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!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The weather is Montreal is starting to look more like what it usually looks like in February around here. Show, and more snow. Wet snow! I ran 6K yesterday and hated running in the slush. I was planning a 10K but it was so unpleasant to run with wet feet that I changed my mind. Here is what it looked like in my neighborhood:

Today I got my new orthoses and can't wait to try them out. I am supposed to take it easy and run no more than 5K for the first few days. I hope they make it better for my (new) friend Mr. Achilles Tendon. I will let you know who it goes.

Question for you: How many of you run with custom made orthoses? Did you find a significant difference after you started using them?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Pace and HR improving!

I ran 6.2K today and was really happy with my pace (6:30K or 10:38M). I was very comfortable throughout the run and my HR stayed below 80% of my HRM. My present objective really is to build back my base training and endurance so at this point I am NOT working on speed . To see that my pace is getting faster while my HR is the same is a sure sign of improvement :) And a bonus -  my Achilles is fine!
I love my Garmin for all the data and analyses I can do post run.
Now, I am off to pilates for some hard work.

Question for you: do you obsess about pace and HR?

Happy running to all!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's HARD jogging with a stroller!

Yesterday I did 5K my hubby and since it was a nice, sunny day we decided to take our toddler (in the stroller) with us. I pushed the stroller (hubby hurt his back a few weeks ago so he was careful to not compromise his form). This is the first time I run while pushing the stroller... man, was it HARD! My pace was considerably slower (almost a minute longer per km) and my HR was up.. half way through I crashed and was sure I won't make it but took walking break (1min) and made it to the end of the 5K. It was surprisingly difficult not to be able to move my arms. I read your blogs and so many of you push  2 or 3 kids and run 10-16 miles, even half-marathons and I really don't know how you do it! WOW! I know I am not going to try it again unless I absolutely have no other choice. But hats down to the women who do it every time they run! That's determination!

Today was a rest day, tomorrow is my killer pilates and I am hoping to run before that.

Happy running to all!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Crying in Shavasana?!

I never thought it would happen to me. I've heard about people having weired reactions to yoga (or massage) but it had never crossed my mind that yoga can make me cry (not from pain). I went to my hot yoga class today after a long break (replaced by stott pilates). I so needed to go! I've been feeling this stiffness all over my body so I planned my schedule around the lunch-hour class. I love the style of the teacher that leads the Friday classes and was looking forward to stretching my body in the hot room.

Well, the teacher had changed his usual routine and had incorporated some very cool dance-like move sequences, where you twist and turn around our own body ("dance bridges"). It's hard to explain, just imagine doing back bends balancing on one hand and the opposite foot and then switching sides while constantly moving. At first, I was afraid to attempt the sequence of moves but when I finally mustered the courage to do so I was surprised by how good and liberating it felt. It was just awesome! The flow of the moves was so soothing (although it took considerable core strength to do it) and after a while my body fell in its own rhythm. Here is what it looks like, just imagine rotating around your own body in this pose.

 I was right in front of the mirrored wall and could see the excitement in my face. I even thought "wow, I look like a young girl during her ballet class". Long story short, the class was great and after 75 minutes of sheer joy I was SO ready to go into my last pose, the Shavasana. I love Shavasana, I always fall asleep in it. Well, not this time. As I settled onto my mat, wet body covered with my towel, and the lights went off, the teacher put this AMAZING music! Music that got right into a part of my 'inner self" that was so sensitive ... or maybe weak.. not sure exactly but a minute later tears started rolling down my face (and pooling in my ears, I hate that!)... I was floored... I didn't know what to do! I didn't know what triggered it, I was feeling so good up to that point.  These were no tears of joy, they were sad tears but also tears of relieve... I wasn't weeping, I just had these rivers of tears and I didn't know how to stop them (or if I should even try to stop them). After few minutes the teacher came to put lavender oil on the back of my neck (he does this to everybody) and saw my tears (I was hoping he won't notice in the dark room or he'd think it's just sweat). But he did and he said "Good, don't keep it in".

I am a psychologist, I can give you million explanations of why I cried today but the truth is, I really don't know (could be my PMS). Was it some kind of a spiritual connection I made with the music that the yoga practice had facilitated? Was it that my body was super tense and the intense stretching the hot room opened up some channels (chi)? I don't know.

When I got out of the changing room the teacher was waiting for me and said:

"If you don't feel comfortable talking to me, make sure to at least talk to a friend about it"

me: "Really? Why? I felt great, I was just very tense and the class helped me release my negative energy"
teacher: " Hm, not really! It's not as simple as that. I can help you. That's what I do."
me: "Oh, you are a psychologist too?"
teacher: "oh, no, no, no. I do yoga"
me: "I don't understand, I just did your class?!"
teacher (putting a business card in my hand): "Call me and we'll start with sun salutations, we have a lot to talk about"....
and then he left
me: confused!

So, is there something I don't know about yoga? He sounded so mysterious but also so sure I had no clue about  the important things in ... yoga?

My question to you: Have you cried during or after yoga?

BTW, here is the website of the yoga teacher. I checked it all - did not find any answers. I am definitely intrigued as to how he can help me and will talk to him again next time I go to his class.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

So far this week... 7.5K and 11.5K!

I've been busy (and stressed) at work so no time to really write a long post... or to even vent out about my bad, bad, very bad PMS this month! Instead, just a quick update. I ran a 7.5K on Tuesday and today I did 11.5! I was aiming for 13K today but stopped at 11.5 as I started feeling it in my (weak) ankle and also in the opposite knee. I guess I was compensating for the weakness in my right ankle and putting strain on my left side. Sigh! I was also thinking that the bike path I usually run on is not leveled and that might be further contributing to the imbalance. I do try to switch direction every 20 min or so but often forget or choose not to so I can avoid head wind. Well, I am still very happy with my 11.5K AND with my pace (average pace was 7.05K or about 11:10M). A pace of 7:05 is a new post-injury PR so I am happy :) Plus today was very windy, here in Montreal, so next time I might be even faster.

