Sunday, 16 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 3

Braids and yoga with my gal Jess

Week 3! This week was tough from a motivation standpoint.  I was VERY sore, feeling borderline injured, after Tuesday, and it definitely translated into my lack of mileage this week.  It's still early days in this training cycle though, so I am not worried.

Here's what I got up to this week:

Monday: We had a long and tiring day at work, and the last thing I wanted to do was speedwalk home, quickly change, and then head down to Lululemon for a run, no matter how short it was going to be.  Instead, I unrolled my yoga mat in my living room and did Target Practice from Fitness Magazine.  I didn't feel this workout as much as I thought I would, but at least I was moving and strengthening something.

Tuesday: I joined NTRC at the track (Tuesdays at 7:30pm, Central Tech) and had my butt kicked. It was hot, and I was way out of shape for any kind of track workout, let alone the difficult one we did.  About 3/4 of the way through I started to feel some twinges in my left knee and right hip so I sat out a couple laps, and eventually hobbled home.  I'm not used to the springiness of the track, so hopefully I'll build that up this summer. [7.8 km | 34:46 | 4:25/km]

Wednesday: I was incredibly sore all day from Tuesday's track workout, but I still joined Tribe's Crew Run because they were doing a trial with New Balance's new FuelCELL shoes! We went out to Cherry Street and back, and had I not been so sore I think I could have really picked up the pace in these shoes since the route was so flat.  The shoes are nice and light but still have enough cushioning that I didn't feel as if I was running directly on the pavement; I would definitely look into these for a track shoe/speed work option. [4.8 km | 26:02 | 5:20/km]

Thursday: I decided not to do my planned 8k in favour of doing some foam rolling and getting into my quads and hamstrings with my trusty lacrosse balls. I was still feeling pretty sore, and I definitely don't want to get injured this early in the game.

Friday: REST.  This week felt like it took forever, so I wanted nothing more come 5pm on Friday than to curl up in bed with Netflix.

Saturday: I decided to switch my long run days to Saturdays so I'm not rushed to get my kilometres in before yoga on Sunday mornings.  I ran through the new Trillium Park for the first time, and was super impressed!  It wasn't very busy, probably because it was still fairly early when I went by, but it has such beautiful views of the islands and of the city I would love to take a bike ride down there and have a picnic by the water.  I'll definitely include this on more of my long runs. [11.3 km | 1:10:10 | 6:10/km]

Sunday: I got up early and headed down to Tribe Yoga Jam early for Aylin's braid bar.  I am TERRIBLE at my own hair and have a grand total of five hairstyles I can do (two of which are a ponytail and a messy bun), so I was thrilled to get a sweet little braid crown done. It kept my hair out of my eyes during the sweaty yoga practice, and I felt so pretty I kept it in all day.  Today's yoga practice really worked on our arms, which I am definitely going to feel tomorrow.

On to Week Four!  Hopefully I won't feel so pitiful this week.

xx, C.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 2

Brand new Mizuno Wave Rider 20s (also wearing my Lululemon Final Lap shorts)

Week Two of half marathon training in the books.  Here's what I got up to:

Monday: We drove back from Ottawa on Monday, but I was able to squeeze in a small yoga practice at home. Yoga for Relaxation, 20 Minute Beginners Home Stretch Routine - Pain Relief Flexibility How to Relax was just what I needed after spending most of the day in the car.

Tuesday: I biked to and from work, for a whopping 3.4 km. Clem and I ended up going to the theatre at the last minute, so I skipped the track workout I was going to do with NTRC.

Wednesday: Biked a total 8.3 km in four segments (to and from work, to and from CityPlace). Ran with Tribe, and ended up at The Rec Room for some drinks. This was my first run with new shoes that I got on Monday from Black Toe Running, and if I can manage my time right I'll do a separate post about the shoes and my first impressions. [5 km | 29:26 | 5:53/km]

Thursday: Got home from work and busted out a slow 7 km up through the Annex, ending in Harbord Village on my way to the grocery store (two birds with one stone, am I right??). [7 km | 45:45 | 6:31/km]

Friday: I did the tiniest core/full body circuit workout known to man, which I got off Instagram from Ottawa-based personal trainer Mia St-Aubin.

