Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A 3-Hour Tour

After breakfast today we packed a lunch, filled up the water bottles with ice and water,  and set off on the bicycles to do a tour.

We did have a couple of different maps of trails in the various municipalites in this general area we call Victoria... and we started out well... but my goodness, some of these trail interchanges are not marked at all and we ended up doubling back a couple of times to look for routes we should have taken. (And yet, in other areas, the signs are abundant and in places you wouldn't really need them... who decides these things?  Not the user, surely.)

But it didn't matter... the point was just to go for a nice long bike ride...

We cycled on paved paths that wound through parklands farmlands, and suburbs, and on narrow gravel trails through wooded areas adjacent to a small river.  And we rode on some suburban streets and across wooden tressles that used to be rail beds.

It was wonderful!

We rode across this bridge...

And looked down to an alternate crossing. 

We did 3 hours and 15 minutes of nearly continuous riding with only a 5 minute break to take these pictures, and further along, a 10 minute break to eat our lunches.

My quads were pretty tired by the time we got back so I made sure to drink lots of water and s - t - r - e - t - c - h .

I think that this cycling is making my legs stronger and will help prepare me for longer runs.

Does that make sense?  Any thoughts or advice about that?

This afternoon I have mapped a 6-mile run for me to do tomorrow morning, around the neighborhood, while The Captain is away doing the cleanup as his varnishing project is complete.

I am nervous about it, but pretty excited, too.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Virtual 5 km Race and Picking Berries

Last night I was looking on the web for a virtual 5km race that I could take part in today, but couldn't find anything specific. I ended on on the Spark People site and signed up to do my own virtual 5km race during this calendar week.

So, today after The Captain left to do work more on his boat varnishing project, I checked my route on classic map my run.. then laced up my Sauconys and off I went.

The route I chose is a 5.0 km route around this hilly neighborhood, that I have run a few times in the past, so just to change things up a bit, I decided to do it in reverse.  That left me a short steep hill at the end, but I thought that would be better than having that steep decline at the start.

I started out pretty speedy for me, I thought, and was enjoying the lovely morning and thinking about my Chi Running technique... checking my stride or my arms or my feet every few minutes.  It felt very odd running my route in the wrong direction.

I seem to have developed the bad habit of licking my bottom lip when I run.  I am a mouth breather and so run with my mouth open, the biggest smile you can imagine across my face... but that does stretch my bottom lip a bit and I guess it must get dry.  I have caught myself licking it occasionally and it is quite annoying to me.

The last 1 km of this route is a not-so-gentle uphill ... note to self... get out the Chi Running book and see if Danny Dreyer has anything to say about running uphill!  I would normally just shorten my stride and sorta run on the balls of my feet up this hill, so I did that, and went for broke!

Then I hit the short and steep little dirt trail that allows me to cut through a greenbelt area and get to the end of my route.  Whew!

All done and it was 36.5 minutes.  Not a PR but not a bad time at all for me in this hilly area and what I was really the most pleased about, is that I did it with no walk break at all.

W3 R36.5 W3
stretch 5 minutes

When I got back to the house, I enjoyed a glass of chocolate milk, and then a banana, while I stretched and cooled down.  Sara is right, chocolate milk is a great after a run.  Normally I would make a smoothie so this was just a smoothie with the banana on the side!

After I bathed and changed my clothes, The Captain arrived back from his work on the boat.  We had lunch and while we were eating, I spotted this brown bunny outside in the yard.  I took this pic through the window so I didn't scare him off....

And then after lunch we went for a walk to pick some blackberries.

The berry patch we chose today is about a 20-minute walk from the house and along a path we biked on Saturday.  Everyone is raving about the abundance of the berries this year... I guess there has to be some benefit from that wet Spring we had here.

It didn't take long to fill up both our 1-pint containers.  Why is it that the biggest berries grow just out of reach?

Do you pick berries?

How do you like to eat them?
Sometimes right off the vine is the best!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Healthy Portable Power Bars

Today I posted my friend's recipe for these Healthy Power Bars on my food/recipe blog,

They are full of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, oats and slightly sweetened with honey and brown sugar.  I don't normally have all these ingredients on hand so took the opportunity to visit the bulk food section in my favorite local market.

The are very portable and I have been enjoying one lately after I run.  I keep them in the freezer and just take one out to thaw before I head out.

Hope you like them too!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Saturday Busyness

The day started out just as the past few Saturdays have....

I do so love blackberry season.

And this morning there was a special treat waiting for me in the breakfast nook...

These hibiscus blossoms must have opened during the night!

After breakfast we got out the bikes and set out for a ride on some new-found trails that join up with one of our favorites... so we rode till it ended in a park on a small, beautiful seaside cove... shell and rock beach and just gorgeous.

We covered some mighty hills, and I was so glad to have such low gears on this bike I am riding.  And I have to say, I discovered some muscles, too... just above my glutes and I certainly put them to good use, powering up the hills!