Here is the plan for the rest of the week: hot yoga tomorrow, a tempo run on Saturday (probably 5K) and I will try for another 10K on Sunday if I feel I've recuperated by then. I need to catch up on my 1000K goal for the year.
Happy running to all!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

chalet and weekend recap...

I was very low on energy this weekend but managed to run both yesterday and today (5 Ks each day, although I had planned a  10K for today). Yesterday was not so bad as I ran first thing in the morning. Then we went to the country cottage of friends of ours for the weekend. I had big plans: cross-country skiing, run on the trials, etc, etc. Ended up with even lower energy and not feeling well so none of my plans happened... I was nauseous and weak... not sure what it was... we came back today around 4pm and I was sure I wasn't running till tomorrow. With the intention to relax, I started reading blogs in the attempt to catch up on the ones I follow. People did a lot of cool things this weekend. Many of you had great runs, or had to overcome low energy to follow your training programs, so I felt inspired and motivated ... sure enough, 15 minutes later I was changing into running gear... and went for a run! Even better, my husband came with me (for the first time ever!) and it was just GREAT. A nice Valentine's Day run! I am still low on energy and feel iffy but I feel a tad better than before the run. Yet another confirmation that you (bloggers) can and DO inspire people to run! I am grateful for running blogs! I am grateful for the ability to get inspired by the successes of others!
Weekend at the Laurentides (North of Montreal)

I can't stop kissing my little girl :)
my crazy husband playing in the snow with his (our) little princes
Afternoon nap at the chalet :)
capturing the fun (love my dSLR camera!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

3K and nutrition...

Well, I got new running shoes today. Again! I won't talk about it but let's just say that the Mizunos didn't work out and I ended up with Brooks Glycerine. I hope that's the end of my shoe hunt. I ran 3K with already and it was OK, not super, just OK ... but just OK can be good on the long run so I am hopeful....

So, I wanted to talk about weight... I am not overweight but I have a few pounds (let's say 5) that I gained over the last 5-10 years that am I constantly struggling with... Over the years I would lose and gain them time after time... but then, after my second pregnancy, it looked like they were there to stay so I saw a nutritionist to figure out what was I doing wrong... I am a healthy eating freak (always has been) so I didn't know why, after eating so well, my waist line was getting chunkier... it turned out I was eating too many carbs and not enough protein plus I was deficient in vitamin E and several minerals... long story short, I balanced my diet and lost those last post-baby pounds... interestingly, every time I increase my cardio, my weight also increases! I didn't know why?! I would gain 3-4 pounds each time I got back into running and, believe me, on me even 3 pounds show right away (I am 5'3)... Well, guess what? The pounds are back now that I am running again... but this time I was really frustrated! I thought that I had finally figured it out, that it was just poor nutrients balance... so I went back to the nutritionist and got even more surprised after her analysis of the situation... I WASN'T eating enough and therefore I was GAINING weight... but that is counter-intuitive, isn't it???? Not really. The truth is that if the body does not get the proper nutritional input, the metabolism slows down... I was running off (on average) 1,500 calories per week but was not supplementing my calories intake so my body was shifting to "starvation mode" and shutting down my metabolism... starvation mode is a very adaptive mechanism insuring that the organism can last longer when there is no food around... in some people this mechanism is not so sensitive so their metabolism will not slow down when the calories expenditure is greater than the calories intake. So when those people start a new exercise routine, they see results right away... I am not one of them... my body adapts too well so if I don't adjust my food intake, I end up gaining a bit of weight. Some of it can be muscle mass (but only if I do weight training, not with running)... but most of it is fat that is stored just in case I continue to not eat enough.

Here is the shocker! If I want to lose weight I have to eat MORE! And I mean more! I have to have at least 2200 calories on the days I run! And these calories have to come from a very specific combination of complex carbs, proteins, and fats. I was floored! I cannot eat so much! My base metabolism is about 1250 calories a day plus add 500 to accommodate my lifestyle (including moderate exercise), so 1800 calories is all I need and have been eating now. Just a quick look at my new "performance program" makes my stomach hurt... I have to be eating all the time! I can't believe I am complaining about it but I am. The problem is that I can't just eat what I want.  Simply adding 500-600 calories to my daily diet is not going to do it. It has to be specific foods and/or combination of food. On top of that, these are foods that for the most part I have to prepare myself, which means finding the time to do so. Sigh!

Another problem with me is that when I start exercising regularly, I retain water for the first few weeks. My nutritionist explained that to me too. The extra intracellular water is needed to help repair the muscle cells that have been strained or damaged during the exercise (especially if you increase frequency or intensity too quickly). Once the body gets used to the physical load, the water retention should diminish. Finally, increased cardiovascular activity leads to an increase in blood volume, which can easily add 3-4 pounds to your weight...

So, the nutritionist assured me that the extra pounds will disappear when I adjust my diet and when my body gets used to all this new physical activity... I will listen to her and do what she says. I have some great performance recipes she suggests for pre- and post workouts. She also recommended a book by Brendan Brazier (who does iron man competitions) called "The Thrive Diet". I bought it and it is very informative but a bit boring to read. However, I loved his recipes for home made sports drinks, sports gels, and power bars and already made a few of them... He has another book, titled "Thrive Fitness" which is similar but geared more towards exercise programs.

