Monday, December 24, 2012

Last one for the road

Yesterday, -2C but with 3 warm layers, it was actually pretty enjoyable. I had to do it, I needed it. Armed with the warrior attitude, I set foot on the road for another 2h long run, which slowly but surely is becoming my favorite distance. It's long enough to be challenging for both body and mind, yet not too long to be exhausting.

I ran the first 5k with hubbs, who is still nursing an ITB injury, but continued on my own afterwards, with the goal of reaching the Etobicoke trail and doing one or more loops around the Loafers' Lake or the adjacent open field that the city recently reshaped in fitness bootcamp and playground. For those curious to see what it means, here are some pictures of the contraptions they scattered around.

I didn't try any of them because well, they do look cold and uninviting to touch, but also because I was on a mission. Funny thing, if you look closely, you will notice that they are all branded "Paris". I wonder where that is coming from...

Running wise, I did pretty good me thinks, managed to run 18k, but got mad at my Garmin HRM strap that is becoming more and more a lying piece of  sh*t. Anyway, I think I am going to take DC Rainmaker's advice and buy myself a Polar WearLink strap and do a brain transplant with Garmin's ANT+ transmitter.

That's all folks! Over and out!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I need a break

Some days are better than others... So I am going to start with the highlight of this week, which was actually a week ago. My long run, thanks to an intermezzo in the non-stop rain programme, and this photo, which I hope shows how great it made me feel.

Then a new workweek started and every day the panic grew bigger and bigger until I totally broke down on Friday when I almost got in an accident, twice, and cried in the car with two of my coworkers. I seriously need a break.

I only managed to squeeze in my treadmill workout, which I failed again for skipping one of the intervals. Don't get me wrong, I am not too hard on myself because I do like a challenge and this is a perfect one. I know that I am pushing my body to the limit and I know I will be able to complete this workout one day, it's just that I'm not there yet. This is what it looks like:
Warm up 10 min. @6.0 mph
6.0 mph incline 2% = 2 min
7.0 mph 0 % = 2 min
6.0 mph 0% = 2 min
7.0 mph 4% =2 min
8.0 mph 0%= 1 min
6.0 mph 0% =1 min
7.0 mph 6% = 2min
8.0 mph 1 %= 1min
6.0 mph 0%=1 min
9.0 mph 0%= 1min
6.0 mph X 10 min cool down
Twice that I tried so far, I failed to run 1min at 8mph/1% incline after the 7mph/6% interval. Because I feel like passing out, I go to 6mph/0% for 2 minutes before doing the last sprint at 9mph. I'm working on it... everything shall come to those who know how to wait.

I will go for my 2h long run tomorrow if the weather cooperates, because there is no way that I'll be running that long on the treadmill. There are limits to my dedication, especially in weeks like these when my patience has run thin.

As to the bike workouts, skipped both of them. No time, no energy, nothing left in the mind to get me out of bed and into the gym at times when I could spend quality time with my family and friends instead. I did not regret at all, not this time. I spent one night playing board games with the boys, one day birthday partying with my older son, another night at a basketball game (Toronto Raptors beat Dallas Mavericks, yay!), one night having dinner with friends, and a day of shopping with my mom and felt great.

I also went to the pool twice, on Tuesday to coach hubbs, and on Thursday with the Falcons, and it was relaxing, rewarding and exactly what I needed - a mean to focus on something that required skill in order to push the stress out of my brain. Both times I slept like a baby afterwards, thank goodness, because the other nights were a nightmare, literally.

There isn't much more left to say, the fun times are almost here and I am going to enjoy this break because life is short and there is immense joy in celebrating those who matter the most. Fitness, getting back in tip top shape and PRs can wait.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Full gear ahead, with a touch of Instagram

I survived the week in the new workplace!! I also managed to do all my workouts this week, with a lot of "suck it up, buttercup" self-talk. Long days, lots of driving, but I don't feel too exhausted right now, so the amount must have been just right.

Last Saturday (yes, my blogging weeks start with the weekend) I went to my first spin class in almost a year. Because I went to bed pretty late the night before, I decided that the 9:15am class was going to be early enough. Drove to my regular gym and found this very cheerful crowd and the teacher who seemed to know all the people in the room, so she picked up on me right away and said "good luck, you're going to need it". Oh she knew what I was in for! 55 minutes later, I was drowning in a puddle of sweat, I had lost my voice and my legs were burning. So much fun, it hurt!

What I also loved was wearing my biking shoes for the first time ever in a spin class. What a difference hard soles make!