We rode an hour and 40 minutes, total, and my legs were wobbly by the time we got back so  I did a few good stretches and then made a smoothie with the last of the blackberries and part of a banana.

I spent the better part of the day doing food prep for a lunch we are hosting tomorrow... the next door neighbors here are the folks we have been house/kitty sitting for, these past 2 winters.  We have invited them to lunch and I am going all out on the food - really like these folks and I want it to be special for them.

Finally done at about 3:30 p.m.... so decided to do a strength workout before I headed to the tub for a bubble bath.

I got out my 8 lb dumbbells and did about 20 minutes of upper body/arm/core work.

10 each of:
  • bicep curls
  • tricep kickbacks
  • overhead raises
  • lateral raises
  • upright rows
  • delt raises
15 pushups

Repeated that a second time, then:
  • 20 bicycle crunches
  • laying quad lifts, 30 per leg
  • 20 reverse curls
  • 20 bridges
  • side planks, 15 seconds per side
  • full plank, 45 seconds
A huge glass of water... and off I go to soak.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

August Goal #2 √

This morning we got up very early and had breakfast and by 8:00 a.m. we were in the car and headed downtown to take care of my second August running goal.

During Victoria Marathon weekend, there is a 8km road race.  It is an out-and-back that starts downtown on the Inner Harbour at a ferry terminal, winds its way through a trendy highrise neighborhood, and eventually flanks the waterfront along the Strait of Juan De Fuca, which is the border between Canada and America.

I wanted to run that route.  And that was my #2 running goal for this month.   Yesterday I gave The Captain a choice... we could run it today or we could run it next Tuesday.  He chose today.

I didn't want to fight for a parking space downtown so we agreed to leave the car at the turnaround point, and run the route backwards.  That would mean running uphill the last 2 km but it's not severe and really not very far.

I carried a bottle of water for us to share and off we went... we decided not to run on the road, which, of course, is the actual race route, but on a paved path nearby.  It meanders a bit and the first kilometer is through an off-leash area and it is always fun for me to meet and greet the pooches that are out running and playing with each other.

I was happy that there was no wind today.  Somtimes it howls so strongly up the Strait that is is hard to walk against.  But it was a beautiful, sunny morning and just the right conditions for a run.  There was a cruise ship in port, and such a nice day for the tourists to be out wandering around, too.

I was practising my Chi Running technique and it is beginning to come more naturally to me.  I was able to talk to The Captain as we ran along together, and only occasionally mentally check my form.  It was supposed to be a s-l-o-w run but for the most part my heart rate was over 85% of my max as it just seemed so easy to keep that pace and I felt like I was just gliding.  I am sure that the shorter stride I am using with the Chi Runnning technique is to thank for that.

It felt easy.  I didn't feel any fatigue in my legs at all as I wasn't overstriding, just coming down on my feet as I propelled myself along.  I could really feel that I was using my core and I think my lower abs were getting a workout too.

We did the first half in 32 minutes.  Then turned around and headed back.  It was a bit slower, even though I maintained the same heart rate, because it was uphill.  A gentle slope that I never really noticed in the car driving on the road, but definitely there and very noticeable as I travelled it on foot!

And then I remembered that I was carrying water and so grabbed the bottle out of my waist pack and handed it to The Captain to open.  I had been enjoying myself so much, and talking so much, I had forgotten to have a drink!  We did knock it back though, just as we finished running the last kilometer, back in the doggie park.

I mixed us a vanilla Gotein to share as we stretched and then we ate some fruit and an oatbar.  I was glad I had taken a change of shoes - some flipflops, and a towel.  Being sweaty while running is great... aftwerward, not so much.  The Captain was smart enough to take a clean Tee along and was thankful for that.

After my shower, back at the house, I mapped the route in more detail and see that we completed 8.2 km. 

W2 R68 W3
stretch 6 minutes

So now my August running goals are complete.  Will have to find something a bit more challenging for September.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I won, I won!

After lunch today The Captain left to go work on his varnishing projects and I baked up a batch of my friend's Healthy Power Bars... they turned out just great - will post the recipe soon.

When The Captain returned he didn't feel like heading off for a bike ride, so I got out my 8 lb dumbbells and did about 20 minutes of upper body/arm/core work.

10 each of:
  • bicep curls
  • tricep kickbacks
  • overhead raises
  • lateral raises
  • upright rows
  • delt raises
  • pushups
Repeated that a second time, then:
  • 20 bicycle crunches
  • laying quad lifts, 30 per leg
  • 20 reverse curls
  • 20 bridges
  • side planks, 15 seconds per side
  • full plank, 45 seconds
Not a lot but I can feel it, a few hours later and that is a good thing.  So, it's a start.

And finally...  On a very exciting note, I got a message from Jill this morning to let me know that I was one of the lucky winners in her Moeben sleeves giveaway!  I am so excited to be getting a pair of these gorgeous sleeves and that gives me even more incentive to keep working on the arms and shoulders.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

And Now... Practising Chi Running

After breakfast The Captain drove to the marina to work on his interior boat varnishing projects and I reviewed my Chi Walking technique because I wanted to use it during my morning run.