That's all for today! Happy running to all!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Biomechanically challanged...

yes, that's right, I am officially bio-mechanically least my right side is... here is the story: I've been talking a lot about my Achilles tendinitis lately and how now both my ankles are sort of stiff when I run longer distances... I told you how few years ago a Running Room shoe expert told me I need stability shoes cause I over-pronate... and last summer I was told that I didn't need stability shoes but motion control cause my ankles move too much when I run... and finally two months ago (after I ended up with Achilles tendinitis) I was told I actually don't roll in my feet when I run (a sing of over pronation) so I need a neutral shoe (cushioning)... every time I was given a new diagnosis, I bought new shoes and after running with the new pair for few weeks, I'd stop running all together due to pain (in different parts of my feet, knees, or hips)... Turns out, all three sales reps were RIGHT! But they were right at the same time and what I needed was a shoe that would correct for overpronation, cushion, and control excessive motion. The problem is there is no such shoe! Let me explain. yesterday I went to see a specialist, who works mainly with runners. She has so many professional titles so I am still not sure what kind of specialist she really is (or isn't) ... a kinesiologist, podiatrist, orthotist, and another one I didn't bother remembering... regardless of her titles, I was told she knows her stuff. So I booked an appointment. The moment I met her I knew she was a runner so I felt good right away (I've seen several specialist before and had orthoses made but never really wore them as they didn't do much so I was still pessimistic going in to see this new one). Well, 60 minutes later, black (washable) felt pen marks all over my feet, calves, knees, etc, I had a diagnosis. Hallelujah! I was an over-pronator on the right side ONLY and normal on the left! I didn't know one can be both! I still had doubts so  the lady put me on a treadmill and film me walking and running and made me watch it after. What did I learn? Besides seeing clearly on the screen that I badly needed a pedicure, I saw my right foot overpronating and opening to the right every time I took a step. Not only that, my right knee was shifting to the left, and my HIP (it's more the lower back area, not just the hip per ce) was way too mobile, overextending to accommodate for the poor alignment of my right ankle and knee. No wonder why my right lower back/hip area has been so tight and sore, often resulting in a radiating pain down my right hamstring and very sore right gluteus muscles. Phew! I didn't know I was so crooked! Thank God at least the length of my legs is the same!

So, back to the Running Room staff - they were all right but depending which side of my body they observed when they were testing me walk/run. So, obviously, no respectable shoe making company will invest their money in researching how to make shoes for the very bio-mechanically challenged runners-wanna -be and my only saviour is custom made running orthoses that I have to put in the most neutral shoe of all. Right now I have Asics, I had Pearl Izumi before, tried Brooks and all the Nikes, and now I am advised to go with the Mizunos. Apparently their neutral shoe is the least corrective/supportive and best for use with custom-made inserts.  I ordered my orthoses and they should be ready in 2 weeks. I am off to the Running Room again to buy the Mizunos today. Let's hope this will be the end of my running shoes (and pain) saga...

Let me share an experience from my childhood with you :)... I grew up in communist Bulgaria and actually had a lovely childhood. It is a whole new post (if not blog) to talk about the pros and cons of communist regimens but there are several good things that were happening in communist-ruled countries- healthcare, education, and sports. Sports was the way to let people achieve and feel happy so to distract them from the reality. But you couldn't practice any sport you wanted! All children were evaluated at a very young age and assigned to a sport based on body structure. These evaluations were rigorous! They lasted almost an entire day. I remember mine. We were taken to the gym where 10 or so separate assessment stations were set and different specialists took our weight and height, made us run, climb, bend, stretch, throw, kick, jump, etc.. they took measurements (now that I think about it, they were very similar to the ones I had yesterday with the bio-mechanical specialist) and then told us what sport we can register for. I wanted to go into athletics as my best friends was there. I still remember the face of the man who was registering for the athletics team when he said no to me. He had that smile and rolled his eyes when he looked at my file. So, I was banned  discouraged  from running in Bulgaria :) but I was accepted with arms open into the rhythmic gymnastics team where I did very well (Bulgaria was and still is very strong in gymnastics and usually wins all the gold medals at international competitions)... so, being told that I am bio-mechanically inappropriate for running is not news to me but that OK! After all, I can't be perfect, can I (joking)? I can still run for fun and I am loving it (not joking)! I just hope my new inserts are going to take care of the handicap :)

This week so far I ran 10K on Sunday, did hard-core pilates on Monday, and ran 5K yesterday. I am planning another 5K today, then rest and run 8 or 10K before the end of the week. We've been invited to spend the weekend at our friends' chalet so I am hoping the weather would permit cross-country skiing :)

I still have to tell you about my appointment with the nutritionist but have no time now. I will try to do it tonight or tomorrow so stay tuned :) Really interesting stuff!
Happy running to all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Just a quick update - on Friday I ran 6K and today 10K slow jog. Very happy with my Achilles although towards the 7 kilometer today I felt tension in BOTH my ankles, no pain, just tightness and tension so I had to slow down and was ready to stop but ... I didn't and today's run was my longest since my return to running and since my Achilles tendinitis, so I am very happy. Was it hard? No. Not hard on my heart, not hard on my muscles, not hard on anything EXCEPT on stupid ankles... yes, ankles... I noticed today that it was BOTH my ankles that felt stiff ... I don't get it! I stretched, I went slowly, I have new shoes, I am running with my orthotics...and my ankles are still acting up! No sharp pain, just stiffness. And I am constantly watching my strike so that it's mid foot ....Any suggestions from those of you who've been through this before? I am starting to want to try barefoot running and if my problem isn't really in the shoes...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Running and ADHD

Yes, there is a link between ADHD and running.  I have ADHD and when I first stared running 10 years ago I discovered that my attention got better every time I ran or speed walked. I soon after I started using my runs to be productive - I'd practice my public speeches and talks while running, or prepare answers for job interviews, or make arguments for breaking up with boyfriends... later I started asking my husband (or my teen daughter) to come for a walk with me, usually when I wanted to discuss something important or difficult... I would use my runs to get motivation for things I didn't want to do or things I needed a lot of courage to do...

