Category Archives: Running

The walk of shame

You know what I’m talking about…
…things didn’t go as planned.
…maybe you feel sheepish or a bit embarrassed.
…sometimes you even have to swallow back tears.

I’m not talking about that walk of shame.

I’m talking about when you go for a run only to find out you’re hurt or sick and have to walk the rest of the way home.

I’m no stranger to it: I’ve walked for long distances, I’ve called family to pick me up, I’ve walked in the middle of winter when my clothes are soaked with sweat and not nearly warm enough (one of the main reasons I always try to run with a phone now!).

It’s happened to Kelly, and I’ve run home to get a vehicle, we’ve called family, and he’s even hopped in a passing cab.

With the exception of one time (gut-wrenching cramps), it’s always due to injury-related pain that stops me from going any further.

I’ve had the walk of shame a few times in as many weeks.

Luckily I haven’t made it more than a block from home, so it’s been a short walk. That doesn’t mean tears of frustration don’t threaten to bubble out. Unluckily, it means I wasn’t able to go more than a block without intense pain.

After my IMS treatment, pain moved into the upper calf muscles of my left side. It was so sharp and severe I had to stop immediately. It felt like something was going to explode.

I talked to a few people about it. One physiotherapist thought it was just really tight calf muscles, so he gave me stretches to work it out. (Unfortunately, those gave me knee pain!) Another person thought it was a bursa sac bothering me.

I stretched the best I could, tried to roll it (so painful), used tiger balm, and wore compression socks.

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I’m not out of the woods yet, but it’s been feeling much better. I ran on the treadmill last weekend so I wouldn’t have to walk home dejected (again) if the pain came back. It was a success! I ran again on Wednesday on the treadmill, incorporating six miles into a circuit.

On Saturday I rode long (and at better watts than ever before for 80km/50 miles). I’ve been itching for a good run in our spring weather, so Kelly and I planned a Sunday morning date.  We went for about an hour and 20 minutes and my calf felt awesome!

My left hip and hamstring got pretty tight, but I’m going to baby them for a few days and stick to strength and cycling.

I miss doing all my workouts in the fresh air!

Kelly’s gone mountain biking the last two weekends, but I’m not brave enough to go in freezing temps. Hopefully soon.

Have you experienced the walk of shame? (Either definition…no judgment!)
Tell me about it! 

Shedding layers

My run yesterday was what running is all about, and it was a reminder of the benefits it has to my health and sanity. It was a literal and figurative shedding of layers.

I went on my run in pants and a ¾ zip sweater. I started my run stressed out, with my shoulders set higher up with tension. I ran slow, skirting around puddles.

I got warm and unzipped my sweater. I ran through shallow puddles and sped up. I felt a little lighter.

I stopped and took off my sweater. I ran through the mother of all puddles, splashing myself all the way up my back and picked up the pace a little more. And I realized I was full-on smiling with a much clearer mind.

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Sorry for the blurry photo- I was running, and my phone was in a bag!

Running in a t-shirt in March!!

Running in a t-shirt in March!!

Can each and every one of you do me a favour? Shed layers.

Leave your Garmin, and even your watch, at home on your next run. Run at a different time of day. Take a new route. Hit the trails instead of the road.

In other aspects of your life: shed layers and cut yourself some slack. Ditch the self-set expectations whether they’re at home, at work, with friends or family, wherever.

For example, I like having home-baked muffins for us to take to work as snacks. If I don’t get to it, I beat myself up. When I apologize to Kelly for not having baked goods, do you think he cares? Of course not! It’s a self-set expectation.

March is a busy month for me. Combine that with coming home from holidays, getting back into the swing of things, and life stressors and I don’t have time for everything.

Running is incredible therapy, and one of my greatest stress relievers.

Running pains
With all that being said, I haven’t been running much since we’ve been home. It’s my darn left side. I’ve mentioned hamstring issues before, and in California it turned into piriformis/hip/iliac crest pain, too. I stretched, rolled, and took over a week off running. I finally scheduled a physio appointment for last Friday.

I ran the day before my appointment to really pinpoint the pain. I was grimacing.

At my physio appointment, he used Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) on me. IMS uses a needle to activate a reflex causing the muscle to release, easing the pain. I’ve had it done before, but not over such a large area on such defiant muscles.

