Monday, June 29, 2015

Marathon Training - Week Eight (Here We Go, Again)

Happiest Monday to you!

Slowing but surely my mood is lifting and the depression is lessening. Despite having a grey, rainy weekend I felt content instead of miserable and sleepy, which can happen when I’m struggling with my depression. I am hopeful.

Week past:

I didn’t really talk about it last week but I obviously have cut my distance down. I had originally had drawn out a very slow climb from the half to full marathon distance and was happy with that until I was forced to take a few weeks off. I’m still doing (what I think is) a slow build to the full distance and I’m working up from 18K.

18K was a perfect distance to get myself back into running longer distances, and although it sucks to bring myself back down, it’s exactly what I need.

I wasn’t about to do 18K on a treadmill so I went on one of the wettest runs I have ever done. Not only were my clothes soaked but there were stretches of sidewalk where puddles were completely unavoidable. I ran with wet, heavy shoes for over two hours and gained three blisters. I almost never blister so you can bet I was whining like a baby.

My IT band was extremely sore so I massaged it out and iced it last night. It feels so much better but I’m going to fit in some easy yoga tonight just to be safe.

Week ahead:

Here is my tentative plan for the week. Wednesday is Canada Day and my boyfriend and I have tickets for the Jays game so I’m going to try my hardest to fit a workout in before we have to make our way into Toronto. No promises.

Easy run, arms & abs
Speed training
Full body
LSR (20K)

Full disclosure: I’m also planning on devouring the biggest ballpark hot dog I can find.

Do you like to workout on holidays or are they automatic rest days?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Furriest Training Partner

Huge news: I’ve actually been active this week!

For a while my body was physically capable of running and then between getting sick, the death of our family, and my general mood, my heart wasn’t in it. Lately I’ve been struggling with my depression and it’s been difficult to want to do much besides lie in bed and power-watch Suits.

On Monday I finally committed to a short run with some trails near my house. It was a humid, difficult run, but I took my dog and (besides the Nike run) it was the first time I felt like myself in a long time.

I usually prefer to train alone but I think I’m taking on a new, furry training partner.

I also fit in a workout yesterday before work. I went to the gym and did some cycling and leg work. I jumped into it like I hadn’t had a three/four week break and that was a huge mistake I’m paying for today. I’m so sore but mentally I feel more clear.

I thought about fitting in an early workout this morning but I think I made the right decision last night by setting a later alarm. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and not overwhelming myself. I really don’t want to send myself back into a place where I feel stressed and anxious, and with little motivation for anything. Plus, I went to volleyball this evening and running through that sand with my sore leg muscles was enough of a workout for me.

I’ve planned for a LSR this Sunday to get back into marathon training. I’ve decided to re-work my training schedule and I’m going to try to climb about 2K/week starting with 18K. I’m also going to easing back into focusing on nutrition. My food choices have definitely not been ideal lately, but the last thing I want to do is deprive myself.

It’s funny how all of the things that can lead you to be physically healthy can have a strong negative effect on you mentally if you’re not careful. It's a struggle for me, at least.

How do you bring yourself out of a slump?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Update & Nike Run Pictures

My current state of mind is not what I want it to be. 

For years I've struggled with depression and it's had different effects on my life. In high school I was lucky to get a university acceptance letter. In my second semester my depression became horrible, I lost all motivation for school, and my grades didn't slip -- they plummeted. I was lucky to have a strong first semester and the ability to pull them up just at the end (with the help of medication) to squeak into school. 

Now, I just want to sleep. After being sick and losing our furry family member I've found it hard to bounce back. I'm constantly tired and just wanting to sleep. I've fallen three assignments behind in one of my accounting courses (thankfully due dates are just guidelines and as long as I have all of them in by the course end-date I will pass) and instead of feeling motivated to get them done I need feel like I'm being crippled with anxiety. 

Besides the Nike run and beach volleyball, I haven't been able to find the motivation to workout or run and it's weighing heavily on me. I know once I pull myself back into a routine that exercise will drastically improve my depression but beginning it is a struggle. 

I think I'm slowly coming back, though. I knocked out two assignments on Friday night and I'm working on two more to put me ahead. I skipped my long run this morning but I think I'm going to go a short one this afternoon, and move my long run to Wednesday morning. Yesterday I spent most of my day out of my house, away from my bed, and my mood greatly improved. This week I'm going to take my life one day at a time and continue to try to rise out of my depressed state. 

