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Monday, February 28, 2011


Today started quite warm - with rain and a snowstorm. There was thunder and lightening and I barely slept at all. After about 3 hours sleep, I shut off my alarm and got ready for the day.

Luckily I remembered everything for work, and even caught the bus!

Work work work......... I was going to bike home from work, but my coworker was nice enough to stuff my bike in the trunk and drop me off :)
I stopped by the post-office to mail my sister her super secret birthday present (I HOPE YOU LIKE IT!!!) and Julia messaged me to go to the gym. I was just about to text her back asking to go swimming, but I changed my mind. It was quite nice outside - why not run by the river?!

It sounded like a great idea and she agreed! However, I took too long at the post office, so she decided to go without me. Turned out great, since I doubt my run would have been as great if I had someone to pace with. It just works better when I find my own rhythm :)

1 mile walk to the river. Since my muscles are hurting from a work-out two days ago, I knew this would be important so I took it slow.
The sunset was gorgeous by the river, and the water was half ice and everything was quiet. There were a few people walking their dogs and a couple of runners, but noone else apart from that.
I ran until the trail was closed, which is around the Casino (they are doing construction).
I missed a km marker because it wasn't lit up, so my spltis may be weird. But check them out - I did a negative kinda thing!

12.47 [missed marker]
4.38 [only half a km??]

I would have run the last km faster but there was a bunch of huge ice-puddles and I walked over them for safety. I am super proud of this run, as my breathing was perfect the entire way and I paced well enough that I didn't need to stop :)

I also would have done this loop twice if
a) it was warmer
b) my knee didn't hurt.

The knee wasn't screaming, so I ignored it. But it does feel swollen and hurts a bit, so I will take it easy for the next few days. The Spring Thaw 5k is this weekend, and I'll wait to see if I want to sign up or not. I really, really want to do it, since it would be the third time I run it :)

Anyway. I walked a mile to get back home, 17mins. I am glad to be indoors, drinking a mug of hot soy milk :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Awesome things

I've been on the 1000 awesome things blog all day, reading about all things AWESOME.

Here is number 552 -

"When you went to the gym yesterday"

....Because now you can take a break today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Right now:

-my tongue hurts because I ate too many salted sunflower seeds.
-I am growing tomatoes on my windowsill.
-My calves hurt... some would say due to overdoing the new Vibrams, but I refuse to believe these lovely shoes would want to hurt me :)
-My cat decided he wanted outside this morning... so he ended up closely resembling a popsicle, since he had to stay outside until 5pm when I came back :(
-The 150min/week challenge is over at the gym. I thought it went until the end of Feb??? So I didn't win a T-shirt :(
-I went to the gym today with my new gym buddy. I had originally said 1h on the elliptical, but at the half hour mark, once my feet went numb and I sweated all the way down my shirt and wanted to quit, Modern Family came on and I decided to do my whole hour :D

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Does anybody plan work-outs around the weather?

I used to live in the Middle East and I would try and run in the evenings/early nights to avoid the sun and the worst part of the heat.

Now that I live in Canada and experience changes in the weather, I have gotten into the habit of checking the weather online. I like to check the 5-day forecast and plan my outside workouts around the weather. (Or if it's snowing, hide inside head to the gym.)

The day after tomorrow is supposed to be +3 and rainy. I think I'll head outside for some fresh air on the day!! Nothing like relativity to make above-0 temps feel warm!


My trip to London ended with a trip to Novacks, where I bought a pair of blue Vibrams!! They look more purple than blue, and they are SUPER COMFY.
My toes fit a bit weirdly inside them, because they have spent 20 years being squished by shoes, but I have hopes that I will get used to my pinky having separation anxiety.

I also bought my sister a super secret birthday present, which I should mail out in the next few days! :)

And my trip to london also included a short trip to pick up some take-out from Veg Out, where I got a large Roasted Potato Spinach salad for my bus ride back :D They're food is great, but the prices are a little steep. My salad was $10, and could have been bigger. I plan on trying to replicate it at home - but tomorrow, after I've gone shopping for food. We have nothing in the house right now!!

