky about them. Those Nike Tempo shorts that so many people have tonnes of? They look terrible on me and I hate them -which is how I felt about a lot of shorts. Then I found the lululemon speed short and figured I had a favourite short for life.
in my speed shorts
Earlier this year I started to hear about the Oiselle Roga short, heard good things, and thought I'd give them a try. I got them at the beginning of June and thought I'd share my thoughts (and a bit of a comparison between the Roga and the Speed Short).
in my rogas
Length: My biggest concern about the shorts was the length. I had to order them without trying them on, I had no idea where they would hit my leg, and was worried they'd be an awkward length on me. Luckily, they're not. They're pretty much perfect.
a little longer than the speed short
My biggest complaint about the speed short has been that when I get really sweaty and am running a little longer, they stick to me and creep up a bit at the front. The bonus about the Roga being a little longer and slightly looser than the speed short, is that this doesn't happen. Point - Roga.

Fabric: The Roga is a little lighter and feels a little more "naked" than the classic Speed Short. I know lululemon has come out with a lighter version of the short this year - but I don't have those. So for the pairs of speed shorts I have vs the Roga? Point - Roga

Pockets: The Lulu shorts have a zip pocket on the back waistband and the newer ones have 2 small pockets within the waistband that are very accessible(yeah, I have some old ones without the new pockets). The Roga has a back zipper pocket on the bum and then a small pocket sort of in the liner, sort of not, that isn't easily accessible but that works well for a key.

While the back pocket on the Roga is bigger, I really like the front waistband pockets in the Speed Short and find that I miss it. Point - Speed Short.

Price/Convenience: The Speed Short is $54 CDN before tax, I can walk 10 minutes to buy them or I can get them online with free shipping. Total: $62.05 CDN (with either minimal shipping time or I get them right away from the store).

The Roga is $44 USD and the only option is to buy them online. Shipping is $13.95 USD and takes about a week. Total: $58.72 CDN (depending on the exchange rate)

Despite the fact that it takes a little longer, it isn't like it is that hard to wait for a pair of shorts in the mail. Point - Roga

I never thought I'd say it - but move over Speed Short - there's a new favourite in my closet - the Roga.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

three things thursday - the it is my friday edition

Happy Thursday! I hope you've all had a great week. Tomorrow is one of my summer Friday's off - so I'm excited that today is like Friday to me! Here are my three things.

1- Part of my birthday present yesterday was this:
For a second I thought that maybe Ryder was coming for a visit, but the pink jersey will do just fine :) (so sad he crashed out of the Tour de France)

2- Speaking of the Tour de France, there is a Kronenbourg beer commercial that airs during the coverage that my niece Zoey dances to every time. Yesterday, the commercial came on, I told Jordan about the dancing, so he started to dance. When I told my sister that Jordan was dancing to Zoey's commercial, she said that they were watching too and that Zoey was dancing. Well, Zoey has now been challenged to a dance-off via FaceTime. If part marks are for cuteness, I hate to tell Jordan that he has no chance...

3- I know it is old news - but did you read the interview with the guy who claims he could run a sub-2 hour (yes, that is 2 and not 3) marathon because he runs in a weight vest and does lunges in a weight vest too? By no means am I saying he is a slow runner...he's done a 2:16 marathon. But dude - that 17 minutes is a HUGE amount of time in terms of marathoning. And until you're putting up numbers closer to the 2 hour mark? I will remain skeptical.

What do you think - will we see a sub 2 hour marathon anytime soon? And will it be from that guy?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

five things about me - part five

I haven't done one of these in awhile, so I thought it was time to bring back the five things (you can find the others here if you're curious)

1- When I moved from Calgary to Ottawa in 2005, I did not own a pair of shorts. Not shorts for sports, no casual shorts..no shorts at all. Now, I own more than 15 pairs (some for normal wear, some for running).

2- I think professional cyclists are some of the toughest and fittest athletes on the planet.
(taken from the team FB page)
3- I have been to all of the Canadian provinces except for Newfoundland. Once I go there, I guess I should get to the Territories.

4 - We've gone without cable (or really any channel other than CBC) since we moved to Montreal, but since our digital antenna wasn't reliably picking up CTV and that's the network that is showing the Olympics, we had cable installed this week. Totally worth it.

5- I have two pairs of Birkenstocks and they're not the same size...
yes, i have a long big toe
Olympics - yay or nay?

Friday, July 06, 2012

the greatest outdoor show on earth

The Calgary Stampede - the "greatest outdoor show on earth" - starts today. It is part rodeo, part agricultural fair, part exhibition...it is hard to describe, but it is definitely a 10 day party.