The rest of the day was a blur... so fast forward to the next day, a few folks from my tri club were going to meet in Inglewood (about 15min drive from home) for a hilly long run. I had never run there before, but I was familiar with the place for having driven there a few times to check out the local bike shop. That is actually where hubbs bought his bike and I bought my tri top as well. Anyway, despite going to bed really late again, I managed to leave the house on time. Alas the road looked really really wet and I didn't doubt that I was going to get drenched too.

But I had promised that I'd join the fun, so didn't want to bail out at the last minute. Once I arrived in Inglewood, only 2 other folks (and a dog) showed up though, so without thinking twice about the rain, off we went. It was damn challenging, so many hills, all I could tell myself was: "you signed up for Muskoka - 70.3 worth of hills, so shut up and keep moving". Thankfully, once we hit km 6, it was time to turn around, and I started feeling hopeful that I was going to make it back to the car after all.

The rain was falling on and off by then, roads were pretty wet, my shoes and clothes were too, but I wanted more. My workout needed to be 1h40 long, so I told my tri peeps goodbye and hopped on another trail to meet my quota. I finished the run pretty happy with my exploits even though I know that I embarrassed myself on those hills. Baby steps, baby steps.

Monday - Yoga. Nothing new to report there.
On Tuesday I needed to do the same treadmill killer workout as last week, so I went to the gym with my minimalist shoes. Tried to kill two birds with one stone, and the result was rather surprising. It took in average 5bpm LESS effort to move those feet. In the end, it didn't feel so criminal. It felt awesome! But this commuting + driving to the gym daily was starting to feel repetitive.

Indeed. On Wednesday, I went back again, this time for a bike workout. Foursquare +3 points bonus for going to the same gym 3 days in a row. Ouch. Wattage? Power intervals? Whaaaaat? I do not know how to do that... I started moving my feet, I had 10 minutes of warming up to figure it out. Thanks to Google, I found that Life Fitness bikes on Level 6 = 100 watts. Ok... so if I were to extrapolate, I needed to be on level 12 for my intervals. Oy! Decided to stay on level 4 when I wasn't pushing, and 11-12 for the rest, for a set that turned into a bunch of humps.

What you gon' do with all that junk?
All that junk inside your trunk?
I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely little lumps (Check it out)

I counted them - all eight of them, my lovely little lumps. I got culture, didn't you know?

Thursday I decided that it was time for a walk. Too beautiful outside, too much driving around, not enough fresh air. I went on a recon mission at lunch to find my way to the nearby trail, aka my new playground. It was wonderful. I took a bunch of pictures, listened to the birds, looked at the river and the few ponds around, said hi to the passerby's. The rest is history, in all its Instagram glory.

I drove back from work and out of the house again. I was so friggin' tired, I had to take a nap after dinner, secretly hoping that I wouldn't wake up. But hubbs makes a good alarm clock "Get up! Get out! It's pool time!". Oh well, here we go again... Drills, drills, more drills, drinking chlorine, foggy goggles, flippers, flip turns, pretending that I can make it 200m without drowning (barely, ok?).

And now here we are, it's FRIDAY!! REST DAY!! Blogging day, whatever... I am in a murderous mood for whatever reason, hormonal or not, so I am taking all my anger on the keyboard. Really, I feel like screaming out loud. Like really loud. I guess I just needed to get all this stuff out. I think I am feeling better already. Here, look at this croissant with me, it was my dinner, along with a herbal peppermint tea.

By the way, I sent it back to remove the mayo. It was pretty sexy for the photo, but that didn't need to make it inside my stomach with the extra calories. I think I am hungry again. Okay, time to go to bed, sleep cures everything. Tomorrow the cycle starts again.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Look, ma! I'm a celebrity!

Psst. Something happened this week. I got contacted by FitOrbit to be part of their Success Stories. Between Errin and I, this makes two for coach Dave. ;-)

If you ever thought of starting to work with a coach and you are on a budget, I definitely recommend FitOrbit. I am where I am thanks to having a coach myself, so I believe in the system.

You can read more about my weigh loss here.

Back to regular programming now. Did I tell you that I haz Twitter now (@IrinaSouiki)? Look on the right, you will see a widget with my latest tweets. Feel free to follow me on there if you want!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Zen Running

Did you ever have one of those moments when you felt that you reached the Zen state of mind while running? It happened to me a few weeks ago, I was so in tune with my body while running, I think it was towards the end of a 10k run - the feet quietly tapping the pavement, the arms swinging in perfect harmony, body gliding through the air, it felt so good that I had to take out my camera and immortalize it. I didn't know what it'd look like, I had never taken a video of myself while running, so apologies for the shaking, but I did watch this video a few times since and it manages to bring the same feelings back to into my mind, that of peace and happiness and freedom. I thought I'd share.

Here's the Runkeeper activity for (my own) reference.