Off to the gym for a couple of hours. I am debating whether I want to go to the pool tonight or not... if I do I may not have a ride back, and there is about 10inches of snow on the ground... so maybe I'll push it until tomorrow! :)

Pictures soon! :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I'm supposed to be studying for my Group Work midterm, but I keep getting distracted by the internet!
I have been thinking about getting some Vibrams for the longest time.
I would love them in purple!!
The idea came about as I was cleaning my room and came across my pink shoes, which are reserved for summer and hold many awesome memories :)

Each summer I notice that the first few days I wear them I get a headache because I step too heavily in them. I then realise that the way I was changes, as they are basically made of pink material with NO support. However, once my feet get used to the heat (I could feel the ground in Kuwait) they are my favourite shoes to wear the entire summer. I even wear them swimming in the river/sea, as they dry quickly and are super versatile.

I will be sad when the day comes that I will no longer be able to wear them. They've lasted a bunch of years with minimal tearing and I am proud of them!

So...  Vibrams. They seem more durable and could withstand the pounding of running. I would love to try them out, but I'm a bit weary of the separate spaces for each toe, hmm.

Next time I am in London I will look around and see if I find any.
In the meantime... back to studying and resting my aching calf muscles (the hillbilly trail race this past weekend was tough!!)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hillbilly 5k

EDIT: Results are out! Official finishing time was 48:16, and I wasn't last!! Perhaps I will do a trail race again :)

Hi everyone! I hope you've been enjoying your weekends :)

My weekend was spent ice-skating, going to the gym with friends, sitting in our igloo, breaking a light bulb in my hand (super painful) and my very first trail race.

Malden Park hill, in the summertime. Picture this with snow on top!
I will just copy and paste my race recap from DM:

Another shot of Malden Park - imagine this with lots of snow

My first trail race. I loved that it was low-key (they took back our race numbers!!) and there weren't too many people running it. We all got on the trail and received instructions, and I was standing at the back, so couldn't hear since everyone started talking. I heard to keep the red arrows on my right, but I didn't get the course details....
Once we started, it was straight up a hill. The snow was about 20cm deep, and I knew it was going to be a tough race since I had to walk 1.5min in. I ended up pacing behind Mr. Snowman (he walked all the downhills because he didn't want to be the Rolling Snowman) and there were two ladies behind us. I stayed with this group for about 10min, before we let the women run ahead. I started going slow due to the snow (never really ran in the snow before), the knee (****ing hurt this morning, luckily the strap is sort of dulling the pain), and the incline (need to train on hills more). I lost Mr. Snowman after the bridge, where he turned around to make sure I took a right and didn't get lost :) Very nice of him!
After around 15min, I was by myself. It was nice - there wasn't pressure to keep up or keep running if it hurt or I didn't feel it, because I was already last. This is one fear I've conquered! Being last isn't so bad :)

The course was mostly off the normal tracks, and certainly off-road, through the trees and up every single hill they could find! I got lost because I found the road and followed it  - I should have known they wouldn't have made it that easy!!
I came up to some ladies taking pictures of everyone coming downhill... and when I asked which way everyone went they said I was off the track!! They weren't very helpful - they just said to go back and find the arrows. So ~8 mins later, I'm back on track. The worst part was that the first two ladies that were behind me in the race, also went past the picture-ladies. They weren't told to turn back, they kept running. Turns out they only ran about 3k though! So I'm super glad I turned back.
Walk, walk, walk, run... I get passed by 3 people doing the 10k! Haha, at least the first girl was really nice :) I then met a family cheering all the runners, and they told me it was just down this last hill to the finish. FINALLY!! 48:17 and I was last.
My boyfriend was waiting at the end with a hot tea :) They took my race number away (I was 255) and Calvin told me a lot of people doing the 10k dropped to the 5, and several people got lost. Most people were saying it was a tough course!
I sat in the car crying because it was a really tough race for me - I didn't want to skip it and get a DNS (why sign up anyway?!), but I also didn't want to start it and drop out and see a DNF with my name. So I walked a big chunk of the course, I WENT BACK to find the course route, I finished my damn 5kilometres and know I didn't cheat.
My time isn't stellar, but I'll take it for my first (winter) trail run!!! :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Hi everyone!