Growing up in Calgary, you go through phases with the Stampede. The first is love. As a kid, the Stampede means parades, rides, and cotton candy. It means betting on who wins the chuck wagon races using nickels and being awestruck by the fireworks. Sure, you have to wear the lost kids tag for the day...just in case...but going to the Stampede as a kid is awesome. And there's cotton candy :)

As a teenager, the Stampede means freedom. You can wander the grounds, meet new people, look at cute boys, and eat mini donuts. The first time you get to go with your friends but without your parents? The world is your oyster (plus - the cotton candy).

Then at some point, I'm convinced that every Calgarian has to go through a slight loathing of the Stampede. You see the city dressed up with its hay bales at the bank (and every other place of business), windows painted with horses and cows, random pieces of wood slapped up on every surface to make every building look more barn like and it is just embarrassing. You think "seriously...what do people think of this city? THIS is why Alberta is still thought of as a place for hicks." For 10 days people dig out their Wranglers, their boots, and their cowboy hats and walk around like they dress like that all the time. You feel humiliated that tourists come to Calgary and this is what they see.
(source)
Eventually though, you just accept it and learn to love it. You see the humour in living a stereotype every so often, figure it creates a market for bolo ties, enjoy the history, enjoy the spectacle, and even embrace sitting in the grandstand drinking Budweiser out of a plastic cup while watching "mutton busting." The traditions that seemed embarrassing are now awesome and even though it means it is impossible to find parking anywhere close to downtown - you embrace the 10 days and even look forward to it.

This is the 100 year anniversary of the Stampede - so this year will be the biggest party of them all. Everything will be bigger and better. I haven't been back to Calgary for the Stampede since I left the city in 2005. I'm really regretting not planning a trip for this week.

It all kicks of today with the parade. So happy parade day Calgary! Enjoy the fun, enjoy the party, and have a Bud in a plastic cup for me. Yahoo!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

sherbrooke 10K - my thoughts

So I ran a 10 km on June 30th. It was quite warm, so I didn't run fast, but I did have fun (for the most part...it was a warm morning - so there was a little cursing the heat, but that's why I slowed it down). Since it was the first year of the event, I thought I'd post a few thoughts about the race.

Race Pick-Up: Kit pickup was fairly smooth and easy. And by kit I mean bib. There were shirts for the first 1000 or so entrants, but we weren't them so we just had to pick up our bibs. Pretty easy and no problem picking up someone else's bib - which is always good.

Start line organization: The start line 'festivities' were pretty easy. We were fairly early and I had no problem with line-ups at port-o-potties. There weren't a tonne, but it was a small enough race that that was ok. -1 for not having hand sanitizer there though. I like to sanitize my hands.

It was fairly easy to find the start line and the instructions were fairly clear that the 10 km runners should be on the right side facing one way, the half marathoners on the left facing the other way. Sounds a little weird but it was actually fairly cool! The same start line going opposite directions made for a pretty fun start - I'd like to see a video.

The race started about 5 minutes late but the announcer promised it would start on time next year. There was no start line mat though. Not a huge deal - it wasn't a huge race - but it is always nice to have a start mat.

Route: Jordan sold it to us as a "flat course." I suppose for Sherbrooke, it was indeed flat - but there were a few hills so I wouldn't call it flat. Not terrible, but reasonably challenging.

It didn't matter too much to me - but this bugged Jordan (he wasn't wearing a garmin but rather was relying on his watch) - not all the kilometres were marked for the 10 k. Once the routes merged, there were half markers, and I thought I saw some near the beginning, but the 10 km route didn't seem to be consistently marked.

The biggest complaint I have would be the water stations. I'm not sure if they weren't prepared for how hot it was or weren't quite prepared for the number of people - but the first station was out of water when I got there. They had sports drink, but no water. I was carrying a small bottle so I managed ok, but it would have been nice to dump a cup on my head. Mostly, though, I was worried that they wouldn't refill by the time the half marathoners went through. I'm hoping they did! The remaining stations had water though.

My biggest rave? The misting station! They had a misting arch set up and it was my favourite part of the route. I stopped for about 15 seconds and stood just beside it and let it soak me. It was awesome. (both it, and the lady spraying runners with her garden hose were awesome).

Finish: Once we crossed the finish line (and caught our breath - by the end I figured the faster I ran, the faster I'd finish and get to dump some water on my head and sit in the shade) there was cold water, a very visible medical tent (not that I needed it, but I find that important), and the volunteers were really nice. There was also free beer samples and pretty good food options (ice cream? yes please!)

All in all - a few hiccups - but a well run race. I would run it again. I can't imagine starting a half marathon at 8:45 am at the end of June though... Sherbrooke 10 km - thumbs up. (oh - and Jordan finished 5th overall - kind of crazy...though he was disappointed with his time).