When I was ready, I set out on a familiar route, with so many things on my mind...

keep my head up and level
lead with my core, keeping my pelvis lifted and torso in C shape
make sure my feet are pointing straight ahead
keep my shoulders down
make sure I am not striding out too far

So many things to think about, and the time just flew by.  After about half an hour I realized I hadn't thought about a walk break, and unless doing a LSR, I normally do them in a run 9 minutes/walk 1 minute pattern.  I decided not to bother with them today, as I was on the home uphill stretch and wouldn't need one.

And I started to forget thinking all those technical thoughts, too, and just really enjoyed the last few minutes of my run. 

When I got back to the house I quickly downed a couple of glasses of water and then made a wonderful smoothie to enjoy while I stretched.

banana, soy milk, vanilla, Nutella

W3 R36 W4
4.65 km on Map My Run
stretch 5 minutes

The Captain is supposed to bring my 8 lb dumbbells with him when he returns today so will look forward to putting an upper body workout together...

Do you practise a particular running technique?

Do you drink milk?  Dairy? Soy? Almond? Rice?

And an update... several hours later, my legs feel great and no knee pain.  I think this is gonna be a conversion for me!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pracitising Chi Walking

Sunday was a great day!

We ate breakfast and then I packed a lunch to take along on our bike ride... we rode about 10 km along a trail that passes through suburbs, farmland, and forests.  Busy and beautiful day, but everyone we passed was really friendly... much more casual than the few miles we rode through the more urban areas a few days ago.

We enjoyed our lunches in the sunshine, sitting on the patio in the garden at Mattick's Farm Market, and then rode back, stopping to picks some blackberries along the way.  The riding took about 75 minutes altogether and my legs were not as tired as they were the first time we rode, a few days ago.

When we got back to the house I stretched my legs and then we did a bit of gardening.  So nice to have some flower beds to putter in and take care of for the time we are here.  The yard is quite spectacular.... blossoms everyhere.  Their son got married in the yard a couple of weeks ago and it is all in it's prime right now.

For dinner we BBQ'd some New York steaks and I tried out a new eggplant marinade.  I had The Captain grill the eggplant slices too and I was in food Heaven.  I loved them.  He was less enthusiastic, but that was okay cause I had the leftovers in a sandwich for lunch today.

This morning it rained.  I wasn't even sorry to see it as we really did need it.  We took the opportunity to run some errands in the car and then I did a short workout when we got back...  I need to seriously start working on my upper body and my core, I know I do.  But it is so easy not to.

In June I was able to do 20 pushups in a row.  Today I did 10. Sad but just proved to me how quickly upper body strength can go South.

My workout today:
10 pushups
laying quad raises, 11 per leg
bridges, 25
side planks, 30 seconds
straight arm plank, 45 seconds\

Pretty puny and short but that was it.

Then I put the Chi Walking DVD that I borrowed from the library into one of the laptops and watched a couple of chapters.  Very intriguing and it is going to take some practice to get it right.  I also borrowed the book and so will have that to refer to as I gain more experience with the technique.

To set up correct posture:
  • make sure feet are pointing forward and weight is evenly distributed along the foot
  • use one hand to lift upper body and the other to place chin
  • use one hand on back and one hand on tummy to level pelvis and engage core
  • use one hand to set alignment of torso by leaning into it

I also learned how to determine a correct stride length for myself and then how to walk, by lifting legs, letting the foot drop, and setting the foot down gently under my body... not pushing from the heel or toes. 

It is going to take some work and some practice, but I am determined it is worthwhile.

And tomorrow, The Captain is going to pick up my dumbbells from the boat - hurray.  Then I can start a proper upper body/core workout again.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Bakefest and Afternoon Run

I was afraid that my quads might be sore when I got up this morning from yesterday's bike ride, but they weren't.  Hurray!    I do so wish we had a place to keep bicycles cause I sure would like to have one all the time.  I had forgotten how much I like to ride.

To start the day off we enjoyed a re-run of last week's blackberry pancake breakfast...

I love the color of the blue batter in the bowl...

And in the pan...

But most especially on my plate!

While we ate breakfast I thought out loud about what route we should take on our morning run, and then The Captain announced that he wanted to work on some interior boat varnishing today.   He thought it might take a couple of hours and he would need a half hour travel time each way.  After a lot of discussion, we decided that he should go on back to the marina after breakfast and get it started,  and I would stay behind here and test a couple of recipes I have been wanting to try.

We could get out for our run later in the afternoon.

So, off he went in the car, and off I went into the kitchen.  I baked up a half batch of delicious skinny cranberry cinnamon muffins... the basis of which is a recipe one of my WW buddies shared with me.  Of course I had to eat one of those... and take pictures, and write it up for my food blog.  Then I also baked a nice low-sugar blackberry crisp, which I have managed not to taste so that we can have it for dessert tonight.  And I had to take pictures of that and write another blog entry... all very time consuming but fun.