I had it done from the top of my hip down to the bottom of my hamstring. I was sweating buckets by time it was finished, but I felt so much better! I took that day off, rode on the trainer on Saturday, and then ran on Sunday. I was able to go 10 pain-free miles.

It felt good for the remainder of the day and the next one, too. It’s slowly tightening up again but a massage really helped and I’m trying to be diligent with keeping loose. Yesterday’s run was basically pain-free, too (minus calf tightness).

I’m trying to deal with the root of all my left side issues. I read Anatomy for Runners: Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dicharrry. I hope to make some major changes based on his book but want to reread it first!

I also plan to review his book on here since I swear it could be a life changer for so many active people and runners!

I still hope to post a California recap, too. I’ve given myself a deadline of next week otherwise it’ll be way too far gone.

It may be quieter around these parts, and I may have to clear my blog feed occasionally, but soon enough life will slow down again. In the meantime, I think I’ll just go for a run!

Does running help you shed those layers of stress? Is it spring where you live?

Keeping fit on our California adventure

Well, after 28 days of fun in the California sun it’s back to reality.

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I’ve struggled to write about our trip because it was so fabulous it honestly left me speechless. In the meantime I thought I’d write a separate post about what I did to stay fit. It’s a long one since I did more than just run!

Running
It’s ironic I posted about working out together while we were away as we only ran together once our entire trip! With Harold along for the month, it was best to let him rest while we took turns running.

It was beyond marvelous to run in shorts in February! The other wonderful thing? Running by the ocean.

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Laguna Beach

I ran the Embarcadero in San Francisco, the beach and ritzy neighbourhoods in Carmel, river trails in Newport, and ocean bluffs and a race in Del Mar.

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Carmel River State Beach

We spent the majority of our time in Laguna Beach. All my runs there were incredible: I saw dolphins playing in the surf, ran into Dana Point, ran along the beaches of Crystal Cove and saw a baby sea lion, worked my lungs running uphill for four miles to the top of the hills (and trashed my quads on the way down), and ran trails at sunrise with Kelly and Harold.

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Crystal Cove State Park

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Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

I embraced every single run and am forever envious of those who get to live and run along the California Coast all the time!

California 10/20
The UT California 10/20 was an out and back 10 mile race starting and finishing in Del Mar and running through Solana Beach and Encinitas. (I found out about the race the day before it after running a speedy seven miles!)

It was chilly the morning of the race and Kelly and Harold walked me to the start about 45 minutes away from our hotel.

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Not really feeling up to ‘race’, my only plan was to take it easy at the start and pick it up throughout. I did a great job of that with my first mile being the slowest and my last being the fastest. I ended up finishing in 1:11:53, which I was more than happy with for a surprise race on vacation!

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It was a great run with tons of bands along the course (that’s what the 20 in the name stands for) and ocean views. It was the first year and over 3,000 people finished!

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
I tried SUPing for the first time in 2008 and fell in love with it. Kelly bought me my very own inflatable SUP (NRS Earl 4) for my birthday this year, and I couldn’t wait to take it out on the ocean in California!!

I was a bit apprehensive, as it’s been a couple years since I last paddled. And I’m timid of surf SUPing; I just like to get out there and paddle.

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It turns out that Laguna Beach is the perfect destination to SUP! The water is generally calm, the ocean life is amazing, and I felt comfortable paddling far out by myself (sorry mom and dad!).

I paddled almost every day we were there (I think I went 11 out of 13 days), went out a couple times most days, and experienced amazing things.

One day when we got down to the beach there was a guy paddling close to shore with a few dolphins alongside him. I was too nervous to go, so Kelly gladly hopped on the board. There were dolphins going under his board and surfacing right beside him. It was pretty magical to watch.

Screen shot from Kelly’s GoPro video

Once he came to shore I was brave enough to go.

The most amazing experience
The dolphins were mostly gone, so I went far out just to SUP. As I was about to turn back towards shore, I saw a huge pod of them swimming and jumping coming towards me. I was about 35 feet away from a massive dolphin highway. There was somewhere between 50 – 100 dolphins from what I could see. I was close enough to hear them breathing. A couple veered off course and came towards me, so I splashed my paddle a bit.

It absolutely took my breath away and I just stood there in shaky awe for at least five minutes watching their natural beauty. It was the most magnificent thing I’ve seen in nature and one of my most peaceful and special moments.

