Thursday, April 22, 2010

10:00 pm marathon? Seriously?

I just got an email from a friend about the Wine and Dine Disney marathon and half marathon with start time at 10:00pm. Really! Who has the energy to run 21K (or 42K!) at 10:00pm? Not me. But the post race wine and dine event is a good idea. Actually , I got excited about the idea of running in Disney thinking my younger daughter would be entertained by the scenery of the theme parks. However, when I realized that the start is so late in the evening I was out. Instead, if my Achilles tendon stops  hurting so that I could actually train, I would try the Montreal 1/2 marathon on September 5th as a pre-Barcelona race experience.
Speaking of Achilles - the pain is back. I am not able to do longer distances and that irritates me.. I will go for an MRI to see what is going on. I would like to find a solution so I can train for longer races...
Happy running to all!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Barcelona Marathon 2011

I love Barcelona! I love Spain but Barcelona is a city that has a very special place in my heart. Not only that it's one of the most gorgeous places on Earth (perhaps after Vancouver) but I have special memories there. So, my husband and I decided to run the Barcelona marathon in March 2011! Yes! It is both exciting and scary. Couple of things happened in the last few days that sort of helped crystallize the idea and have me "sell" it to my husband. First, he was a bit down over the long Easter holiday... he'd mentioned that his life feels sort of boring and that routine is taking over more and more. So, what better way to spice up life than to have a plan?! But the big question was what plan is good enough to be both challenging and exciting? The answer came today when I was reading some personal blogs on the Runner's World website. One runner (Jonathan Davis, Challenger of the Week) stated the Barcelona marathon as the rage run of his life. What a great idea! Hubby and I can set a goal to run the Barcelona marathon as part of our next vacation in Europe. He has not been to Spain yet so the excitement of visiting this beautiful country plus the challenge of training for a marathon should spice up his life enough and kill the routine. I just called him to announce my great idea. Here is part of the conversation:

me: How do you feel about going to Spain next spring?
him: Oh, cool! I would live it!
me: but there is a condition. we have to run the Barcelona marathon
him: how many kilometers again?
me: 42
him: wow! are you crazy... I won't run more than 20km

but after few minutes discussing why I thought it would be a great idea he "felt it" and got totally excited about it. We have a year to train and plan the trip! Very, very cool! I think this is what we needed as a couple and I think this is something he needs to help him see his life as not so routine :)
Plus 10 days in Spain is a prize worth running 42km for. Totally!

So that's my big news for the week.

Running wise, I am doing shorter (5-6k) runs... I've been struggling with pain in the Achilles tendon and being extra careful. But my pace is improving more and more and more. I ran 5k in 27 min, which is my fastest so far and it did not even feel like an effort. I passed the 300k mark which means that my 1000k in 2010 goal is totally on track. All good!

Happy running to all!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Best 10K pace so far and still sick...

I've had a crappy week! I am still sick!!! I have been feeling pretty bad all week - very congested and now coughing so running was not high on my list but since last Sunday still manage to get out 4 time and managed to run a 6K, 5K, 6k and today a very cool (pace wise) 10K!
I am not a believer in continuing to run when sick so after my 6K last Sunday I took the longest break since my return to running early this January. I took a whole 3 days off! Unlike when I had to take a break due to my Achilles (and hated not being able to run) this last week, for good 3 d-4 day, I could not even think about pounding the pavement in the condition I was in. So after 3 days off I started worrying if I am going to fall behind ... but was able to catch up on my mileage. In fact, I am past my distance goal for the month (I've singed up to 1000K and 2010). All good! But today was the best. I am supposed to run a 15K with Anne next week and since my runs lately have been short 5-6Ks, I really needed to do a long one and work on endurance. So I ran my fastest 10K ever - 6:30 or 63 minutes total time. I did take 3 or 4 walking breaks of 60 seconds each and when I factored them out, I ran my first sub hour 10K. While sick and congested and blowing my nose every 20 seconds! Very happy with myself! I actually thought that if I can keep up this speed for another 32K (impossible) I would run a marathon in 4:40 (even more impossible). At least not yet. After about 8-9 kilometers, my Achilles usually starts to hurt so no marathon plans just yet.
Hey, there is nothing wrong with daydreaming.
Happy running!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I started the week with a bad cold that is now turning into an ear infection. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Can't run! Don't have the energy to run. Don't think I should be running until I feel better. Bummer! On the positive side, this should give my Achilles a good break so when I am back in 1-2 days I will be able to do a long run and get all my frustration all out! oh, did I mention my younger one also has an ear infection and is coughing so much that neither she (her?) nor myself or hubby can sleep during the night. Not a good week!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Achilles not ready for speed work :(