At first I though that I was the only one who got such effect from running but I was wrong. Years ago psychologists started recommending physical exercise as part of the treatment for ADHD although it was based mostly on anecdotal evidence. No more. There is now solid evidence that the activation of the cerebellum (the part of the brain that helps coordinate movement) leads to increased stimulation of the attention centers in the frontal lobes of the brain and consequently improves ability to focus and pay attention. Of course, the relationship between cerebellum and running is a lot more complex but that would be a scientific publication and not my blog scribbles... now, some interesting facts related to running ... Google is one of the companies that decided to use walking and running in order to improve productivity of its employees (not that the company needs ANY more money). How do they do it? By offering treadmills to employees who might want to change their old-fashioned way of working for a more productive one... and their board rooms? No tables, no chairs - TREADMILLS... yes, Google executives make important decisions on treadmills wearing running shoes... well, they are walking more than running but I can't imagine someone (probably one of less powerful executives) getting frustrated with the meeting and breaking into a sprint :) ... so yes, I am not the only one who's attention (and brain in general) becomes sharper and better... it is just amazing how different if feels in my head when I am moving as opposed to sitting at a desk... it's calm, it's crystal clear, it's smarter, it's more positive, it's more daring (I mean, sometimes I will make decisions and then after the run I'd be like what was I thinking, I can't do that!)... so, running is my Ritalin! (I had a whole paragraph right here on growing up with ADHD but accidentally deleted it and now have no patience to re-write it again, did I say I have ADHD).

I love this man's set up ... I am thinking of putting two treadmill in my office, one for me and one for ADHD clients I assess (sometimes sessions last 3-4  hours at a time) ... actually, a psychologist in Toronto already uses the treadmill approach to therapy.. note to self - get a bigger office :)

My daily question to you all: is running helping your attention or decision making processes? Do you run so that you can think better?

As for my running today - 6.25K! Yes, 6 kilometer of chaos-free brain! Priceless! And then off to my nutritionist to work out some dietary changes to my (running) diet. I will tell you about it tomorrow :)

Happy running!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Training programs - what is your experience?

I just got the February Runner's World in the mail and one of the first articles  that caught my attention was about "less is more" training programs. Most of you probably read it (The Slow Road, click here to read it if you haven't), so in a nutshell, the experts are advising less training in order to achieve more. I like what the author says about the most common mistake runners make - set up a high goal and give themselves very little time to achieve it. End result? Injuries! I won't go into much more details about the article but do want to tell you about my "take home message". It's the best advise I've ever read. Elite and recreational running coach Greg McMillan asks people to think where do they want to be next year. That concept, that single question will make you train safer. In fact, he recommends giving yourself at least 1 year to train for big races. Rather than focusing on immediate satisfaction and ramp up speed or mileage, take it easier but do it better over the course of 12 months. It makes a lot of sense but it goes against what I are used to (work harder to get better results or no pain no gain, etc). I find following this slower approach a challenge on its own and I know a lot of runners who will agree with me.

Another great point was about training while living your (real) life. According to the author, ALL training programs are made assuming your are "100 percent, 100 percent of the time". This means that these programs do not take into consideration work, family, stress, colds, flues, injuries, etc... It is up to the RUNNER to factor in those other responsibilities and decrease effort and mileage on weeks when life is taking over. I like that, I will definitely follow it. It means I have to change my thinking a bit as my favourite time to run is when I am stressed at work... I can still do that, just that I have to go for a shorter (or slower) run or even a power walk if I want to let steam off. So, yes, I like this approach. I will do that from now on :)

As for today, a 5K (5.5 with warm up/cool down). A bit faster than my last run, no pain, all good! Yay!

Question for all of you (my new thing now is to ask daily questions :) : What is your training program? Slow and steady or fast and agressive?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pilates day

Today is my pilates day. I take private sessions with an instructor that uses the Reformer machines and let me tell you, that stuff ain' easy! Every session is a challenge. I've been doing it for close to 2 years now and still, after every session my core muscles (and all over the body) are sore. The thing with pilates is that it makes you work out small muscles, ones that are often not used in other physical activities,and believe me, it is HARD! You are challenged every single time you go on that machine and if you go on vacation for even a week, then oh, boy, you feel like it's your first time again. But the effect is great! I got hooked after I had my second child at 38 and after an 18-year difference with my first. Trust me, my abdominal muscles were totally gone and my belly looked like a knee stretch on an old pair of sweat pants. Pilates brought everything back where it was supposed to be. Last week told my teacher I that was running again and now she is making me work muscles groups involved in running, even ones I didn't think WERE involved in running. She is insisting that to improve my running I do need to do those tiny lateral leg lifts while my feet are strapped in the springs (that woman know, she does Iron Men races for fun), and I am doing what she says ... but now my body is on fire... no complains, all good.

On another note, my husband started cooking! Yuppie! Since we did the kitchen reno and changed our range for propane, he feels inspired and I can't be happier :) So far, gourmet pasta, osso bucco, fresh herb shrimp on jasmine rice, a tiramisu! I am loving it :) Let's hope his new hobby will last and that I won't start gaining weight from all that eating.
Sunday night dinner - Osso bucco

tonight's dinner - shrimp with fresh herbs and jasmine rice

It is SOOO much better when somebody else prepares dinner?! Tastes much better!

So, a question for all of you: who does the cooking in your house?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

8.5K today!

I was hoping to do a 10K today but ended up completing 8.5K of which about 1/2K was warm up/cool down so I really ran 8K. My ankle has been doing so well in the past week that I thought I can try for the 10K. The weather today was sunny but cold -10C or 14F and although I was sure I will be too cold, I wasn't! I tried my new Adidas jacket for winter running and loved it. Neither over- nor under- dressed, I felt perfect running in the near by forest and then along the St-Laurent river. My pace was 7:15/K, my HR under 75% of my max, no problem breathing, I felt like I can go for 20K not just the planned 10K... it's just that my stupid Achilles started  hurting and since I am being careful to not aggravate the injury, I stopped at 8.5K. All good, though, I am still happy.  I was actually feeling down this morning... I am not sure why, it's probably the winter... I hate January.. I mean, WHO loves January? Christmas is over, spring is far away and then February is around the corner (which in Montreal is the COLDEST month of the year)... so no wonder I was feeling the blues.. but the RUN took care of my moody mood (can I say that?) ... don't you love the fact that we have such fast acting medicine at our disposal without prescription :) ... feeling blue - go for a run... feeling frustrated - go for a run... feeling stressed - go for a run... your teen driving you crazy- go for a run (with the teen if possible) ...
Happy running to all!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Running, snow, and suppliments...