Saturday: I slept waaaaaaay in and ended up doing a sweaty 5k in the middle of the day, a shorter version of the 7k route I did on Thursday. [5.3 km | 32:39 | 6:08/km]

Sunday: I was supposed to do a 10k, but I gave myself too little time and cut it short to 8k so I could make it to Tribe Yoga Jam on time.  It sprinkled during my run and during yoga, but the overcast weather was a nice change from the ultra sunny and humid runs I had on Thursday and Saturday. Once I grabbed my mat from home and raced down to Canoe Landing Park I settled in to an hour of outdoor yoga.  It's always awesome to stretch everything out after pounding the pavement, and I felt great after knowing I'd put in two workouts before noon. [8 km | 48:58 | 6:06/km]

On to Week Three!

xx, C.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Half Marathon Training: Week 1

Sunday at Champlain Lookout

Last week was my first week of training for the 2017 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, which I'm running for the second time at the end of October.  I finished the race last year with a time of 2:15:09, and this year I'd really like to get myself under that 2:15:00 threshold and as close to 2:10:00 as I can.

For training I am obviously going to be doing a lot of running with the different run crews Toronto has to offer.  I'm also going to cross train at least once a week, and do yoga at least once a week (even if it's just a few quick poses before bed).  I'm going to try not to pressure myself too hard - I will put in the work, and if I really need an extra rest day, I will take it.

Here's what I got up to this first week:

Monday: Lululemon Run Crew (Mondays at 6 pm, 318 Queen St. W).  We did a speedy loop up through Chinatown to Harbord, and back down through Kensington to Queen.  It was a lot hotter than I expected, but it felt awesome to get my legs moving after taking a week off from running following the Toronto Waterfront 10k. [3.86 km | 23:00.01 | 5:58/km]

Tuesday: Pilates Butt Burner Full 30 minute workout - eFit30. I pulled this YouTube workout from my Pinterest (probably where most of my at-home workouts will come from - I am really bad about pinning things and then never doing them, so now is my chance to work through my exercise board!). I want to strengthen my glutes so they can propel me better when I'm running, helping me go that much faster. This workout did a lot of work in the gluteus medius, which is a muscle that doesn't get worked through running alone, but when it is strong it helps stabilize the glute structure and can prevent injury (allegedly...I am by no means a professional). I found it hard to stabilize in the core in a lot of the movements, probably because my core muscles are so weak.

Wednesday: I biked to and from work, then to and from CityPlace, for a total of 10 km of urban biking for the day. I am slowly getting back into urban biking in Toronto on my beautiful but rickety 1974 Raleigh Sports.  In the evening I joined Tribe for their 5km Crew Run (Wednesdays at 7 pm, NW corner of Spadina and Fort York); we went up Portland to Queen, across to Strachan, and back down to Fleet Street and across Fort York Boulevard.  I really look forward to Wednesdays with this crew! [5.06 km | 28:07.9 | 5:34/km]7

Thursday: The 8-Minute Better Back Workout. I took much longer than eight minutes to move through the five poses, but it felt great to relax into them.

Friday: Off - I left work early and drove to Ottawa, which took us seven hours thanks to long weekend traffic.  All I wanted to do when I got to my parents' place was have a glass of wine and go to sleep, which is exactly what I did.

Saturday: Off - Canada Day! No formal exercise, but we walked around town pretty much all day. Ask my granny hips about it.

Sunday: Hiking in Gatineau Park.  We drove up to Pink Lake and started the loop counter-clockwise from the lookout rather than from the parking lot.  The 2.5 km loop took us a little over an hour and a half, with lots of stops to sit on rocks, chat, and look for frogs, fish, and turtles.  A nice easy hike on a beautiful day.  After finishing up at Pink Lake we drove up to the Champlain Lookout and went about 400 m down the loop beside the lookout before turning back to the car.  Then we went for ice cream at La Cigale in Old Chelsea, because I lead a balanced lifestyle.

Week One down!  It's gonna be a long, sweaty summer.

xx, C.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Caroline vs. The Best Laid Plans & The High Road

The Best Laid Plans & The High Road
(sidenote: WOW this has been sitting in my drafts for a while.  I'm trying to get back into writing regularly...please bear with me while I work through the backlog!)

