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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Speed Update

As it's Saturday, it's time for the end-of-the-challenge report. I was able to beat my previous fastest time for the mile.
Nov 27 - 9:07

April 17 - 8:48
April 23 - 8:21
April 24 - 8:17

And just to compare, it would take me roughly 38 mins to swim 1mile, but I have never tried for speed :)

So this challenge was supposed to be for a week. I had to run 1mile as fast as I could (on a treadmill - cheating?!) everyday for five days. I knew it was a silly idea... I mean, running ALL-OUT is hard in itself. If your muscles don't hurt, you're probably doing it wrong. If you don't hurt or feel terrible afterwards you were definitely not going hard enough. And 2 days into the challenge I realised that I was hurting. My knees were definitely feeling the increased pounding and my muscles were tired. I wasn't pushing myself as hard as I could - I finished that last 8:17 knowing I could do more, but not wanting to. The fact that I was able to improve so much over such a short period of time shows that my body CAN do it, but it's my mind that's telling me that it hurts... it's not important... if you stop you'll feel so much better.... why do you even need to go fast?!

So through this I've learned a few things:
  • I'm faster than my friends, as none of them run!
  • I can improve my mile time, but this is not the way to do it.
  • Speed - stronger impact - more knee pain. I was smart to back off, so I'm not sorry I stopped the challenge.
  • I can absolutely do a sub 8-minute mile, and I WILL!
  • It's a fun way to challenge myself and I will try again in the future.

I want to do a real timed mile at the track in May. It will be approx two weeks from now, before my trip. I'll update on here whenever it happens :)
I went for a 20minute Vibram run on Thursday and my legs are just killing me now... I was also dumb enough to sign up for a 5k that is one hour away from my house via bike. So  I will bike 1 hour to get there, run for a 1/2 hour, and bike 1hour back. Then I will round up the day by sitting in a bus for 2 hours, as I'm going to London to visit the boyfriend.

I never claimed to be sensible, or to think things through well :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

This week's (speed) challenge

I was talking to Calvin (the boyfriend) about wanting to get faster at the mile distance. As I excitedly chatted away as his eyes glazed over, I realised he may not be the best person to talk to about miles, treadmills, or anything cardio related.

[He has recently started lifting weights. So we're allowed to talk about weights, muscles, food as fuel, races I've signed up for in order to sync schedules and electrolytes.]

I decided the conversation should be ended right there before he gets completely bored and learns to associate speed and running terms with having a bad time, and then he will NEVER come to my races :( So the conversation will get shifted to this blog.

I have some time off since my last undergraduate semester has ended. I'm still waiting back for one grade, but things are smooth. My room-mates are relaxing, everyone is partying as they say goodbye and go back to their own homes. My days have actually been refreshingly slow and boring. I am still volunteering a little. I am seeing friends when they ask me to hang out (Hi Fadey!!) and I am planning a big trip to BC for my birthday.
But one thing my time off has been lacking is a schedule, and some discipline. I wake up late, do nothing, and then go to bed late. I've been completely missing the morning, and therefor half the work day. I have a few errands to run, so I need to get my act together. I've also stalled on my half marathon training plan and should definitely get back to it!

So here's the plan: In order to keep busy, accountable and motivated, I am going to do a speed/consistency challenge for a week. I am going to run ONE MILE everyday. I am going to try beat my time of 8:48 8:21 and get faster until Friday, when Calvin gets back. I've told him to ask me how fast my fastest mile is, and I'm already able to say that I'm faster than the last time he saw me :)

So Monday's already been a success!
(The second part of this challenge is to also fit in my normal HM training in with this challenge. I would like to get the mile done in the morning as soon as I wake up and then go to the gym 3 evenings this week to do my weekly mileage in. My long run will still be on Sunday, unless the weather suddenly turns beautiful, in which case I will switch around my days)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

HM Training, Week 4

This week, there has been 0 running. I missed my first run of the week, and it wasn't a big deal. My knees still felt a bit weird from  my 'long run' the Sunday before, so I thought it'd be best to take it easy. I missed my second weekly run because I had no time due to school work, the radio show, and placement. I figured I would do a 7mile elliptical (equivalent mileage, less impact) on Friday, but the gym was closed due to it being a holiday.
My long run will still happen tonight, there's 5 miles on the plan :)
UPDATE: I ran 5.5km and 3.3km tonight, so 5.5miles in 55mins! (Broke it up in two runs with about a 2-3min break in between to change and check the map.)