At about 12:30 I called The Captain to see how things were coming along and mentioned a couple of items I wanted him to bring me from the boat.  It was odd talking to him on the phone - hardly ever do that anymore - and he told me he had made good progress on his work and would be back to the house in about half an hour.  He was just getting ready to lock up when I called.

All righty then!  I scrambled to get dressed and  I also washed my face,  combed my hair, and brushed my teeth.  Kind of silly really... I mean, what husband wouldn't be happy to come home in the afternoon to find his wife in her jammies, covered in flour dust, with messy bed hair and coffee breath?  I wasn't about to take the chance!

But, he did come in and say that the house smelled wonderful and so that earned him lots of brownie points.  I made his favorite udon noodles for lunch as a reward.

Later, we did get in that mid-afternoon run... it was 5.6 km and it was pretty slow but my excuse today is that it was hot out there... and we are now back in a hilly neighborhood!

W5 R46 W4
stretch 6 minutes

We did our stretch out in the back yard and our next-door kitties came by to visit and talk to us and rub up against my sweaty legs.   I shared a packet of strawberry Gotein with The Captain... too delicious, and he thought so too.

And my knee is not sore and I am happy.  I am planning a trail bike ride for tomorrow and I think I will pack us a lunch.

And I am going to look into doing some strength, core,  and upper body work while we are here. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Almost the Weekend

The move went smoothly... picked up some groceries, too and got settled nicely.  I have several new recipes I want to try out while we are here so I was eager to get the ingredients.  And The Captain was really  happy to fill up the freezer with his favorite frozen pizzas, cinnamon rolls and lean beef burgers.

A lovely surprise in our mail box on Thursday!

The Gotein that I recently won on Rachelle's giveaway arrived and I am so looking forward to trying it out after our morning run on Saturday.  Thanks again, Rachelle.

The lady of the house that we are staying in must love flowers as much as I do.  She left me several fresh arrangements to enjoy.  Here are 2 of them...

and this is a little peak at the breakfast patio just outside the above-sink kitchen window...  absolutely lovely.  The fountain on the left side of the table attracts lots of birds and butterflies.

It's going to be very fun staying here as we have been house and kitty sitting at the house next door for the past 2 winters... and so the kits came by to see us when they heard our voices out there yesterday... I think they are wondering why we are in the wrong yard!

Today I went to the Weight Watchers meeting that I normally attend in the winter and enjoyed meeting up with some old 'friends' and the leader.  It was a great meeting about putting together healthy meatless meals and I got a lot of good information from it. 

And then this afternoon, we went for a bike ride.  These folks have a pair of bicycles and helmets that they suggested we use at will... so off we went for about an hour.  We revisited a trail that we have run and walked a few times, and it was great to be part of the bike gang for a change.  Very busy spot on a lovely Friday summer afternoon and we really had to keep our wits about us... and we made sure to use our bells to warn people we were approaching from behind to pass them.  I wish more people would do that!

These bikes are great;  the low gears are very low which is nice for going up hills and athough I didn't think I was getting much of a workout, by the time we had ridden an hour - a 20 km out and back - my quads were like jelly.  Holy Shimano gears, Batman!  I was tired!

First fresh corn of the season tonight and it was wonderful... so glad I bought enough for tomorrow too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

No Workout for Me Today

No workout for me today, unless you call packing a workout... perhaps...

We are moving off the boat early tomorrow morning for a month-long house sit in the City.  I am kind of excited about it - we will have a FREEZER there so that means different eats.  I can do some baking, too, and not worry about eating it all the same day!

Today I am obsessed with the blackberries we picked yesterday afternoon.

Stirred some into my morning oats as they cooked...

Aren't they pretty?

and then tossed a few more on the top with some yogurt.

And for lunch, I put a handful on top of my salad...

Mixed greens, onions, mushrooms, tuna, blackberries, with lemon poppyseed dressing.

So delicious and sweet.

A very big 'thanks' to Vanessa at Gourmet Runner for trying my Honey-Glazed Peaches and blogging about it... and also linking back to my food blog post.  So nice of you to do that and I am thrilled that you liked them.  Your pictures are beautiful. 

I found peaches and nectarines on sale so will be picking up some tomorrow after we get settled in our new temporary digs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Run, a Walk, and Fresh Berries

The day started out with a hearty, hot breakfast.  I love this carrot cake oatmeal and if you are someone who has oats every morning and would like to change them up a bit... try it.

Grated carrots and raisins, cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener...

Yogurt on top!

About an hour later we headed out for a run... no set destination or distance, just wanted to get out and test the knee.

It all went really well and I concentrated on the 'chi' technique and using my core and my large hip and leg muscles to propel myself, making sure to come down on the middle of my feet, rather than my heels... this is actually easier when running, than walkinng I think.