I paddled back to shore, turning constantly to take it all in. I was so happy Kelly saw what happened so I could discuss it with somebody!! (I was also a little disappointed I didn’t have a camera with me!)

On another day there were dolphins swimming under my board and around me. (I had to kneel down a couple times, as my legs got shaky!)

I felt so fortunate to SUP in the ocean again and experience the majestic dolphins. I can’t wait to get back on my SUP this summer in our lakes!

Strength
We each took a yoga mat and one set of weights with us. I strength trained in our hotel room most of the days Kelly ran. It felt good to keep up some strength and core work!

Laughter yoga
This was something I just had to experience! There’s a group in Laguna Beach that meets 365 days a year. I went on a chilly morning and met with four others including the director of the Laughter Yoga Institute, Jeffrey Briar.

It was the most bizarre class I’ve ever attended, but it certainly accomplished what it prescribes: I was joyful for the rest of the day! There is something to be said about starting your day laughing by the ocean with a group of warm, friendly people.

Staying in shape
Despite dessert twice a day most days I feel pretty good. My fitness is definitely much higher than when I came home from China last year, and I don’t have an Ironman to worry about in four months!

What’s your favourite way to stay active on holidays, or do you take it as a time to rejuvenate?

Better together – working out with a significant other

In honour of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write about the benefits of working out with a significant other. It’s no secret that Kelly and I share a common love of activity. We often participate in the same events, and even if we don’t race them together we train together for many.

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After our first triathlon, Calgary 70.3

I absolutely love training with Kelly and wouldn’t want it any other way! Here are my top five reasons why it’s better together.

Quality time
Kelly and I don’t have frequent date nights, or so I thought until I realized every bike ride we go on and run or ski we do together is our version of date night. We may wear spandex instead of stylish clothes and burn calories instead of eat them but the essence of a date is the same: spend time together without interruption and have some fun.

We’ve gone on some amazing ‘dates’, from seeing bears while biking to gorgeous sunrises on the trails to SUPing in Hawaii.

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I am so thankful I get to share the experiences with Kelly.

In it together
We battle the bad and praise the positive…together. Have you run in shin deep snow, biked in a thunderstorm, or scaled up a sizeable mountain? I have both alone and with Kelly. Believe me when I tell you it’s a lot better when you’re with someone. Frustration turns to laughing and it just doesn’t seem as tough or intimidating.

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Understanding
A six-hour bike ride, a triple brick, waking up early on vacation to beat the heat. Some people just can’t comprehend why we willingly do this. If your significant other does it, too, then at least someone close to you understands (and will often do it with you)!

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When I suffer from injury, I can be extra sensitive (or grumpy depending on who you ask!). Since Kelly’s been there, he understands where I’m coming from and gives me a little leeway.

Protection
There’s this one farm dog on my favourite bike route. He despises me, and I swear he knows I’m coming from miles away. He chases me, barking, with his ferocious teeth bared. If Kelly’s with me, he hangs behind to stay between the dog and me.

I can also be a timid trail runner whether it’s in the city (scared of lurkers) or in the mountains (wild animals). When I’m with Kelly, I generally forget about worrying and just enjoy the run!

Lastly, I’m not the best with mechanical issues on my bike. Actually, I downright suck at fixing a flat tire. If I’m alone, chances are it’ll take me up to an hour and sometimes even then I need to call for a ride because I’ve gone through my supply of spare tubes or CO2 cartridges. If I get a flat with Kelly, he can change it in what feels like seconds!

Motivation
Call it competitive drive, but it keeps me motivated to work out and race with Kelly! Whether it’s running or biking further than planned, going faster, or just being silly and trying to plank for longer, I am motivated to do better and be better.

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“I’ll tell you one thing, it’s always better when we’re together.” – jack johnson

With all that being said, many people use running as their ‘me’ time. I think that’s wonderful and sometimes nothing cures a grumpy or introspective mood better than a solo run or ride!

Also, it doesn’t have to be a significant other. It can be better together with friends or training partners, too!

Tell me: do you think it’s better together or better alone?

What are your favourite activities to do with someone and by yourself?

Thanks for reading! I scheduled a few posts to go up while I’m cruising the California coast with my family. I don’t expect to be online much, so I won’t be commenting on blogs or writing trip updates on here. However, I hope to post to my Instagram feed (thechangeofpace) when the mood strikes!