I have recently been trying to change my diet: I wanted to cut out sugar, processed foods and general junk that I don't need. I've been trying to be mindful to eat only when I'm hungry, rather than when I am bored. I also want to eat smaller portions. (I have a tendency to drag a meal and over fill my plate, as it's an excuse away from studying.)

So far, all I can say is that it's a goal and I'm continually working towards it. I've made a couple soups this past week that turned out well. After a few days of eating no junk, I experience headaches and an intense craving for candy - symptoms which I attribute to sugar withdrawal. I have always had candy/sugar available around the house, so I usually give in and have a treat. The plan was to eliminate the candy around the house, but since it's Easter, all the room-mates have brought chocolate back! So this is still a work in progress.

I have decided that I will make a smoothie with honey and strawberries every time I get a craving for sweets, as it should do the trick.

Today, I tried Gardien's Chick'n Marsala, which is made of no meat. There were two pieces and each one comes with a packet of sauce. I had it plane, with no sides, and I didn't mind the taste. I thought the texture was great but a little soft, but my boyfriend didn't like it, saying that it tastes too fake. I feel that the 'chicken' would go great as a substitute in a different meal, as I didn't care much for the bland sauce.

I would buy this again, but not every week, as it's quite expensive. I feel that I'd only use it in a stir-fry, as I'm not fancy enough to think of anything else I can cook it with. Firm tofu would be a cheaper equivalent for my needs, so I may just stick with that.

Monday, April 2, 2012

HM Training, Week 3

I've jumped into a half marathon training plan that has me running 3x a week, and 2x cross training. I have successfully completed week 3, and have 9 to go. I've chosen to do an early June race, as my past two halfs were in May, and I like having a race around the time of my birthday. I've chosen a race that's close by, and if the RD's speedy responses to my emails are any indication, should be quite small, but well run (haha, get it?).

Tuesday - 3.5miles in 37min
Wednesday - off - good thing too, as I was super busy with school and radio :)
Thursday - 3.6miles in 35min
Friday - (XT) 4.4miles in 40min
Saturday - off - good thing, as the weather was grim, cold, and rainy!
Sunday - 5miles in 52min

I felt great during my 'long run'. I had to break it up, 1 mile + 4miles, as I had to switch treadmills. I had some chafing from my cotton shirt, under my arm. It sucks, but I've learnt from it, and I'll be applying some body glide if I get an indication that this will repeat. But I wont wear THAT shirt again while running :)
My knees felt a bit rough after my run.... and I have a bruise on the inside of my right knee today. This is extremely weird. They don't hurt, but I'm worried about the bruise, as I haven't had this before. Any comments/advice/suggestions would be welcome!

I'm approaching this race with steady training. I am determined to follow a plan, but I am also ready to take it easy at the first sign of a problem. (I haven't registered for the race yet, as I think it's a jinx to have something planned before you're trained for it...)  I ran my first race unprepared, and my second injured with tendinitis. I'd like to place a goal for myself that I will run the entire distance, and then time will be a secondary goal. I've managed to do all my training runs at around 10min/mile, which is speedy for me! I hope to incorporate some Vibram/barefoot runs on days that XT is suggested, to keep my legs relaxed and have a break from the treadmill. I'm so excited to have something to work towards, and it's nice to think that each workout now has a purpose other than to feel good and stay healthy. I'm excited for this direction, and thankful that I am able to run with relatively few problems :)

Have a great week!