Like a lot of Ottawans and other Canadians interested in political satire, I tuned into the CBC miniseries The Best Laid Plans when it aired in early 2014.  Unfortunately the show wasn't very successful and was not renewed for a second season, but the novel upon which it was based continues to be popular among politicos.  I actually met Terry Fallis while the miniseries was airing, and had him sign a couple books for me and Clem, and corresponded with him throughout the spring after DHL lost the books en route to Clem in Berlin, but it took me until this autumn to actually read his first two novels.  Canada geared up for a pretty important election that happened in October 2015, and I figured the record-breaking campaign would be as good a time as any to read some political satire based in my own home town.

Both novels are really partisan in favour of the Liberal Party of Canada, which might annoy readers of other political stripes, but I was too excited to read a book actually based in Ottawa with landmarks I grew up seeing all the time for it to really bother me.  Fallis has a quick wit, which translates well into the characters in the novels, and often had me giggling to myself on my morning commutes.  I am also a big, big fan of the way he brought feminism into the stories, which is something I haven't really seen in a lot of mainstream novels.  Women's rights are a crucial election issue, and I'm glad that came out in the two fictional elections Fallis writes about.

Here are some quotations that made me laugh and made me think:
"In the minds of the dock-lounging committee members, I was more than qualified to teach undergraduate English. After all, I knew my ABCs and had never been to prison." (The Best Laid Plans, xvi) 
"'A broken promise in politics? Stop the presses!' she quipped." (The Best Laid Plans, 6) 
"'Muriel, we're not in public school. I'm not going to pass you a note to give to her.' I feigned disinterest for as long as I could, which was about nine seconds, before turning towards her again. 'Okay, you got me. What do you mean you think she'd say yes if I asked her out? Has she been talking about me? If so, I need all the details just so I don't put my foot in the wrong place, like in my mouth.'" (The Best Laid Plans, 101) 
"'Scout's honour,' I replied. She burst out laughing because I'd raised my hand in the traditional Vulcan split-fingered greeting when invoking Baden-Powell's promise. What a guy. What a wit. I figured I should strike when my stock was high." (The Best Laid Plans, 136) 
"I hit send and shut down (the computer, I mean; I'd shut down personally two days earlier)." (The Best Laid Plans, 147) 
"'Hey hey, you dinnae make jokes about drugged drinks when the availability of Rohypnol and the incidence of date rape are both on the rise,' he thundered, shaking his head and looking as if bodily harm was in my immediate future." (The Best Laid Plans, 216) 
"'Aye, but societal change hasn't often come through polite and courteous discourse. That approach would simply take too long.... the emergence of various factions within the feminist constellation reflects a social movement that is maturin' and is confident enough to nurture divergent viewpoints. This is the natural evolution of social change.'" (The Best Laid Plans, 217) 
"Nothing calms bellicose belligerents like free food." (The Best Laid Plans, 285)
"Ottawa is one of the world's coldest capitals, and we're used to it now. The snow falls early, often, and heavy, yet slows the city rarely and barely.... Few Canadians are more relieved to reach their offices in the morning than Ottawa walkers." (The Best Laid Plans, 296) 
"I knew from childhood birthday parties that in moments of shock, or even hilarity, milk can actually pass from one's mouth up through the sinuses and project out the nostrils. I'd seen it myself and even experienced it once or twice. But I confess I had no idea that a chunk of Swedish meatball could make that same perilous journey." (The High Road, 22) 
"Why does everyone always assume Marin turned me into a feminist? I was at that particular rally of my own volition.' .... 'Okay, okay, I'm sorry. I just have never met a male feminist who got there on his own, particularly an engineer.'" (The High Road, 71) 
"He actually waved a copy of Marin Lee's book Home Economics and Free Labour to justify his claim that Angus had some sort of secret feminist agenda ready to unleash on an unsuspecting nation." (The High Road, 147) 
"'To my way of thinking, a feminist is anyone who believes that men and women should be equal. That men and women should have equal rights. That men and women should have equal access to opportunity. That men and women should be paid equally for work of equal value and should be equally free from the threat of violence. Being a feminist simply means believing in equality. Mr. Fox has said, and repeated with some vehemence, that he is no feminist. I should think by this definition that he is part of a very small and declining minority. Equality is not a radical idea. And equality should not be a distant goal.'" (The High Road, 147-148)
Have you read these two novels?  What did you think?  I'm hoping to dive into his other novels soon...

xx, C.