I've been doing so good lately in terms of pain-free running and improving pace that I thought I was ready to start training with some added focus to my end goals (my main ones for now are lowering resting heart rate and building endurance). So last week I tried doing interval training. Monday was a short 30 minutes workout keeping intervals to 30 and 60 sec at max effort and then SLR pace without recovery between sets. On Wednesday I did a 5K intervals with variable pace (i.e., 1K tempo, 1K SLR). It was hard work. Perhaps too hard as on Thursday my old friend Achilles pain was back. On top of that, I think I was incubating a throat infection (that is now full blown) so the combination of pain and awfully low energy ended in a very hard 3K on Thursday. I skipped Friday and went to hot yoga instead. Saturday I ran a 6K with hubby (plus alternating stroller pushing) and barely made it back to the house. Today I went for a 5K and was better but only because I slowed down my pace and walked for a minute twice (normally, I don't take walking breaks on runs shorter than 10K).

Conclusion - no speed work yet. I am disappointed but I know I have to do that to keep old injury at bay.

BTW, to avoid my daughter's tantrums when she's had enough of sitting in the stroller while mom and dad are sweating their buts off, I came up with this concoction (notice the DVD strapped to the stroller tray). It WORKED! No more whining, Dora all the way :)

You probably noticed the new addition to my running "team" - our dog Paco. I used to take him running or walking with me in the summer/fall but stopped in the winter. First, the salt on the streets is not good for his skin and fur and I really hated having to wash his paws every time we went out. So Paco spent the winter sleeping all the time. End result - an overweight dog. So now I will make  more effort to take him running with me before the vet officially scolds me at his annual check up.
I don't run like this (form-wise), I am just pretending for the picture as I have no photos of me jogging.

So that was my update. Oh, my friend Anne and her husband were over for dinner last night and that was tons of fun as usually

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My week so far: 10K, 6K, 10.5K, spa and a 5K today...

I had a great week. I started with a 10K on Monday, followed by a 5K on Wednesday, a 10.5K with my friends Anne and Jo, and today a 5K run with hubby. I am planning a 5K tomorrow if the weather remains as nice (hopefully with hubby again).
So far the best day was Friday. If you remember we were celebrating Anne's birthday and went to a Nordic Spa after our 10.5K run. It was perfect! The day was gorgeous, the massage was great, and the company could not have been more perfect (See Anne's blog for more pictures)!
before the run

after our massage

I wish I didn't have to work for a living so that I can spend my time running, pampering myself with massages, and volunteering part time, just to keep my brain going. Oh, well, not working is not a possibility for me, at least not any time in the next decade or two :(   ... unless... I win the lottery ... I keep dreaming for now!

Running with hubby today was lovely and he felt great (much better than when he crashed). We kept the pace slower than usual for me but it was worth it. What a perfect end to a perfect week!

Happy running!

Monday, March 8, 2010

10K today

Yesterday I ran 3K with my hubby. After his 10K disaster, he smartened up and realized he has to build his endurance slowly so we went for a run without any plans in terms of distance. The idea was to run until he felt like it... it was also the first time he ran with his own Garmin so he was able to monitor his HR. I think he is hooked :)

Since Sundays are my long runs days and I only did a 3K (pushing the stroller again) I decided to do a 10K today. It was a gorgeous, sunny day again! Perfect for running. My pace was good (average was 6:59 and my best lap was 6:28)! But my ankles were not great. After the 8K I felt stiffness in both ankles. It was OK to finish my run but I was thinking that I can't do much longer distances like this :(  I was hoping to do a 15K in a week or so but I don't think I will be able to.

This coming Friday will be lots of fun. Myself, Anne and Jo, are doing a 10K run to celebrate Anne's birthday following which we are all going to a Nordic Spa (Strom) and getting all the muscle pain and body tension massaged away... I can't wait!
Happy running!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

10K and hubby crashed!

The weather in Montreal is lovely so on Tuesday hubby came back from work earlier and we went for a run. We ran 10K at just below 11M pace. This is hubby's first 10K and although the run went well, I think he pushed too much and about 45 minutes after we stopped he crashed! His body has on fire (or full of lactic acid)! He had the shivers, his face all red and he was exhausted to a point where he couldn't get off the sofa to have dinner. All symptoms of overexertion. At about 7K into our run he complained that his left calf muscle is very tight and his right quad was hurting. My suggestion to stop right there at 7K and leave the 10K for another day was rejected before I could even complete my sentence. I am convinced that was testosterone talk. 'Who? Me? Stop before I can show you how fit  good I am? Never!'... well, he didn't say that but his behaviour (and stubbornness) did. I didn't insist cause his breathing seemed fine to me... oh, well, he was fine then next day but when earlier this morning I talked to him about running again on Saturday he was not trilled... I hope he won't get discouraged because I really enjoy running with him...