I know the last post had a lot blood in it, but this post should be happier!

Here is a picture of my kitty:

This is from a while ago, and he was angry that I woke him up :(

I slept in today, until almost 11am!! It was awesome:)
I then had an AIESEC  meeting which was a lot of fun! Our OGX (out going exchange) team is awesome and I look forward to working with these people :D

I studied a bit after I got home from that, and wasn't planning on going outside since it was snowing all day.
We were supposed to go food-shopping, but it's on the list for tomorrow.
(I looked up some cool recipes for Indian dishes, and I am super excited to try them in the next week!!)

I had plans to go to the gym with Julia at around 5-6, but we ended up going at 7.
I always see a bunch of people I know at the gym, and it's fun because I sometimes don't get to see them in the outside world. I was on the treadmill next to my summer room-mate today and I got caught up on the house drama lately :) I am super glad I moved out of that place....

I felt pretty great today running. Considering I donated blood at the start of this week, I am 99% back to normal, it feels like. :)

However, my knee is really acting up. It's my stupid left knee, and I bought a knee brace to try see if it helps, but I keep forgetting to take it with me to the gym!
Muscles are hurting when I do crazy inclines on the treadmill, so I may try to stay away from that.
I did a few reps on the 'rowing machine' yesterday and my arms hurt super crazy. It's such an odd feeling, since my arms almost never hurt in normal life.

I have a 5k next weekend!!!! It's a TRAIL run AND a hill run. I am more than a little scared, but I'm not looking for time on this race... I just want to come in before the last person!
It should be a fun time, and at $15 I think it's one of the cheapest races I will do! :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Donating Blood

I read a lot of running blogs. I love them! From the newbies that are discovering running to the super speedy people I wish I could be more like... I read them all :)

Reading all these blogs, I recently realised I don't remember any of them talking about having donated blood. I'm definitely not saying they're horrible people - NO. But I was wondering if they don't donate because it's bad for training.

A one unit blood donation is approx 10% of your body's blood. While the volume of blood is replenished in the next few days after a donation, the red blood cells take longer to replace (almost 3 weeks in some cases).

I know that after I donate blood, I sometimes feel woozy and light-headed. I once blacked out after a donation and the nurses on duty put ice on my face & neck and they said that brings up blood pressure and stopped me fainting.
I also know that in the few days after a donation I feel really sleepy and very different. I can tell that something's wrong if I go to the gym too soon or push myself physically.

It seems my heart rate is affected as well! I took my HR in class, after I had been sitting down for about an hour. I shouldn't have been stressed, but my HR was at about 80 the few times I counted (it is usually 58 or lower).

I wanted to read about the science behind it, so I read a few articles.

1) It seems there's a theory that if you donate regularly, your body gets better at re-generating RBCs (red blood cells) and you can make more, quicker. This would be useful when you're not donating, as it would help to have some extra little red guys while exercising.

2) Regular blood donation does not seem to decrease your iron levels. However, this study did identify that it is important to take supplements to ensure you do not develop anemia.

3) There have been a bunch of studies on elite athletes that show that performance is affected by donating blood. I guess things like VO2 and aerobic levels would be affected, but I remember reading that strength isn't affected too much.

4) Tea affects iron absorption. Did you know that??! I checked out an article and it says that tannins in tea affect the way the body absorbs iron. However, if you drink tea regularly your body has adapted to the tannins and blocks their effect.... so it wouldn't really affect iron absorption. Hmm.

5) Did you know that Vitamin C helps iron absorption?! If you are low on iron you should eat spinach or beans or meats AFTER you eat an orange :)

I'm sorry I forgot to keep the links for your guys' further reading, but take my word that I'm not trying to twist the truth :)
Donating is good for other people, but I don't think it's necessarily good for the donor (unless they take care of themselves!)

Please tell me about your theories on blood donations, effects of it on the body or if you've heard anything different!!