Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Westsyde Grind

Almost a week ago a good 90% of our Mudder ladies climbed up Westsyde Road.  This is a gravel road on the other side of Barriere, across the North Thompson River.

Because I was coming from Darfield I decided to meet the group at the bottom of the hill and the rest walked 1.5 kms to get there, along Station Rd and Hwy 5.

That was a climb!

Kudos to J and M who talked the whole way up (3.5 kms) and didn't break stride.  K and I lost sight of them about half way up. She and I mutually agreed that we wouldn't talk on the climb up.  It was a silent agreement because we both found it difficult to talk and climb.

I had to turn backwards and walk a few steps every little while to relieve the strain on my muscles.  But I didn't stop, although I enjoyed the 100 m straight stretch half way up!

The group is scattered this weekend so I'm going to do it again tomorrow morning with Peggy, who wasn't able to make it last week.

On another note, this week I started Week #9 of running.  Ten minutes running, one walking, ten minutes running.  I was easily able to do this so I am heartened. Next week my schedule says Week #10:  Fun Run, 10 minutes.

What?  That's like the easiest run since about week #5.  I think I'm going to make Week #10 a run 20 minutes run and see how I feel about it.  I wonder if I can eliminate the minute rest?

Chris, my husband, tells me that at some point in a running schedule the running suddenly just starts to happen. It feels a little like  that to me  in the last few weeks.  He has been training for a sprint triathlon for the last nine weeks and I've been watching him do 80 minute runs!  He's racing on May I hope his running is finally happening.

On the fitness side of things. I've stopped weighing myself. I'd lose five pound, gain it back, hear all about muscle gain, yada yada, so I ignore the scale.  I'm still noticing lots of toning, loss of a few inches overall and my cardio stamina is so much better. I can easily run 10 minutes and barely break out in a sweat (I make up for it in the next 10!)  I'm still concentrating on weights on my upper body and I'm finding hefting things (car batteries, groceries, wood, etc) much easier.

I'm actually looking forward to Tough Mudder just a bit.

On another note, our family has just reserved our spots for the West Coast Trail on July 3rd so Chris and I are really looking forward to that. The kids are a bit nervous, but they paddled the Bowron Lakes Circuit four years ago (when they were 9, 10 and 11) so I'm sure they will be fine.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In the zone

I've been busy, so I've been very quiet here.

I think I just started Week #8 of my running schedule. Today I ran 8 minutes, walked 1, ran 8, walked one and then ran 2.

I just finished 6,1,6,1,6.

What I'm finding is that at the end of each week my heart rate is staying steady at 143 or 145 per minute from about the middle of the run to the end.

Every time I start a new schedule (like today) my heart rate jumps by the end. Today I clocked 153 by the last two minutes of running. I'm expecting by the end of this week it will have stabilized again. I like it. It means my cardiovascular system is much stronger and getting stronger all the time. My breathing is easier, too.

I feel pretty good. I'm not daunted by starting a new week and I'm actually beginning to think beyond week 10 of the schedule. I'm not sure what I will do then as far as running goes. It's still not my favourite thing to do, but for now it's been my favourite obstacle to overcome.

The group has started some endurance training and I think this will be a focus from now until June. There are some nice hills around here and the consensus is that we now have to start climbing them. (Mostly hiking, there isn't a lot of talk about running up them.)  Thank goodness.

Weight training is going well.  After running, I spend 20-25 minutes on a variety of stations. I'm concentrating on my arms as the obstacles at Tough Mudder seem to require upper body strength. I've noticed my muscles across my back feel much better.  We don't own a full length mirror so I really don't know what they look like. ;)  I have great biceps right now, though, and those I CAN see.  My legs are pretty solid, from the running and some of the weights I've been doing.

All in all I feel great. I'm looking forward to getting out for endurance activities. This will be where all our hard work through winter and early spring will pay off. 

Oh, and while I have the chance, I'd like to thank all my world-wide Facebook friends for posting Tough Mudder pictures on their timelines.  You can't scare me. :D

Well, o.k. Maybe a little.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Finally!  It is warm enough to cycle here in the North Thompson.

Yesterday I grabbed my bike, my camelback, my epi-pens (bee allergy) and my credit card, jumped on my $400 bike (I'm totally entry level when choosing my equipment) and headed north on Hwy 5.

Chris and I started cycling together shortly after we met in 1989. We bought two hybrid bikes in 1990 from a store in Rutland, Vermont, where his parents kept a ski chalet near Killlington.  They really looked like hybrids, too. Part mountain bike/part road bike.

