WIAW

Time for another round of food-gawking with WIAW hosted by Peas and Crayons.

Sunday’s Eats

  • tea and a bagel with White Chocolate Wonderful & Dark Chocolate Dreams before my long run
  • an assortment of Vega all-natural sports nutrition before, during & after the run
  • toasted egg & cheese sandwich with tomatoes, red peppers & hummus for lunch
  • apple, carrots, hard-boiled egg and clementines for snacking
  • spaghetti and meatballs for dinner
  • nibbles of Christmas goodies for dessert (taste-testing!)

What do you like to eat and drink to prepare for your long runs, keep energy up during the run and recover after?

“Unofficial” Speed Work

I’m a big believer in taking time off from official training or speed work during the “off season” – giving the legs and mind a chance to recuperate from the rigors of a training cycle. I love to run without a plan or schedule for a while – running if I want, when I want, however fast or not-so-fast I want and having no expectations or pressure.

I try to maintain certain mileage, mostly for maintaining my base and also because it keeps me feeling good (40ish miles work for me), but I generally don’t think about pace too much. At times I’ve worried that taking too much time off speed work will leave me feeling ‘flat’ and slow going into my next training cycle.

I know the break is important, but that doesn’t mean I can’t push the pace occasionally when the mood strikes. I enjoy running along at my happy, comfortable, conversational pace most days… then sometimes I get the urge to just GO. And when that happens, I run with it.

On one of my lunch-time runs last week, I was fueled by the gorgeous sunny day and a new Vega Pre-Workout Energizer that I had the opportunity to try [review coming soon]. As soon as I set foot on the sidewalk, I could tell that I wanted to run fast.

I decided to make my way over to a loop that I used frequently last winter for my mid-day tempo runs. It’s relatively flat and quiet, providing a great 3K route that I would repeat once, twice or three + times in the thick of my training.

I forced myself to slow down for the warm up, and let my legs go as soon as I reached that invisible starting line. The wind on my face, the rhythm of my breathing and the south of my steps were invigorating as I quickly settled into my (PR) half marathon pace. It certainly didn’t feel easy, but it wasn’t supposed to. This was my opportunity to challenge myself and tap into some of my determination that has been locked away for a while now. I unleashed the runner inside who thrives on pushing the limits.

I couldn’t get too carried away on this particular day, but 4K at a “manageably hard” pace was just what I needed to stoke the fire and remind me what’s in store when I kick off my next round of training.

What’s your favourite way to keep things fresh between training cycles?

 

Weekend Recap & HBBC Week 1

I hope everyone had a great weekend – especially my friends to the south who were celebrating Thanksgiving!

My weekend started with a Friday night date at the pool for my longest swim to-date! I ended up being the only one from Masters that showed up (apparently some people have better things to do on a Friday night??) so I got extra one-on-one attention from the coaches, and put in 3000 metres!

Saturday morning hubs and I enjoyed a “runner’s sleep-in” (aka 8am) and a lazy start before heading out for an easy run together. Our schedules have been conflicting a lot lately so it was nice to have the opportunity. At one point a squirrel literally flew across our path after we startled him digging for food; I screamed and then broke into hysterics. You had to be there.

Next up I was off to Cobourg for a bike ride (outside! in November! in Canada!) with E. It was a gorgeous day and we had a nice chatty ride. I was super stylish with my bike shorts over tights.

Unfortunately that’s the only picture I managed to take – fail!

From there we headed straight to the train station to pick up Meg who was in town visiting from the States over Thanksgiving weekend. We had an awesome afternoon and evening catching up - devouring an entire veggie tray between the three of us in the process.

I had a long drive home and a long run in the morning, so unfortunately I had to leave before the shenanigans ensued… apparently. ;) *ahem*

Sunday morning I met up with the a couple dozen others who chose to spend a rainy, windy Sunday morning running all over town. I tried out some of my new Vega sports nutrition – review to follow soon! It turned out to be an extremely tough & hilly run, but as always, company made it more than bearable. Best way to start the day, and a hot shower felt amazing when I got home.

After warming up, re-fueling and running some errands, I tackled the first items on my Christmas “baking” list (though both of these items were no-bake.) I made Cake Batter Chocolate Bark and Mom’s recipe for peanut butter balls.

YUM! These were promptly stored in the freezer so I would keep my paws out of them… except for an obligatory taste test of course! They are safe for sharing over the holidays!