Today I did a 5K with my friend Anne (6.5K warm up and cool down included). My Achilles was great, no pain in the beginning, during, or after the run. The weather was mild but it was snowing! I had makeup on (I did go to work this morning) so my mascara was smudged all over my face. Still, it was just beautiful to run with the snowflakes melting on my face... well, when I was talking they were melting directly on my tonsils so that felt weird, but it was still good!

Anne and I at the end of the 5K today
Overall this week - good progress - no pain and 4 slow runs for a total of 16K. Not bad for a girl (OK, a woman) who was told she cannot run anytime soon. I guess, I have to share my secret with you. When I got the Achilles tendinitis I started reading blogs of people who have it too and I came across a website where the ultra runners blog regularly. There was an enormous amount of information on Achilles tendinitis there ( if I run for 100 miles I will no longer have an Achilles tendon so I guess I know why it's so popular with them). Many of them talked about their experiences with it. They suggested specific exercises and supplements. I did both. The exercises were mainly stretching the calves. The supplements are L-glycine, L=lysine, and L-glutamate. Perhaps that helped? I am not sure. I do know that I am running 2 weeks after and not 2 months as told by the Dr.

Happy running to all!
BTW, I just read the MOST beautiful letter from a mother to her one-year old daughter! It's from a blogger who I like a lot! Check it out here. I had tears in my eyes while reading it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Achilles is better!

Last week I did three power walks with my new running shoes and didn't have any pain so guess what? This week I am back to running... running slowly and very carefully... yes! I ran a 4k slow jog outside on Monday as the weather was so mild and then on Tuesday I did a 3K on the treadmill. Both days only slight pain in the beginning of the run (which was actually more stiffness than sharp pain) and then no pain during the run or afterwards!

On another note, I've been thinking a lot about running and why runners are more prone to injuries. How many time have you heard the phrase “all you have to do is get out there and start running” …or “Running is the simples thing you can do to get in shape or be healthy etc, etc.? I hear it all the time! So when I first started running years ago I did just that – I ran. I didn’t think about it or analyzed it, or worried about posture, gait, stride, program, SLRs, tempos, fartek, pace, HR zones, shoes, cotton, water packs, sports gels… the list goes on… but it was a MISTAKE not to think about all these aspects of running… Running is a simple thing… NOT!

I have ADHD and this means I am impulsive, I want things fast, I want them badly, and I will move mountains to get them… it works right? Not with running. Running is not simple, it’s not just get outdoors or on a treadmill and start putting one foot in front of the other as fast as you can… it is probably the most complex of all physical activities… it’s high impact so it can hurt you bones, it uses major muscle groups plus hundreds of tiny ones I didn't even know existed, so it can wear you out… it can dehydrate you, it can make you anxious (if you worry about PRs or BQ)… of course we are all running for the kick we get out of it but are we doing it right? So, what is it about running that is so addictive? I mean I know it's the feeling afterwards and the sense of achievement but still! About half of the running blogs I read are of runners who are injured, who have been banned from running by their doctors, and who are still running! I read your blogs and many of you talk about injuries and injuries prevention and then I see that we all try to cheat … We run when we are supposed to be resting, or we run longer when we should be having a lighter day, or we jump on an ambitious program without having build the base yet…and you know what? When runners are told that they cannot run they become creative. For example, a runner I find very interesting (Jamoosh at Das Mixture) ran barefoot in order to overcome an injury and his excuse for such extreme measure was that he runs to keep his wife happy :) ... how cute! I know I myself will find every excuse possible to run. I should know better - a few years ago I had to completely stop running as my injuries were too serious... I don't want to go through the same thing so I am (I think I am) doing the right thing now, which is thinking about running as a very complex exercise, almost a science . 

I was talking to my friend Anne the other day how getting back to running gives me a purpose, something I can do for myself… you know, have goal. And a plan to follow in order to achieve my goal. I am a goal-driven person. Having goals keeps me out of trouble, gives me a peace of mind, and makes me happy, helps me focus. I was thinking that I’ve already achieved my most important goals (family, career, friends, health, and weight) and now I need another one to keep me going on… I saw running as the best long-term goal, one with no completion date but with milestones… All I have to do is keep working forward achieving another milestone … That is why I am so addicted to running and that’s why I am going to do it the right way. I will worry about technique, I will worry about base training, I will worry about rest, I will worry about my shoes… I will try to improve my stride and I will NOT error this time. Happy running to all!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

10 things that make me happy :)

I was tagged by my friend Anne from to list 10 things that make me happy :). Here it is:
1. spending time with my husband and two daughters
2. watching my 2 year old when she wakes up in the morning ... and watching her dance and sing... so cute
3. Escape weekends with my husband (none lately)
4. indulging in manicures/pedicures with my 20-year old one
5. cooking in my brand new kitchen
6. Wine! We love good wine (lately we are into French wines)
7. Company! We LOVE to entertain friends and family
8. Hiking or simply being in a forest... it gives me this incredible energy that I love!
9. Reading a good book with a good cup of tea before going to bed
10. having goals makes me happy :)

Voila! This is my list... but there are so many more things that make me happy...  I can start a blog just talking about that... I am the kind of person who is miserable when miserable (if that makes sense)... being sad, depressed, unhappy, or pessimistic is not in my nature... I am generally very positive and optimistic and can see something positive in any situation ... I even have hard time being around people who are negative and everything is oh, so difficult for them... you know, those who complain and whine all the time... so I am addicted to happiness :)

On another note, my ankle felt great today, I barely feel any pain so I had decided to go for a run . I started getting ready to leave thinking that my hubby is taking a nap.. so I put my HR monitor, strap the cool Garmin on my wrist and as I was putting on my hat I was caught by the running police (aka hubby) who took me by the neck and locked my inside the house... so, sadly, no running or walking for me today :(  joke aside, I was upset when he said " you are doing a very stupid thing right now and you know it!" but I knew it and I listened to him. If things go well, I might be able to start this week. So far I've been (only) walking with my new shoes and my Achilles is much better so I am hoping the problem was solved... I will keep you posted.