Those bikes lasted us until 1997 when Chris bought a nicer mountain bike (Easton) from his sister-in-law's brother-in-law.

But the original bikes saw us through biking 3 or 4 times a week in Toronto (along the Lakeshore and through the city), as well as for several longer trips, most notably our week long trip from Kingston to Eden Mills, Vermont, through the beautiful Adirondacks of New York state.  I continued to use my bike until probably 2002 when I finally gave it to my dad as a spare for visitors.

For the six months in 1995 before we were married, I rode my bike once a week from Oakville, ON (where I was living with Chris' brother and sister-in-law while he was in Vermont helping is parents with their business for six months) to downtown Toronto. It took me about two hours each way and was exhausting, so I didn't do it very often. But it wasn't much longer thand riving the 60kms (which took me 90 mins, blech).

When we lived in San Francisco in 1997/1998 Chris would ride his bike from our home in Inner Sunset, to his job with a start-up company in downtown San Fran. Lots of hills!

Suffice it to say that we love to bike!  Since the kids were old enough, we've taken them on long treks. Once when I was working Chris and the kids cycled 38kms of backroads to Clearwater, just north of us. By the end of the day they called me to say they needed a ride home after they got ice cream!!

We are in the midst of looking for upgrades for our two youngest kids. Cyling will play a big part in our exercise routine for the next few months as we prepare the whole family for the West Coast Trail later this summer.

I digress...

Yesterday the weather was fabulous and I made it to Little Fort (13.5kms) in 40 minutes. I used the bathroom the general store and turned around and came home. 

I loved it, despite navigating the shoulders when the big trucks go by.  I was able to sustain an increased heart rate for an entire 80 minutes and while running affects different (and probably more) muscles, I prefer cycling....end of story.

I plan on cycling another 14K tonight during Helen's ball practice and hopefully a different 14 K on Sunday if I can sneak away from a 4-H event for an hour.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Knickers twisted...

Last weekend two of our children attended a homeschool Makers conference in Vancouver, so Chris and I decided to take the opportunity to cycle in Stanley Park.

We loaded up the bikes and headed down to the coast from our home north of Kamloops. On Sunday morning we got the kids loaded onto the Sea Bus and headed for Stanley Park.

Turns out that we should've done a bit of maintenance on the bikes before we left. Chris was pumping up one of his tires and blew the valve.  Because I needed to get the last 3-1 run in I offered to let him get my bike adjusted so he could do a bit while I ran.  After spending 30 minutes trying to get the lock unlocked (we were putting veggie oil in it to loosen it) and then 20 minutes adjusting the seat and other parts, he decided the bike WAS too small for him after all. I am 5'4" and Chris is 6'. So he took my front tire and stuck it on his bike and finally took off about 90 minutes after we arrived.

We had parked at Second Beach so I walked to the Sea Wall and started my run.

There are a LOT of runners in Stanley Park. It was also a charity organization's fun run and the wall was pretty busy.

But I'm not fast and I'm pretty good hugging the right hand side of the lane, so off I went.

After about 30 seconds I realized there was something going on with my underlayers...I was wearing underwear, a pair of capri jogging pants, a running shirt and hoodie and a cross country ski jacket with vents. 

Jeepers.  My knickers were falling down!  I tried to unobtrusively hitch them up but that darn sea wall was pretty busy and I just couldn't bring myself to go digging in plain view of so many people. 

I don't know if I'd just never worn this underlayer before or if the combination of fabrics made them slide down. Or, optimistically, maybe I'd shed enough weight to make them slide?  I kept running, figuring at some point they'd stop the downward creeping and I coud evaluate the seriousness of the situation.

By then I was doing a funky side step and twist to see if I could manouver them up again without any hands on action.  After another 10 seconds or so I had to give up!  My knickers were totally twisted!!! 

I ran up to the road above the sea wall and re-adjusted matters when traffic had eased up.  But obviously I was only up for walking for the rest of the day.

Note to self: Get big girl underwear for Tough Mudder.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Not sure about this running...

I'm just finishing week #4 of my running program.  Three minutes running, one walking, five sets.  I can't say I'm loving it.  I find it very jarring on my joints and I don't ever feel graceful.  Although the girls are well secured, I feel as though they are reluctant participants in this venture. 

Today I am headed to Vancouver and stopped in Kamloops to run and use the weight room, since it was minus seven when we woke up. For the first time I used a treadmill to run. It was SO MUCH easier than running on a road.  Less joint pain by far. I felt easily able to keep the pace, too. There's a lot of spring in those units that Hwy 5 doesn't have. I'm pretty sure the Tough Mudder trails will be even more unforgiving than Hwy 5.  So I'm not moving to treadmill work any time yet.