In the meantime, here's a few pictures from the Nike run. One, I love that they were free and Two, the smile on my face while running gives me hope. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Nike Toronto 15K Recap

Nike held one of their legendary races in Toronto and my entire experience was absolutely incredible. Seriously, after my experience I would 100% recommend a Nike event to anyone who asked. It was a 15K run so I was really curious to see how I would like the distance.

Let me throw this out there: the race was $120. I have never spent this much on a race but it was definitely worth it. They had paid staff working the event (there may have been volunteers but one person I spoke to specifically mentioned it was hard not to spend the money she was making this weekend on all the gear they had at the event), the atmosphere was so upbeat and everything you would expect from Nike, they held free events over the weekend (Lakey Peterson was even there leading a fitness class!), the race medal is actually a Tiffany’s necklace, and because Toronto’s race was actually held on Toronto Island it covered the cost of your ferry both ways.

Race Kit/Expo:
I picked mine up at the expo but they actually held pick-up opportunities at various locations around Toronto for those that couldn’t make it downtown on the weekend. I think that having that option is a great idea. In your kit you received your race shirt, ferry ticket, a wristband with your wave on it, and a course map.

The expo was incredible. They brought so many products with them and I somehow narrowed it down to a singlet, a pair of capris, and a tank top when I had so much more great stuff in my arms. They also had running analyses happening, so many picture opportunities with tons of great motivational sayings.

They were also renting out shoes! One of the staff members convinced me to trade in my flip-flops and ID and walk around in a pair of their shoes for a couple of hours. I just walked for a little bit but tons of people were literally running around trying them out. I tried the Fly Knit Zooms and fell in love so hard that I went back inside and bought a pair.

Race Day:
My mom and I took the GO train into Toronto to catch the ferry. Ferries were leaving starting around 6AM but our Ferry ticket was for 8AM and the earliest train got us there just in time. Everything about the ferry process was flawless and we had no problems getting onto the island. On our way to the baggage check-in they had so many things to look at. They had a variety of food trucks that were already selling food around 9AM and more opportunities for pictures. They even had staff station to take your photo on your own phone for you. Since my mom and I were in a later wave I took advantage of that.

The rain was starting to spit as we checked in our bags so the staff at the baggage tent starting handing out clear disposable rain ponchos. I had brought a garbage bag just in case but this was so much better. It even had a hood! Thanks, Nike!

The rain cleared up before our wave left but it started again around kilometer 10. I almost wished it had rained the whole time because the humidity was really hard on me. Before the race I hadn’t run or exercised in any way since before I was sick… almost three weeks ago! I knew it was going to be difficult but I didn’t realize how much of my endurance I had lost. My legs felt like they could go forever but my chest was where the struggle was happening.

Otherwise the course was amazing. The was the first time I’ve run a race on Toronto Island and it was incredible. Some parts of the course were a little tight but not unbearable if you weren’t looking to PR. It was also cool to get to run on the tarmac at Billy Bishop Airport, then through some foliage, then past some really cute houses on the island, and then along the boardwalk just before the finish line.

I started doing 10:1 and it took me 1:52:02 to run the 15K race. I was so tired and I had painful chafing happening under my arm but when I saw that little blue box all of my struggles melted away. I would run 15K in the pouring rain any day for Tiffany’s.

Overall, 15K was really fun to run. I didn’t feel completely drained like I do after a half, but being longer than a 10K was a fun challenger to try to pace myself to. I’d be interested in trying different race lengths besides the traditional 5, 10, 21.1, or 42.2.

My mom had to catch a VIA train from Oshawa at 4PM or else we would have liked to stay and keep checking everything out even in the rain. Despite a huge line we only had to wait for one ferry to leave us before we were able to board. If you didn’t mind paying the water taxis were also running.

If Nike decides to come back to Toronto I will definitely run it again. I’m also interested in seeing where they hold their 2016 races because I loved it so much I would be willing to travel to take place in one of their events again.

Have you ever participated in a Nike run? What has been your favourite race to date?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rapid Fire Friday III

Found these at the Farmer’s Market before work -- so happy they’re back in season!

Most humid night for volleyball ever.

Also super dirty after volleyball.

Sick of omelettes but never eggs.

Really missing this guy.

I miss living in Ottawa and having the sassiest mayor ever.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Loss of a Furry Loved One

Last night, Tuesday, June 9th, around 11pm my mom was knocking at my bedroom door. Our family dog, Hunter, had pooped in our hallway and was acting strange. At first I thought he was just feeling a little off and was acting weird because he never has accidents in the house (we got him at 12 weeks old and now that he was just shy of 11 years old I could count how many times he had an accident inside on one hand). After vomiting his entire dinner he started to lose balance and wasn’t steady on his feet. Eventually he slowly was able to climb onto my mom’s bed where he eventually lost all ability to move his back legs. He then lost control of his bowels completely. He definitely was not okay.