I recalled that I was practising 'chi' golf last year until that became a natural action - generating the power in my golf swing from my core.

I am beginning to have a better understanding of why it is so important to have a strong core and I will be concentrating more on this when setting more workout goals.

The run lasted 26-1/2 minutes and it turned out to be 3.75 km.  I thought we might get through it without a walking break, but did take one at the 14 minute mark.  Back at the boat, a good stretch and then a quick glass of skim milk and half a banana to help recover.

W2 R26.5 @14/1 W3
stretch 5 minutes

Late this afternoon we walked to town and back to pick up our mail, and we stopped on the way back to pick blackberries... and eat some too.  So delicious. 

An elderly lady riding her little scooter stopped while I was picking and told me I was lucky to be so tall.. she told The Captain that when she used to pick berries, she brought a cane with her cause the best, biggest berries were always out of reach.  The Captain offered his bowl of just-picked berries to her and she helped herself to a handful and gobbled them right up.  Then she took a few more, thanked him profusely and then drove away, with a wave back to us.

Very cute.

I think we have about 2 cups and I cannot wait to have some with my breakfast on Wednesday.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Walking, Microwave Muffins and Peaches

I got out for my usual 5 mile walk today... the knee was feeling good so I decided to go for it. 

These walks are not only part of my daily 'calorie burn' but something that I really enjoy doing.  I love that the folks in this small town are so friendly.  Everyone who passes by greets me with a happy 'Hello' or 'Good Morning'  and is willing to stop and let me pat their dogs!

I made an effort to do the Chi Walking Technique today... lean forward from the ankles; bring my feet up behind me and set them down with a mid-foot strike; walk from the hip, not the knees.  It was a real effort but I had my first pain-free 5 mile walk in 10 day so I do think there is something to it.  I probably looked like a dork but I don't care.  If you saw some of the 'silly walks' I see here, you wouldn't care either.  :)

I wandered into the local health food store, which I never do when The Captain is with me, and picked up some organic spelt flour for these little Microwave Muffins I am obsessed with lately.... and also some raisins, wheat bran, and gummie bears (for The Captain).  I use spelt cause I like it, but whole wheat or even white flour works too.

Tommow I am going on a hunt for peaches...  if you are a peach or a nectarine lover, you HAVE to try these Honey-Glazed Peaches that I posted on my food blog yesterday...  too delicious!

What are you eating lately that you cannot get your fill of?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Runner's Knee and Chi Running

The Captain picked blackberries on our walk yesterday afternoon, so this morning I washed them and had them waiting when he started making our Saturday morning pancakes today.

My plate, waiting for it's cake!

I love blackberries.  He mashes them and puts them in the batter, which makes it a lovely purple, and he always saves a few for the top of my cake.  They are so sweet!

Beauty!  Let me at it.

Just look at the color of that cake.

While I waited for my breakfast to settle I started reading about Runner's Knee.... the symptoms, the causes, the prevention, and most important to me right now... the treatment.

I learned a couple of things that are pertinent to me:

1. Women tend to suffer from it more than men because of the way we are built

2. It usually comes on over time and not immediately (so I won't blame my trail run any more)

3. It might be aggravated by striding out too far

4. It can be helped by keeping the body over the foot as it strikes the ground

5. It may be helped by strengthening the quad muscles and the outer hip muscles and the core

6. Ibuprofen and ice may help

The book I looked at, The Runners' Body, actually suggests side planks (Jill will like this), along with lying leg lifts and calf raising/lowering on a riser.

I have looked at some web sites that suggest curtsy lunges as well.

And the main thing... listen to your body.  If you have pain, don't do the things that cause the pain.  All righty then.  No more daily 5 mile walks, for the time being at least.

But my knee was not aching today, so armed with all of this informtion, I got dressed and laced up my running shoes and off I went... promising The Captain I would quit if I felt any pain and that I wouldn't go more than 3 km. 

I ran the 3km route in the opposite direction today, just for a change of pace.  Interesting how different the neighborhood appears on a Saturday... people in their yards, more traffic on the streets.

I loped along and started thinking about the Chi Running technique that I learned a few years ago... lean forward from the ankles so that the foot comes up behind you and you are not striding out... oh yeah.  That feels good. So much less impact. 

I continued on thinking about that and before I knew it, I was back at the marina and hadn't even done my usual 1-minute walk break after 9 minutes of running. 

I did a really good stretch, making sure to stretch my quads too (still working on that flat-footed squat without holding on - cannot do it yet) and did some standing leg lifts afterwards.

W2 R19.5 W3
stretch 6 minutes

Then I came in and drank some water, cleaned up and ...  green smoothie anyone?

Banana, vanilla Almond Breeze, spinach, Splenda.

A couple of hours later, I am still feeling good.  And I am going to re-read Chi Running to brush up on the technique.

Have you ever experienced Runner's Knee?

Any advice for me?