Then I relaxed on the couch (and started working on this post) while hubs got busy on dinner.

Pretty much a perfect weekend.

***

So here’s how my first HBBC week went down. I’m also updating a breakdown of my points earned daily on my Community page.

Nov 19 – 25
19th: run 12.7 miles (12.7)
20th: run 3.1 miles (3.1)
21st: 0 (sick)
22nd: run 5.1 miles (5.1) + bike 12.5 miles (2.5) + F/V* (1)
23rd: run 10.2 miles (10.2) + swim 60 minutes (6) + F/V (1)
24th: run 6.2 miles (6.2) 
25th: run 3.4 miles (3.4) + swim 75 minutes (7.5) + F/V (1)
=59.7 points

*F/V denotes min. 7 servings of fruits & veggies

Happy Monday!

Blackjack (21 Things)

Tall Mom tagged me to play along and share 21 random bits & pieces that you may not know about me.

Here goes…

1. I’ve lived within about a 10 mile radius my entire life, in 6 different homes (3 with my family, 3 with hubs). It would take a lot for me to move away; I love it here.

2. I am terrified of flying, but that doesn’t stop me from travelling. This year I learned that Ativan helps.

3. The biggest prize I ever won was a one-week trip to London from a radio station in 2007. I took my Mom.

4. I’ve never touched a cigarette in my life, but every one of my immediate family members, and their significant others, smoke – against my protestations! I would give anything for them to quit.

5. I worry about my family all the time.

6. My worst habit is biting my nails.

7. Hubs and I first met in our grade 10 calculus class. We recently discovered (through Facebook!) that the secretary at our physiotherapist’s office is married to that math teacher.

8. I often have a strong desire to shave my head – one day I will do it!

9. I change out of my work clothes the instant I get home every single day. I’m comfortable enough all day, but when I walk in the door I suddenly find them intolerable.

10. We recently cancelled our home phone and decided to stick with just cell phones. I had a mild panic attack when we first cut it off, but we have not missed it. And I only tried to make a call from the disconnected handset once.

11. I have only ever had 3 job interviews (and 3 jobs) in my life.

12. I can’t be bothered to blow-dry my hair 90% of the time; I leave the house with wet hair almost every day, even in the winter. That’s what hats are for.

13. I wish I liked seafood, but I just don’t. Sometimes I will eat fresh fish from the lake when we’re camping, because somehow it doesn’t taste as “fishy”.

14. I hate the taste of coffee and that includes coffee-flavoured desserts.

15. My lucky/favourite number is 13, probably because of my Birthday. I love when it falls on Friday the 13th!

16. I am not superstitious.

17. I could watch Friends reruns all day long, but I don’t enjoy Seinfeld and I can’t stand The Simpsons.

18. I always used to sleep like a rock from the time my head hit the pillow until my alarm went off, and never remembered any dreams. Over the past year or so I have started waking up a couple times per night and remembering all kinds of dreams. I must be sleeping lighter in my old age. :)

19. I am a freak about clutter and tend to put things away without even thinking about it – sometimes when they are still in use. I also have a very hard time sitting down to a meal without cleaning up the kitchen first.

20. I’m very particular about the way the dishwasher is loaded.

21. I don’t like pumpkin pie. (Happy Thanksgiving!) Actually, I’m not much of a pie person in general. Except peanut butter pie. Other than that, pass the cupcakes please!

I’m tagging the people who commented on yesterday’s post:

I was “supposed” to tag 10 and that’s only 9, so consider yourself tagged if you’d like to play along!

Wednesday Wheels

Yesterday I finally learned how to do something I should have learned long ago. I changed my own tube!

My pal Julie from Scout Cycling generously hosted a free Bike Maintenance 101 Workshop for about 20 of us at a local community centre.

We went over all the basics of bike maintenance, including a pre-ride safety check, monitoring parts for wear, cleaning/lubing the chain and changing a flat.

I was lucky that I never ended up needing this skill all season, since I wasn’t carrying the essentials even if I did know how to use them. This will definitely be rectified for next season.

I wasn’t brave enough to try a CO2 cartridge yet (that will be my goal next year!), but I do have a small frame-mounted hand pump for now.

Something tells me it’s going to seem a lot more complicated if I find myself in the situation on the side of the road (even worse, in a race!) so I’m thinking I should practice at home a few several more times.

Running shoes seem so much simpler!