Within an hour my dog had gone from perfectly normal to obviously distressed and seriously ill. At over 75 pounds my mom, sister and I had no idea how we were going to lift him from her bedroom, down a few stairs, and into the car. My boyfriend, Michael, ended up coming over and carrying him out for us.

Because we Hunter was taking up two spots in the backseat of the car I asked my boyfriend to drive my mom and sister with Hunter to the emergency vet clinic. I pet Hunter, I told him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him. Once they left I knew I wouldn’t see Hunter again.

I sat with my other dog at home and waited for my family to come back. I’m glad I sent my boyfriend because he had to do most of the talking with the vet because my mom and sister were so distressed. I also knew that because they were going to have to put our dog down that he would be able to handle the situation and drive them home.

I am so thankful to have such an amazing person in my life. I don’t know many people that would drop what they are doing, get urine and feces on them to lift a lanky, 75-pound dog, and sit with two crying women in a waiting room past midnight. He was so patient and kind to my family, and I will forever be grateful he was able to be there for us all.

Hunter was an incredible dog. My sister and I would refer to him as our brother, and I’m not being cliche when I say he was a family member. He was there through good times, and he was there through times of sickness, heartbreak, divorce, struggles with depression, and so many more. Living in a house with three women he had his nails painted and wore holiday costumes, yet we still called him the man of the house.

Hunter typically didn’t like men. I knew Michael was a keeper the first time he came over and Hunter was all over him. Over the past four years Hunter and Michael have probably spent more time cuddling than Michael and I have.

Hunter loved to howl, run, and swim. He loved his morning piece of toast, dog biscuits every time he came in from the outdoors, and sleeping in a pile of pillows. Hunter had the most beautiful ears that felt like velvet and he loved being scratched behind them. He hated having his nails cut so they usually grew really long before we did anything with them, and we lovingly referred to them as his “witch nails.” He howled at everyone we passed during walks or at the dog park, and he usually got a howl in return.

The last time I took him to the dog park, just a few weeks ago, I was asked how old he was.

“Almost 11.” I replied proudly. His bones were a little stiffer and his had some white around his face that was new, but he still moved like a young pup. No one ever believed he was that old.

When I came home from work yesterday Hunter was running along the fence like howling at the neighbours’ dog like he always did. He ate all of his dinner like he always did. He cuddled with me and enjoyed some ear scratches while I watched Netflix like he always did. He went outside one final time before bed and howled to come back in like he always did. If someone had come to me 30 minutes before it all happened and told me what was in store I would not have believed them.

I think that’s what makes this so hard. I always thought we would look into his old eyes and see that he was in pain and know it was time to put him down. I thought it would be a slow progression over time.

Dogs are a lot of responsibility but the hardest part of owning one will always be the end. You don’t remember how much poop you picked up, or how much they whined, or what they chewed over the years. You will look into their loving eyes and see all of the good times you had, and all the times they loved you unconditionally, and in that moment you will really want to invest all of your life savings into trying to heal them, but you will know the most humane thing to do is let them go and it will break your heart

As sad as I am today, having Hunter in our lives was completely worth it. Without him our family won’t really feel complete but the unconditional love he gave us over the years taught us about patience, kindness, love, and survival. All I hope is that he knew that he was so loved and cherished and when he slipped away he was at peace.

No questions. Go hug something furry (or slimy or scaly, whatever has your heart) for me.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rapid Fire Friday II

Prettiest pink smoothies this week.

My sister graduated with her Bachelor's in Health Science!

I washed my baby for the first time.

Still sick but I coughed my way through volleyball this week.

About to go a month without sugar so I'm trying to kick my York habit.

What did you do this week?

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Deciding on Whole 30

As of Saturday I’m going to attempt the Whole 30 program. I’ve been reading about it for months and slowly pinning meal ideas on Pinterest in case I decided to take the plunge. This week I finally decided to try it out.