Training lately…

It’s been nearly five months since Ironman Canada. I have no 14 in 2014 race goals, no ‘A’ race on my agenda, and no races even on my calendar.

I’ve been throwing around tons of ideas but have yet to land on anything concrete.

Don’t let that fool you. I’ve been a training machine! I’m switching things up and loving it.

After my six weeks of strength and speed, I’ve made an effort to keep up some faster/anaerobic training. I use the bike for speed work. I try intervals (a variety of times/distances) and ladder workouts.

I am still thoroughly enjoying strength and although speed workouts are crazy hard for me, I feel really good once I’m finished them.

I’ve been on the bike trainer and running to keep up my endurance. I love to run outside and used to run in any condition, including ice. Not this year. I don’t want to risk falling and hurting myself! So I’ve spent a lot of time on the treadmill and actually don’t mind it. It takes me about 30 minutes to get into it, but then I can go for a while. (On Saturday I ran 13.1 miles for #megsmiles, and so did Kelly!)

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I focused on endurance and endurance alone for a long time. It’s my true running love, but I know I need to diversify.

I’ve still been doing circuit work with explosive and fast movements. Sometimes I incorporate treadmill speed and other times I stick to more of a HIIT session.

One of my newest things is barre in our bonus room! Kelly rearranged that room and moved our computer into it. Turns out wainscoting is a perfect barre replica! I just find a video on YouTube and have my very own class.

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After last Saturday’s race, I discovered a few more things I need to work on. My hamstrings were so sore, like bordering injury. I think it was a result of faster running, running outside (lots of treadmill lately), and snow underfoot. Although the conditions were good, even running fast on tightly packed snow can be tough.

My hips, and in particular my left hip, still need a lot of TLC. I do physio exercises a couple days a week but could bump that number up.

I also realize I need to work on racing and not simply running! After doing major endurance events the past couple years without time or placement goals, I’m just not that competitive. If I want to run shorter races, I need to get that edge back!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to lately!

What’s your cross-training of choice now? Does it change with the season?

I really miss cross country skiing but the conditions just haven’t been very good this year.

Thirty & an anniversary

A huge thank you for all your positive comments on my last post about Kelly’s weight loss. I was so happy he let me share his story, and we both liked reading the responses.

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Saturday is my 30th birthday. I remember when 30 was…old. It doesn’t seem that way anymore!

Entering a new decade got me thinking about past birthdays.

Then
My parents used to throw me amazing birthday parties, and my mom always made and decorated the cake to go with the party theme.

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My 1st birthday with the cookie monster and my sister!

On my 5th birthday, we flew to Disneyworld and spent time in the parks visiting our favourite characters!

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Love the ’80s pants and retro Nike kicks!

I remember my 8th birthday. I got a new bike and sat on it, propped up against a wall, watching cartoons all morning while my parents and sister ran around the house preparing for my party.

Fast forward to my 16th birthday. My mom let me skip math class in the morning to take my driving test. There was a snowstorm that morning, but I passed!

On my 20th birthday, Kelly and I ran our first marathon: the inaugural Rock’n’Roll Arizona in 2004. We didn’t train well (just a couple runs over 12km!) but managed to finish hand-in-hand in 3:49:29.

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RNR AZ 2004

Although it took us five years to run another full marathon, it was the start of something big.

On my 27th birthday we were in Florida after running the Disneyworld Marathon a couple days before.

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Now

I’m proud of where I am on my 30th birthday. I hit my stride in my 20s. I graduated from university. I moved out of home. I travelled. We got a dog son. We bought a house. I married my best friend. I found a career I enjoy. I got comfortable in my skin and gained confidence. And I have ran and biked thousands of miles.

Although I’ve been a runner for years, endurance training and racing has kept me going. I’m in better shape now than I’ve ever been (well, not right now after the holidays!). And I love and appreciate the mental and physical benefits now more than ever before.

I have a few goals for my 30s.

I want to get better- at being a good wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend; at listening to my body; at relaxing and going with the flow.

I want to stay active and challenge myself to new distances and faster times. I love running, and it has brought me an immense amount of happiness.

I hope to still be running and crossing finish lines in my next 30 years.

Have you ran a race on your birthday? Any memorable stories from past birthdays?