I'm not finding I'm getting a really good workout with the running. Sure, I'm huffing and puffing when I run...but I'm trying to stick to a schedule and 20 minutes of walking/running isnt doing it.

So with the warmer weather I'm going to get my bike, wear warm clothes and start riding like crazy.  I can go hours on a bicycle and only 20 minutes running. I have to ask myself which will prepare me for Tough Mudder better in the long run.

I will still stay on the running schedule, but I'm going to time my route so I'm back at the van at 23 minutes, rather than halfway across town.  I take another 20 minute to walk back to the van when I'd rather spend that time on the bicycle.

My bike is attached to the back of the van right now.  I'm hoping the weather in Vancouver holds and I can get a long ride in before we return on Sunday.  I'll even run once, too!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Husbandly support

When I ran a few days ago Chris was headed into Barriere to help a friend with her computer.  He waved to me on his way by in the van.

When he got home:

Me: How did I look when I was running (unfair wife question).
Him: I never thought I'd ever see you run. (Bad husband)
Him: You looked good.  (Ah, good husband.)


I also ran today; my last day on Week #. On Sunday I increase my running to three minutes with a one minute walk.  It was really warm today and I wore my running shirt and jacket, dispensing with my long sleeve (pink) hoodie running shirt. I debated whether I should leave the jacket but decided to keep it on. Bad decision...remember, "be bold, start cold". 

Chris supplied me with some tunes on an old ipod.  I'm listening to Billy Joel, Po Girls, Barenaked Ladies...but I'm thinking I'd like some running songs.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's the thought that counts...or doesn't!

What I'm thinking when I'm running.

0:00 - 5:00 mins - Gotta start the timer right now, when I start to walk my earbud starts to fall out turn down the volume so when I'm on the highway I can still hear traffic ouch my left calf hurts maybe I should just start the running part now who needs to warm up anyway? Damn, why did this song just skip did my finger hit the screen? Did that person just wave who is it now my other leg hurts is it 5 minutes yet dang just 3.5 maybe I should've worn my coat it's a bit chilly there's the hill ahead and right before that I start running ok. time to look at the stopwatch I really could use a sports watch that just beeps I look like a dork with my phone/stopwatch in one hand and my 2nd generation inherited ipod in the other especially when I run because it looks like I've got two controls one to admininster morphine and one to administer music so I don't have to think about running, Billy Joel's Piano Man I like that one oh 5:01 START RUNNING. I feel like a 50 pound bag of potatoes on the back of a horse. I wonder how I know that? Remember to pull out the earbuds when I cross onto the highway. Wow the bridge sure shakes when those big trucks go over it I remember when the logging trucks would sound the horns when we  used to watch at the bustop, 200, 201, 202 maybe I'm faster than I think, surely that's 320 steps...only 1:15....glad I didn't wear my jacket what is that ticking noise is somebody behind me, no what is it, is it the song, oh my keys in my pocket thank GOD I can walk now.  Breathe in and breathe out I only get a minute oh DRAT, RUN....why does the walking time go faster than the running time, who's coming out of Dee Jay road who owns a blue truck, that truck sure does look familiar they're looking nope don't recognize them, oh the DELICA I recognize, wave to Chris straighten up a bit wouldn't want him to think his wife is flagging during the second set dang I forgot to count what is the time only 56 seconds? Yeesh.  Back across the highway geez walking would be nice right now it's not like Corinna's going to know I'm cheating if I start walking 10 seconds early is it? I wonder what they are going to do with those goats they sure beat the weeds down, the highschool sure is a long ways down this road I hope the highschool kids aren't on lunch I hate gasping and wheezing around the more fit  youth of today damn they are there if I stop when I'm supposed to I'll be walking right past an extra 10 seconds around the corner and die when I'm out of sight whew 25:00 minutes now it's walking the rest of the way so much for my resolve to walk fast the rest of the way...I'm way too tired and I only ever clock the same time am I ever going to get between these obstacles with so many gazelles on the team, has there ever been a time when I felt like a gazelle...hmmmm. Nope.  Oh, I did feel like a princess on my wedding day...HAHAHAH that would make a few people laugh if I said it out loud!....oh great stepped right in the mudpuddle these Po Girls are pretty good ah there's the truck...should I run the last 50

What I post: Upped my run time from one minute at a time to two minutes. Went easier than I expected. So far so good!  I'm a RUNNER!!!!