And lastly, today I found that a friend of mine is pregnant. Of course I was happy for her but I also felt envious... we've decided that we won't have more kids but still, I had so much fun the second time around that now every time I hear news like that I feel like having another one ... ah, don't we love being moms!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The scientist in me

There are two different ways one can go about becoming a psychologist. The first one is to do a PsyD program and get the necessary clinical training. The second one is to do a PhD program, and along with the clinical training, conduct scientific research and write a doctoral dissertation. Both ways allow you to get licensed as a practicing psychologist but the PhD way requires more time in school and, well, more effort.

I would have loved to do the PsyD program but it is NOT accredited or available in Canada, only in the USA. Therefore, I had no choice but to do the PhD one and actually do the research. The problem was I was MORTIFIED of it. Not the actual data collection but what came before and after that. Let me explain. One of the requirements of a doctoral dissertation is that the research is original, meaningful, and not a mere replica of someone else's work. And then you have to write about it and publish it. So I was afraid my ideas were not that original and I was absolutely sure I won't be able to write hundreds of pages in English (not my first language). But I did. And I loved the process! Generating the ideas I had not problem with and the writing? Well, let just say that it was one of the things I did that I am most proud of (made possible by the help of my supervisor and my super-duper best friend and their endless editing).

So why am I writing about all that? Because I want to tell you how much I love research now! It made me a different person, it made me a great problem solver. I don't just listen to people (I mean professionals like my GP or my physio therapist), I need to understand the cause-and-effect relationship, know exactly how things work, and why they work this way and if I can make it better. If an answer makes no sense to me I'd take it further and look for solutions myself. So, my brand new Garmin has been collecting dust for few days now. Apparently, I am not supposed to run or walk (crawling is OK, though). But I love to to see the miles clicking so much that I am trying to research my way out of Achilles tendinitis :) ... I've read everything there is on that type of injury so feel free to ask me :)

What I wanted to post here is a video about the way we run that would be of great help to novice runners or those who never thought about their running technique. More specifically, it's an analysis of heel strike vs. forefoot strike and the associated risks with heel strike. Enjoy!

As for mileage: 3Ks for me today... (shall we say crawling ;))

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I am not posting but this is interesting!

Here is why injuries usually come in multiples.  This is a quick animation of the bio-mechanics of running- related injuries for overpronators.

OK, so I walked today for 5.5K (shhh, don't tell my physio therapist or my husband).

I didn't want to blog about injuries!

What I had in mind when I first started to blog was a RUNNING blog not an INJURIES blog... (Sigh)
After my post last night I realized that all I talk about is my injuries, my pain, my 2-3K runs that I shouldn't even be doing, my speed walking. Depressing, right?! So, I decided to stop writing until I can RUN AGAIN. I mean, what is the point? I can't talk about pace, or mileage, or effort, or training program? I can't motivate others by writing about the difficulties I had to overcome during my daily runs. All I can tell them is "be careful not to run on an injury"!

So, I won't be posting much until I am back in running shape. Until then, I promise to cross-train, walk, do yoga and elliptical. I will, however, be reading all of your posts so that I can "steal" a bit of that ELECTRICAL feeling we love so much, the feeling after a good run. I will be living vicariously through your stories.
Happy training to ALL!

PS: there is another blogger who uses the name "runagain" ( Interesting :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bio-mechanics and 3K today

I ran outside today (wohoo!). The weather was so mild that I couldn't resist the urge. My Achilles has been better in the last 2 days so I thought I'd go for a speed walk and IF I felt good after a while, I'd jog at a very slow pace. Well, I did and it was OK but my ankle got worse 30 minutes after the end of my run (when the area cooled down)... so I went to see my physiotherapist and she put me on a mandatory rest for A MONTH!!! I was devastated. However, she agreed that it might be my running shoes and that I need to go back to the Running Room store and try another brand. I did and guess what? The sales person told me I've been running with the wrong shoes!!! In fact, my old ones were "stability" or made for overpronators with low arches. This is what I was advised to buy at another Running Room store (the one at Dix/30 from those of you who are from Montreal). But today was told that I am NOT an overpronator and that my arches are rather high!!! GO figure! Who do I believe? I did end up buying a new pair for normal gait and normal arches or the "cushioning" style and am supposed to run on the treadmill for at least 10-20 K to see it my ankle would feel better. The problem is that my therapist forbid me from running for a month! Well, they (the Running Room store in Westmount) were nice enough to extend the trial period for 45 days (normally it's 30 days).
So, although today I felt better about the steps I was taking to heal my injury (i.e., going to physio, new shoes, slow pace, etc.), I am still not sure whether my feet are normal or crooked. So I decided to get a  more professional opinion and to seek a bio-mechanical evaluation of how I run - you know, the one where you run on treadmill full of sensors (an orthoscan) that detect and calculate every move you make and determine the problem areas. What motivated me was thinking of the time few years ago when I stopped running because of excessive injuries and don't want the same thing to happen now. Before I thought that once you get injured there is not way back to running but know I know better.
I will keep you posted if there are any interesting findings :)

Oh, and am I going to listed to the physio therapist and NOT run for a month? Probably not. But I will not run for at least a week.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Awarding the Beautiful Blogger Award and Walking 5K