Have you tried the Chi Running technique?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Little Update about my Little Run

I have been whining about a sore knee since my 10 km trail run last Thursday.  And I was especially bummed because I finally bought some new running shoes on Saturday and couldn't wait to try them out.

I have had them on and off about 15 times.  I walked about an hour and a half in them yesterday... and my knee felt normal.   So, I knew there would be a run in my day today.

What I didn't know was that The Captain would want to go out and "get it over with"  (can you imagine he actually SAID that?) before breakfast this morning as he had other things to do and didn't want to wait for his breakfast to digest before we went out for a little run.

Okay then... awake and up for almost 5 minutes before I started getting dressed, eating half a banana and downing half a cup of cofee... I stopped after we got off the boat to check to make sure I did indeed have all my clothing on and off we went!

3 fairly speedy kilometers and it was all over with in 19 minutes flat.

W2 R19 @9/1 W3
stretch 6 minutes

Hurray!  My knee was good; I was happy and extremely hungry, and so in we came and ate breakfast, even before showers!  A long walk late this afternoon and things are still good.

I am so thrilled to be back amongst the running again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Thinking about Hills

I am lucky to live and run, most of the year, at sea level.  The roads and trails around here are pretty level and easy.

Next week we are going back to the City for a month-long house-sit and I am already mapping out the flattest runs I can find in the very hilly neighborhood we are staying in. 

I found this in a local newspaper article....

Eight quotes to get you up the hill:

1. "If the hill has its own name, then it's probably a pretty tough hill."
     - Marty Stern

2. "Running hills breaks up your rhythm and forces your muscles to adapt to different stresses. The result? You become a stronger runner."

     - Eamonn Coughlin

3. "Hills are speedwork in disguise."

     - Frank Shorter

4. "Love hills and they will love you back."

     - Author unknown

5. "You can never run a hill too hard; you will collapse before hurting it."

     - Adam Born

6. "It's easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top."
     - Henry Ward Beecher

7. "I've always found it effective to make a move just before the crest of a hill. You get away just a little and you're gone before your opponent gets over the top."

     - John Treacy

8. "It's a hill. Get over it."

Do you hate hills or do you just take them in stride?

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Berry Time!

A long walk today to test out my right knee... still hurts a bit but not as much as yesterday.  It seems to be under my kneecap.

The Captain picked me about a cup of blackberries... hurray!  Love berry season.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Farmer's Market and the Quest for New Running Shoes

On Friday morning I got up and walked myself to my Weight Watchers meeting to do my  August weigh in .  I was thrilled to find that I had lost .6 pound... I was sure I had gained.  All this running and walking is allowing me to eat more, it appears.  I have been HUNGRY lately, and not making the best of choices.

I took my breakfast along to eat at the meeting after I weighed...

A bowlful of blueberries and nectarines with On Track high protein cereal, and a bit of unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze...   it probably seems odd to sit and eat during a WW meeing, but it is a morning session and lots of us do it.

The meeting topic was  Food as Fuel which is very timely for me right now.  This is a subject I have been thinking and reading lots about lately.  I am reading a book called Performance Nutrition for Runners

The Captain and I walked downtown and back after lunch and my legs felt good... I had had a bit of cramping in my left calf during the night after my trail run on Thursday, but all the walking I did Friday seemed to help.

Saturday morning we had our usual pancake and egg breakfast before heading off to the Farmer's Market at the fair grounds.

These baskets always intrigue me.  I imagine myself walking to town to do my shopping with a basket instead of cloth bags....  someday, maybe.  But I did score some lovely green and yellow zukes, and some huge blueberries.

Then we headed into the City and decided to have a shopping day...  picked up some more veggies at an out of the way market stall... had some lunch... found an awesome buy on some Land's End shorts and jeans for The Captain, and then started looking for some new running shoes for me.

Buy new running shoes always strikes a little fear into me... I don't buy them all that often and although I know about cushioning, motion control and stability... not every shoe shop has knowledgable staff or has their shoes 'marked' by type. 

We went into a Running Room first... where they do sort by type, and stock the latest models, but I find the whole atmosphere quite intimidating... okay off to a local running outfitter called Peninsula Runners.  They had lots of neon shoes, and an uninterested fellow, all alone in the store, texting... hmmm... okay then. 

Next, we went into a Champs in a mall.  I picked up a shoe off the wall that I kind of liked the look of, took it to a clerk and asked if it was a running shoe.  He said 'yes'... so I pressed him... ' a RUNNING running shoe?' and he said 'no'.  Very helpful I thought, and off we went.

Finally... we found a SportMart, a chain where I have found aerobics shoes and running shoes in the past, but have never shopped at this particular location before.  I looked at the wall of shoes, and a young man came over to talk to me.  He started asking me some pertinent questions so I told him how far I run, how often, and we talked about my foot, my arch, my neutral footstrike, and I was perking up because he was talking like he knew what he was saying and was actually interested in it... we talked about shoes I had liked in the past and some I didn't and he told me why I likely didn't like them... and he suggested a few for me to try on... I came away with 2 pairs of Saucony shoes... and I am so happy!  And  they look good too... black and silver.