Today was a very good day for my pace. I did a 6K run and get this - my best lap pace was 9:22M which is 5:50K. My average pace for the run was 9:48M (or about 6:22K)! Yes! What a difference from 13M when I was injured two months ago. Plus I had negative splits - my best pace was my last lap before my cool down! Yupee! The best part of all that is that I felt (and feel) the difference. I feel a lot more in control of my running, of my form, of my body, of varying my pace, etc. Now I want focus more on technique. Next week I will do intervals and the week after I will attempt my first hills. Please, feel free to give me your advise on what to do to improve my running from now on. I am not training for any event(s) yet, my goal is to improve my speed and endurance further and most of all, my HR. Oh, speaking of HR, two months ago my resting HR was 71. Yesterday I noted that the monitor was showing a -3% max HR when I put it on, So this morning I took my resting HR again and it was at 65!!! Yes, yes, yes :)

Question for you: how fast do you usually notice a change in resting HR? How often can it change? How low can it go for a woman (41yrs, 5'3 tall)...

Happy running to all!

Monday, March 1, 2010

No go for 15K with hubby :(

I was planning (notice how 'I' say  and not 'we') a 15K with my hubby for Sunday but ended up having to run with the stroller and I was again the one pushing since hubby's lower back is just starting to be pain-free... no need to say that I am not yet in a condition to run 15K with a stroller so we opted for a good 8K. I have to say that it was much better than my first stroller run last week. What also helped was that M fell asleep about 2 minutes after we left the house so no annoying "I want to get down" whining and complaining to have to deal with. Towards the end of the run when I started getting tired hubby gave me few breaks by taking over and pushing for a minute or two and that helped a lot.

Today was my day off running but killer pilates training. The instructor had a new (torture) concoction installed. It's two straps that hangs down from a bar secured in the ceiling so that one can use gravity forces while working the muscle groups. At some point I was doing push ups with my hands on the ground and both my feet in the straps and in the air! Pure inquisition! I often complain about my private pilates sessions but rarely miss one and have been doing them for close to 2 yrs now so don't take my complains for real. Pilates rocks for building core strength!
Plan this week is to do a long run (that 15K from last week) and work on my speed in at least two 5K runs. Friday is hot yoga day. Can't wait!
Happy running to all!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Nail polish at 2?

So my older daughter is already influencing her 2 yr old sister! Look at this picture:

sisters :)

yes, it's bright red nail polish that N put on M's toes. M was so happy, she couldn't wait to tell her father when he came back from work last night. This morning at 7:00 I heard a big "WOW" coming from her room... when I went to see what's going on she was sitting in her bed admiring her toes' colour... "Regard, mama, c'est rough"... (Look mommy, it's red)... later her father took her to see her grandfather while I was at work (I teach Child Development on Saturday mornings).. so the first thing M did was take off her socks and show her toes to her grandpa... I think from now on there will be 3 of us requiring pedicure :)

On another note, I am happy with my running. I ran 8K on the treadmill on Thursday (way to windy to go outside). I was back to running outdoors today (6K) and was happy with my pace (10:15M). So all good. Boy, is it boring to run on a treadmill or what! And so easy to give up - I mean, when I run outside I run away from my house and then I have to get back. Even if I am tired, I have to get back home so when I want to do a longer distance I run half of it away from my house and then turn back an ...I find motivating, I am moving towards my target... Totally different story on the treadmill: I can stop at any time. The first negative thought and I am done.. or the first sign of fatigue and I am thinking about a nice hot bath, which is just two floors above my head ( my treadmill is in the basement).. I don't know how a friend of mine (Jo) runs >20K on a treadmill, I find this an accomplishment itself! To make it through my 8K treadmill torture, I stole M's portable DVD player and watched "Moon Struck" with Cher and Nikolas Cage. A very silly (but cute) movie I can watch over and over... OK, not more than once a year but still, I've seen it at least 10 times. The strange thing is that I cannot watch moves more than once but this one is an exception ... go figure! ... Well, I love the stereotypical (Italian) neurosis and loudness you can only see in Italian (or Mediterranean) families . Very Bulgarian too so watching the movie makes me feel like I am back home ...

Back to running, tomorrow I have a long run scheduled, I will try for 15K with hubby. Very exciting!

Question for you: Do you have a movie or movies that you like to watch every now and then? My hubby watches "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" every Christmas. Now we are all hooked.

Happy running to all!