So here is my list of blogger who get the Beautiful Blogger Award. In order to accept it they would have to share 7 random facts about themselves and to award it to 7 other bloggers who they feel deserve the award:

Michingan here to stay
Baby Steps
The runner's tale

On another note, today I went for a power walk (5K or 3 miles) with my mom before she boarded a plane to go back to Bulgaria after a month of visiting us. The walk was very nice! I tried to run but my Achilles started hurting right away. I mean, I wasn't thinking I'd be able to but you know, we always think that if there is no pain when the injured area is resting then it must have miraculously healed overnight. Dah! So, I walked, which is still something as I have to do 60 more miles by the end of January in order to achieve my goal of 83 miles/month. Or in kilometers that's 138 km per month and I still have 100K to walk, run, do elliptical or crawl - as long as I do them it does not matter how. I wish I could run them but I have to get that Achilles healed first.

Tomorrow I am going to buy new shoes just in case that my current ones (although quite new) are pressing too much on my ankle and causing the irritation (I do feel a bit of pain on my other ankle so it could be the shoes)...

So, I am going to be sad for the rest of the night (week, month) that my mom left and hope she'd come back  soon. In fact, she mentioned a possible visit in May :) My mom loves gardening and since the house we just moved in needs a good green thumb, she was more happy to offer her help. Those of you who live away from your loved ones know how hard it is! We talk on the phone daily, email, Skype. Facebook, Twitter, etc. but it is still not the same as your mom dropping in for dinner on Sunday night or coming to babysit (on a short notice) when you've had enough toddler songs and silly games and need some adult time... arrhhh! I miss her!

I wish you all a great week and happy training!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Elliptical and Beautiful Blogger Award

Today was elliptical day... not running but better than nothing... This is also our last day on vacation and it was the best one! My older girl (the 20 years old one) spent the day snowboarding... we've been here for a week and only today she mustered the courage to go... she used to snowboard when she was 13-14 and was very good at it but hasn't done it since then... she has this thing about failing - she is afraid of it so much that she'd rather not try it.. so over the years I've watched her miss on opportunities just cause she didn't want to fail... and she wouldn't have failed but go convince her... here is one example: she is a great swimmer and was part of a swimming club for years... she was probably the best in the group and neither I nor her coaches could understand why she NEVER participated in competitions... she enjoyed the practice but never signed up for competitive event... She is still like this today! She didn't want to go snowboarding cause what if she'd forgotten how to do it?! Well, finally we convinced her to go and she was GREAT! She loved it so much and of course was on the slopes all day and now her entire body aches from the effort. SO while she was snowboarding, we were watching and cheering her... then our 2 yrs. old one wanted to go too (I guess next year we'll put her on skis).  I really hope that both my daughter's lives will not be missed opportunities cause they are too afraid to try, too afraid to fail, too afraid to learn! I am so not like that that I wonder who did my older one got it from (her father is not like that either).. as a psychologist I know that competitive and overly critical parents may raise children who have a fear of failing... I don't think I was like that with her but who knows how she felt growing up with a mom who put the bar high all the time... I hope my older daughter learned a lesson today - unless you try, you will never know how GREAT you are.

First try down the slope was not that great...

... but soon she was all smiles!

I got the Beautiful Blogger Award from Anne :) thanks  for the honour! Here is my list of 7 things I haven't shared:
1. I used to smoke like a chimney (almost 2 packs a day at the end)... and I quit at 30 when my daughter told me that smoking is OK since i am doing it.
2. I am originally from Bulgaria and moved to Canada when I was 21. I had $500 in my pocket, a baby and a husband with whom we fought all the time.
3. I had a baby when I was 20 and was in university. Then I moved to Canada, got divorced, and put my self through school (while raising my daughter and working full time) so that I can get my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. My degree in History and Political Science from Bulgaria was useless  in Canada.
4. I love wine!My hubby and I enjoy a glass (or two) almost every night.
5. I met my second husband when I was 35 and told him I didn't want any more kids. We broke up (for 2 days) and then he called me to say that he'd rather be with me than have kids... he never, ever brought up the matter again! Two years later we got married and had a baby girl 11 months after the wedding. I am so glad I got to do it again! Now I can fully appreciate motherhood and ENJOY it! I am so lucky!
6. I love my job! I am so lucky to have the opportunity to change people's lives!
7. I am having hard time seeing wrinkles on my face. This aging thing is definitely not for me but I haven't figured out how to reverse it yet ;).. stay tuned just in case I do!

So I am all exposed now :)
 I have to award it to 7 other people but I will do that tomorrow (I need to read the blogs to see who hasn't gotten it yet).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

the sad reality of injuries

I am paying now for my attempt to run the other day - my Achilles is more inflamed and swollen, I have hard time walking :( ... so I am definitely out for the next 2 weeks (I hope no more than that)... I've been doing a lot of research on Achilles tendinitis (i guess I should post some useful links here)... and now know it takes forever to heal... today I swam but it hurts even in the water... since we are still on vacation, hubby and I left our 2 yr old with my mom (who is with us) and went for a hot stone massage in our favourite hotel here in Mont Tremblant (La Quintessence)... then we had lunch at their fabulous wine bar by the fireplace and we loved the food so much that we returned for dinner with everybody... it was lovely... and the 2 yr old behaved so well, we didn't know she was there (thanks to Dora the Explorer and the priceless portable Sony DVD player)... since our hotel is right next door to the Quintessence, we walked there and oh, boy, my husband almost carried me up the hill - my foot was very sore... so my sad realization today was that it's been a week since I got injured and it's not getting better, on the contrary, it's getting worse... too bad, my brand new Garmin won't be registering any miles any time soon!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