Now I have to say that I have developed a little twinge near my right knee cap... and it followed me throughout the day on Saturday... I am going to wait a couple more days to try out the new shoes, just in case it is a real injury.  Don't want to aggravate it by running on it...  but I am so excited about the new shoes I really don't want to wait.... but I will.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Elk Lake 10 km Trail Run √

I was so excited to get the day rolling as I knew we were going to drive to Elk Lake Park to run the 10km trail that circles Elk and Beaver Lakes.  It is a well used area for many different recreational activites. The Canadian Olympic athletes train for their rowing events here;  there is a large equestrian centre; there is a pond for training retrievers; there is boat launch for small fishing vessels; and it has a few different beaches for swimming as well.

I made us a filling, hearty breakfast of eggs and toast with almond butter, and packed us a lunch and lots of water... and off we went.

There are several access points to the trail and The Captain chose an area called Hamsterly Beach as our starting point.  He thought the trail that we would cover initially, by starting there, would be the hardest part, physically, and wanted to run it while we were fresh.  It turned out to be a really good choice... the first couple of kilometers are flat and wide enough to easily pass by other people using the trail... then it gets rougher and narrower for a couple of kilometers.  I had to make sure to pick up my feet so as not to trip over any rocks or roots... and I did notice that someone has marked some of the larger roots with white paint.  Great idea.  It is also hilly and I was glad that we had not waited till the end to run this part of the route.

Then the trail widens again for most of the rest of the way and is actually pretty flat.  It was a lovely summer day and there were lots of people and dogs using the trail today.  And there were also many families and young day campers at the 2 different beaches that we ran past.  It was great to hear the children's happy laughter and squealing as we ran past them.

 I carried a half litre bottle of water, which we shared, and we managed to run the whole way without any walk breaks.  I ran faster where the trail was flatter and wider, and slower where it was rough and narrow.  It was hot, and dry and I had to keep wiping the sweat out of my eyes so they didn't sting from having my sunscreen drip into them!

It took us 84 minutes to run the 10km trail around the lakes.  It was hot. It was hard!  And I was tired!  And it was AWESOME!  I was so excited to have finally done this run.  And I know I am going to do it again.

After we were done stretching and drinking a litre of water and cooling down, we ditched our sweaty, wet running togs for some clean dry clothes and flip flops, and took our picnic lunch to a nearby golf course to relax and refuel... then we returned to the boat for hot showers and a relaxing afternoon.

W2 R84 W3
stretch 8 minutes

Ah, that feels so gooood!

I have never been so happy to be so tired!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Guidelines for Good Eating

I have just finished reading Running for Mortals, by John 'the Penguin' Bingham and his wife, 'Coach' Jenny Hadfield.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and just read it in about 2 sittings... it is not particularly new, but it has some really good information in it and one of the chapters that really hit home with me was about running and weight loss.

I have been watching my weight for years.... you would probably call me obsessive.  But aside from that little thing, I found this list of guidelines very helpful, and sensible. 

Maybe you will too...

From Running for Mortals
By John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield
  • Watch for empty calories that you mindlessly consume.
  • Be aware of portion size.
  • Start your day with a balanced breakfast.
  • Include healthy snacks throughout the day and between meals.
  • Watch for persistent low-level eating - popcorn at the movies, potato chips in front of the television.
  • Get the good foods in first.
  • Think of food as fuel.
  • Make sure you can see your food. (No hiding your broccoli under cheese sauce.)
  • Be aware of your fantasy food myths like these: broken cookies have no calories; it doesn't count if you eat it standing up. 
  • Figure out what triggers your desire for food.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Remember that every day is a day to start over.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

So.... Fogust...

In this area we have learned to call August by the term Fogust.  The nights are generally getting a bit cooler, so there is often a marine layer of fog over the straits that lasts until the warmth of the sun burns it off... depending on the temps, that can take several hours. 

It is beautiful to look at - not fun to sail through!  We have often had our travel plans delayed by Fogust mornings, and so you had best not be in a hurry when Fogust arrives.

Ferry from Friday Harour, WA

I have been thinking about setting running goals for the month of August.  Instead of mileage goals I am going to set goals to run specific routes this month.

This is a trail that loops around 2 small lakes.  It is fairly flat, but much of it is a rugged, narrow dirt path along the lake shore, and other parts of it are wide enough to allow horseback riding as well as walking/running, and biking.  We have walked it several times but I do want to run it. I have never done any trail running at all so this will be a challenge.

This out and back route along the shores of the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a windy, well used walkway that starts downtown on the Inner Harbour.   It passes through a busy, favorite off-leash area for local dog lovers, on the waterfront.  We have walked parts of it but have never run on it.  I am looking forward to becoming part of the local scenery when we do this run.