Whole 30 is a plan to “reset” your system. It’s supposed to help with inflammation and your metabolism, and uses many other words I truly don’t understand but hear tossed around all the time regarding nutrition. What I do know is that there is less of a focus on weight loss and a bigger focus on healing (without the word “detox”) and after reading the rules I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I finally decided to try out Whole 30 based on the following things:

  1. I’ve been sick for the last week and not just with one thing. If I can get my system back on track and work on my nutrition and build healthy habits to avoid this again it’s worth a short.
  2. I have no big events or milestones in the 30-day window I chose except for a baseball game. No birthdays, anniversaries, or anything else that will make me feel tempted to “cheat” on Whole 30.
  3. Free. Seriously, there are very few free plans out there. Whole 30 is literally a list of rules, they don’t provide you with a meal plan but the Whole 30 community is huge on Pinterest and a few other platforms to help me feel inspired when I’m running out of meal ideas.
  4. I have nothing to lose - maybe some weight from cutting out junk.
  5. I have always suffered from stomach issues which led to me going vegetarian for two years. This plan has the potential to help me figure out what could be causing these issues.

Things that made me resistant to trying Whole 30?

  1. I love junk food. I had to give myself a couple of days before the start to get myself into the right mindset. Giving up chocolate will be tough.
  2. I also love cheese and yogurt. Part of me knows it causes me to break out and makes me bloated but I’m a sucker for dairy.
  3. Baseball. The one event I do have planned is a baseball game on Canada Day. Do you know how hard it is going to be going to the ballpark and NOT eating a hot dog? Pretty damn hard!
  4. I’m wary of fad diets. I don’t know if this is counted as a diet and I’ve only heard good things about it… but I’m still a little wary.
  5. It’s a little more restrictive than I’d like to see. Like, I’m not allowed to eat beans, any grains including quinoa, and no peanut butter. NO PEANUT BUTTER! I might quit before I even begin…
Not my picture -- Thanks, Google Images

I’m interested in seeing how I feel at the end. As I said, I’ve only heard good things and know if I put the effort I will survive 30 days with no peanut butter.

Have you ever tried Whole 30 or any other “diet” (paleo, Tone It Up, etc)? How do you feel about these sorts of plans?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Give Me All the Soup & Bagels

NOTE: I thought I had published this Friday night but just noticed today, Monday, an error occurred and it never went live. Huge fail.

Wednesday I woke up with a sinus infection. I was working a later shift that day at work and had so many errands I was going to run and instead I sat on the couch with a cup of tea.

I ate my first bagel and soup of the week that afternoon at work, and stocked up on all of the essentials.

OJ, throat lozenges, and OTC sinus medication.

One of the guys at work decided to tell me I "looked rough."

Thanks for the confidence boost.

Unfortunately I only got "rougher" from there.

I barely got any sleep and I struggled through work on Thursday (with the help of my second bagel and soup of the week). After thinking I just needed some sleep I skipped volleyball and came home to lie in bed.

Instead of getting sleep I ended up coming down with a stomach flu. I don't know how a sinus infection leads to the stomach flu but this is awful! Today is the very first time I've ever called in sick to work... Ever.

Luckily I have the best boyfriend in the world that brought me my third (!!!) bagel in three days and a huge box of Popsicles. I might have ate six of them. 

I didn't eat a real meal until after 7PM today and I was way too lazy to make anything for myself. I ordered in some soup (number three!) and rice.

Also, I have spent my entire day watching How I Met Your Mother. Thank you, Netflix.

Anyways, I'm taking a few days off from running and working out. No long run this weekend. Instead I think I'm going to curl up with another slow on Netflix (I have three episodes of HIMYM left as I'm writing this). 

Any Netflix suggestions? What do you like to eat then you're sick?

Marathon Training -- Week Four/The Week That Wasn't

As soon as I got a sinus infection last Wednesday I knew I wouldn’t be completing my long run this weekend. I’ve struggled with trying to run with a sinus infection in the past and it’s never gone well for me. I decided to ditch all of my workouts and focus on feeling better.

Wednesday’s sinus infection led to a stomach flu that started Thursday evening, and that led to a cough that burned my chest that started Friday morning. I still don’t feel “right.” Since Wednesday I’ve only had one night of good sleep and it’s a struggle to feel like a functioning human being.

I don’t know when I’m going to starting working out again. Running is definitely out of the question, I’m too tired and weak for strength training, and even yoga bothers my head.

I don’t know what to do to help me sleep, but I’m focusing on what I’m eating. I’m drinking lots of clear liquids, eating fresh fruit and veggies, and skipping the added sugar and dairy. My appetite hasn't really returned so I'm trying to keep lots of small portions on hand.

I think that a big part of marathon training is not only being able to push yourself beyond your so-called limits, but knowing when not to push yourself. A year ago I wouldn’t have been disciplined enough to allow myself the time to rest and now I think this is one of the best ways to show how I have grown as a runner.