a bit of running today

My new Garmin

My tendon felt better when I woke up so this afternoon I was on the treadmill. It was a very light run, just 2.5 miles and I went very slowly. I followed the advise of another blogger (Run DMZ) who also has problems with her Achilles tendon and does warm pads over the ankle and calf muscle before a run and then cold after the run. so that's what I did too... I was hoping to run for 3 miles (5K) but the pain was getting stronger so I stopped. I was reminded of another truth about injuries today - they come in pairs or in multiples! Injuries that are ignored usually lead to other problems since we compensate for the weaker area with another area.. in my case, my sore right Achilles tendon is causing me to overuse my left side so at the end of my run today I felt sharp pain in my left calf... I know better so I will not run until both spots heal... I joined the 1000+ mile challenge of "Tall mom on the run" (but don't know how to add the logo to my blog, is not very friendly)... so, with 990 miles to go I definitely need to keep running, so the plan is: 1) rest, 2) go to physio, 3) do pilates and Yoga to keep the core strong.
aside from that, our vacation is still great, it was very cold today but weather should get better in the next few days... tomorrow will be Nordic spa, massage, and dinner with hubby while my mom babysits our toddler... woohoo!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mont Tremblant Vacation

I am a neuropsychologist/Clinical psychologist in private practice. I also teach and do research. I mentioned in an earlier posting that last September (2009) we moved to a new house and have been busy updating the decor and the kitchen

this is our new kitchen

... so the last 3-4 months have been extremely busy and stressful for me. We usually go south in January but this year I didn't feel like it (the thought of my 26-month old having another tourista stomach flu in some Caribbean country didn't seem good to me)... so this year we decided to go to Mont Tremblant in Quebec (we live in Montreal so it's less than 2 hours drive from our house). We arrived yesterday and are staying at the Fairmont Mt Tremblant which is situated right at the bottom of the slopes and by the chair lifts, perfect for winter sports... We are not big on downhill skiing but I love cross country skiing... for the last 4 weeks since we booked our hotel I've been imagining myself cross-country skiing in the forest and then going to a Scandinavian Spa (you know the one where you are outside when it's minus 20 Celsius and alternating hot and cold baths)... well, we are here now and we have the most amazing view from our apartment and that's all I can do - watch others ski!

this is the view from our living room window, just stunning!
My Achilles is still very sore and I can't run, I can't ski, I can't even walk too long... I was hoping it will go away by now (it's been 4 days) but no, it's still there :(
so what did we do today? Pottery painting! I can't believe I had to come to the mountains to paint pottery
:(  ... bit it was fun... we are here with my mom, who is visiting form Europe, and my older daughter (who will be turning 21 in April)...
So, for now, no running, just mandatory rest, arts and crafts and quality time with my family... not bad but less than what I was hoping for...

this is me with my mom and younger daughter at the pottery shop today

If my injury gets better in the next 2 days I can still complete my weekly goal of 15k ... I am still amazed how little it took for me to get addicted to running again... thanks, Anne, for inspiring me (see the blog of my friend Anne

this is my older daughter with our dog Paco at the pottery shop

Friday, January 8, 2010

mandatory rest :(

Stupid pain in the Achilles is making it hard for me to walk so no running for at least 3-4 day if not more! I am icing it and taking Advil but it's still very painful. I am sad that this happened when I just started but I it's a good thing as it will help me keep my excitement (and desired to run all the time) in check so that I don't get more serious injuries, especially for my weak spots (knees) .. oh, well, I will try to read more blogs while I am off and do pilates more often... I will also do more research for my training program and learn how to use the software that came with my Garmin 405 Forerunner so I can plot training session and track my progress.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

running with a HR montitor for the first time - lesson learned!

Today was my first time running with a HR monitor (I tried my new Garmin 405 Forerunner) and what a difference it made! I started the run as usually, warm up at 4.5 miles per hour for 5 min and then run at 6.5 miles per hour. After about 5-6 min of running at that speed, I was at 90% of my max HR! No wonder I've been having such hard time running continuously for longer than 10-15 min, I was going too fast and my heart was working too hard! So I went down to 6.0 mile per hour and was able to rung without a walking break for 25 min or until I completed my goal with was a 5K run (or just over 3.1 miles). Actually I could continue running for another 25 or 30 minute as I was feeling so great and my run was so effortless but a throbbing pain in my right Achilles tendon (on the back of the ankle)stopped me. I think my running shoes are too high in the back and are pushing against my ankle causing my Achilles to get irritated and inflamed. I had this in the summer when I was running outside but this time is very bad. Actually, I am in a lot of pain now and moving my ankle makes it worse... so walking and going down the stairs is very difficult ( and we live in a townhouse with 4 levels so imagine all the stairs at home).
I talk about my runs in terms of kilometers as I am more comfortable with it but my treadmill is in miles so I am reporting speed in terms of miles, which can get confusing :)

So what I learned today is that I need to slow down and slowly build up my speed. I don't know why I never got a HR monitor (and I am a "gadget" person) but now that I have it I will use it all the time. I just hope my ankle injury is going to go away soon so that I don't have to wait too long until my next run :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

still taking it easy

I have my physio appointment tomorrow, so I am still running on the treadmill. I ran 5km today and felt great. I got my new Garmin 405 Forerunner today and can't wait to try it outside :) next gear piece I have to get is the Spiky for running on snow and ice... I should have my training program for next week, I am so exited :)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Getting started

Once a week I do Pilate's on a machine with a private trainer, who is does 1/2 iron man 2-3 time per year and runs marathons... I spoke to her about my running goals and her advise was to first address my old injuries by seeing a physiotherapist... preventing new injuries is part of my goal so I booked an appointment for physio... it's good, as I also need to take care of that knee or I won't be able to run long distances. I am also going to buy Spikys so I can run outside on the snow... After I get my health check from the the physio and my gear, I will make (and post) my outdoor running program... Very exciting! I have not told my friend (who is the inspirationfor my running) about my plans so if I succeed, it would be a total surprise to her :)