For the most part, I just want to get out and log as many fun runs as I can this month.  I am thoroughly enjoying all the running I have been doing, and am continuing to read and learn as much as I can.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Victoria, I am Learning to Appreciate You

We have been in this area on the sailboat for almost 10 years.  Wow!  I hadn't realized that until I just typed it... 

and I usually think that I really don't care for the City... the City being Victoria.  Oh yes, it is beautiful, geographically, but there are social problems evident on the streets there, and being situated on an island makes travelling more difficult.  My first thought is that we will be moving away if and when we decide to become landlubbers again.  (Our marina town is about 20 km north of the City.)

However, we have spent a lot of time in various parts of the City over the past couple of years... and the more time I spend there, the more I am beginning to appreciate what it has to offer.

There are the obvious things such as mild winters, incredibly beautiful vistas, good accessible health care, and clean air and good water.  Not necessarily in that order.  But lately I have come to really love the harbour, the great variety of walks/trails that go on and on for miles all over the regional district, and the beauty here - the parks, flowers, water views, mountains, sea life, beaches, proximity to the U.S. border,  and so on....  perhaps staying wouldn't be so bad?

Today after breakfast, I packed us a picnic lunch, and then we drove in to the City and parked at one of the local police station lots near easy access to one of our favorite trails.  We walked about an hour at a very brisk clip along a paved pathway.  It was busy today with bikers and walkers and runners at it is a civic holiday here.  This trail snakes through urban/commercial areas, across old train tressel bridges and past newly developped townhouses in newly trendy and formerly industrial neighborhoods.... the blackberries are getting ripe and The Captain picked me a few. We stopped when we got to the Inner Harbour... (the trail goes on for about another 40 miles). 

We found a nice bench to sit on while we ate our lunch and enjoyed all of the traffic that comes and goes in front of the world famous Empress Hotel... ferries, water taxis, sea planes, sail boats, power yachts (last week one of them was over 300 feet long), police cruisers, kayaks, canoes and fishing boats.

Water taxi

Float home village in front of Coast Hotel

Then we walked back, picked up the car and drove to my favorite freggie market.  There was a special sale on and I scored a few great bargains... yellow zukes, baby spinach, bananas, blueberries and some white mushrooms...

Then we drove up to the top of a local lookout on Mount Douglas where we wandered around the summit and revelled in the 360 degree view of the area.  Spectacular, and a great place to take your thermos of coffee and relax!

East over Haro Strait and San Juan Island to Mount Baker, WA

South over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains, in WA

Back on board, we thoroughly enjoyed hot showers off the transom of the boat and a nice rest before dinner.

Sorry, Victoria, time for me to start being your cheerleader.  I have been remiss.

7 Links...

Sara from Words to Run By tagged me a few days ago to take part in the 7 links post that has been floating around.  I have enjoyed reading the other blogger's posts but have had a tough time with my own... I haven't been blogging very long really, and don't think I have posts that qualify in all these categories... but I will try.

- Your most beautiful post

This one would have to have lots of nice pictures in it.  On Saturday, July 23rd we wandered around town for a couple of hours taking pics...

– Your most popular post

I was tagged by Nikki at Worth of My Sole for the Lovely Blogger Award, and on July 13th I revealed some random things about myself.

– Your most controversial post

This one is hard.  I don't think I have a controversial post.  No one has said I do and no one has left me a comment to indicate that I do.  I guess I am just not that kinda girl!  At least on this blog.

– Your most helpful post

One morning I had a bit of a realization that I don't have to run hard EVERY time I go out... and it seemed to resonate with some other people too, from the comments it got.

– A post whose success surprised you

Oh this is easy...  any post that garners comments surprises me.   :)

– A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

I think I was a bit disappointed that this post about Vitamin F (Friends) was a bust.

– The post that you are most proud of

Well, I would have to say, I haven't written it yet.  This blog is for fun and my food/recipe blog is more 'serious'...

I know I am supposed to nominate 5 others to do this 7 links recap on their blogs, but I think I will pass on that part as I am not sure who has/hasn't already taken part.


That is the number of kilometers I ran in July... I am thoroughly happy with that odd number.

I didn't set a July running goal and just made a plan to get out as much and as often as I could.  And I did and this is the most I have run in a month so far.

44.45 km in May

57.2 km in June

72.44 km in July


Sunday we did a speedy 5.25 km and used the 9/1 run/walk method.  We ran the first 2.4 km in 17 minutes which seemed very easy ... the last time we did it in 16.5 minutes and I was sucking air.  Can 30 seconds over that distance really make that much difference? 

This time the whole thing just seemed to be over with so quickly, and I actually forgot about the 3rd walk break and we didn't do it till I checked my watch after about 12 minutes.

W3 R39 @ 9/1 W3
stretch 5 minutes

Back on board, a new smoothie... banana, vanilla unsweetened Almond Breeze, and some canned mandarin oranges.  Mmmmm.

Will have to give August some serious thought.