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Monday, August 1st – Update on my training

Hello Internet,

This is just a quick status post about how my training has been going since the onset of my runners’ knees a few weeks ago.

First off, let me mention that during these last two weeks, since I knew that my training would be less intensive because of my knees, I took the opportunity to switch to an extremely low-carb keto diet. Anybody who’s done a strict low-carb diet knows that the first few days are hard and exercise becomes torture… until it gets better.

So strict low-carb it was.

I stopped running for one whole week. I hit the gym two or three times that week and spent the time mostly on the elliptical, also did some steep uphill fast-walking on the treadmill. I know none of this is very exciting, but I just wanted to avoid losing cardio-fitness.

What else did I do?

Biking, lots of biking. The weather was nice and I wanted to get outside.

Added a velvet antler supplement with glucosamine to my diet, since I thought it might help my tendons.

Started taking tart-cherry juice (a quarter of a cup before bed – it’s fruit juice, so full of sugar and hard to fit in a low-carb diet, so I kept the portion to a minimum and made sure to eat nothing a few hours before or after taking it).

Some yoga and stretching.

New running shoes.

Bought two patellar tendon straps and I wear them during running – they’re giving me ugly tan lines on my knees, but who the f*** cares, they seem to help.

That’s about it. This week, I actually went running three times, including one 21km long run with both knees strapped. Considering I was in keto-mode and did not fuel at all before or during the run, I think it went pretty well. I was definitely not at my best, but I was happy when I got home that my knees were (relatively) okay. A bit stiff, but they didn’t hurt and I felt I could still run  on them. Running on keto is not easy, but I know that I’ll benefit from it. May lose some weight (I lost the predictable water-weight on the first few days, then my weight stayed dreadfully steady… I just stopped weighing myself the last few days since the numbers on the scale aren’t moving anymore). But weight loss is not the goal, it’s the fitness gain. You train your body in low-carb mode, and on the day of the race, you get the carbs back in and you feel like a superhero.

My eating plans for the rest of the summer are as follows: low-carb diet during the week, so this is for all my training on shorter distances. As for the long runs, I plan on doing one every two weeks with carbs in my system (this basically means a fruit smoothie for breakfast – gotta treat myself since I can’t have those the rest of the week -, a few spoonfuls of honey or maple syrup before the run and in my water bottle, and some sort of fuel during the run – I usually went with fig cookies in the past, but I’m thinking I might try actual running gels for those carbed-up long runs). But I still want to benefit from low-carb long-distance training, so one out of every two long runs will be done in keto mode with no carbs. Trying to get the best of both worlds here.

Today’s a public holiday and I’m about to go out on a 8km weekday run.



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Bummer, Runner’s Knee

The last few weeks training have not been so good. My knees have started acting up. Not the first time I’ve had runner’s knee, but the first time this year.

At first, they didn’t hurt much, they were just a little sensitive. So I decided to take it easy, run only every other day… but then, I went on a long run and they gave in. I finished walking  limping with hurt knees (both of them).

Took my first ice bath… gotta say I wasn’t expecting to like it, but I loved it.

I often take cold showers and they are tough to withstand. I try to stay a whole two minutes under cold water in the shower, and it’s two minutes of constantly feeling the running cold water and it’s not easy. With the ice bath, I was pleasantly surprised to not feel the cold much after an initial 5 or 10 seconds. I followed advice found on the web and went in drinking a hot tea with a towel on my shoulders to warm my upper body, only submerging my lower body in the ice water, and it was very withstandable… even pleasant. Stayed in for over 5 minutes.

Bought new running shoes, thinking I may have gotten too much wear out of my last pair and this could be one of the causes of my knee pain.

And have decided to take a whole two weeks off of running. Instead, I’m climbing hills on my bike (no choice, where I live!)  and going to the gym and giving the elliptical and stationary bike a whirl.

But it’s depressing to not be able to run without pain. I really hope it subsides soon.

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2016 Ottawa Half-Marathon

In this post are some photos and links to videos of the awesome Ottawa 2016 half-marathon. Continue reading

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Monday, May 30, 2016

Wow, I haven’t written anything in the last few weeks. I have to say that I had a really late start to my training, since temperatures were really crappy in April and the beginning of May. There was still snow and ice on the ground at the end of April and temperatures weren’t going much over 10 degrees celsius in mid-May. It was a really cold spring and I wasn’t running as much as I wanted to.

But training did progress.

Two weeks ago, after what seemed like just a regular good 8km run, I got an email from telling me I had beat my “fastest average pace”. Which meant that I beat none of my speed records for distances shorter than 8km, but that I had maintained a good pace throughout without taking walking breaks. And I was surprised the next day to again break that record from the previous day (I ran just a few seconds faster overall).

What this tells me is that years of training is making my body progress. I’m actually running faster now at near 200lb than I ran three years ago 40lb lighter.

Yesterday was the Ottawa Race Weekend. I took part in the half-marathon. I’ll write a separate post on that, but I’ll just mention that I had a performance that was WAY beyond my expectations.

Since my training has been so short, I actually only ran one 20km run before the half-marathon, and that was the Wednesday just before the Sunday race. I ran those 20km in 3+ hours, walking most of the distance after 18km.  I was out of town the weekend prior visiting relatives and didn’t get a chance to do a long run that weekend, and I knew it was important to get at least one long threshold 20km+ run in my training before the half-marathon. Hence the Wednesday long run… just before going to work.

Temperature were really hot and humid on the day of the race, reaching over 30 degrees celsius mid-day.

Before the race, I told my boyfriend (so he’d know what time to wait for me at the finish line) that I was aiming to run it in 2 hours 30 minutes, but that that was pretty optimistic and unlikely, and that a time of near 3 hours was more realistic.

Yesterday, I PRed in all the following distances: 5km, 3miles, 10km, half-marathon, plus I beat that “fastest average pace” record set in the weeks beforehand. I still can’t believe it and am wondering what happened!!

I ran the half-marathon in 2:27. My previous record was 2:33 (set 3 years prior when I was about 40lb lighter).

Overview of the 2016 Ottawa Half-Marathon to come!


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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I haven’t posted since last week, so this post is going to be a summary of my training for the last few days.

Yesterday, I ran 6km. Today, I ran 8km. Is it getting easier? Maybe, a little. It’s still tougher to run then I’d like it to be. I am trying to take it easy, take lots of walking breaks, telling myself that I’m easing into my training. But at the same time, I’m thinking that some good old fashion high-intensity workouts would do me good and force my body to adapt. That’s what I did to get fitness back after taking a break from training during a vacation a few weeks before my marathon last year. One week of crazy-high-intensity workouts. It was tough but worked; I gained back a good deal of fitness I had lost during a three-week vacation break.

I haven’t swam this week and I doubt I’ll be able to get a swim session in my schedule. Maybe over the weekend, but it’s a big “maybe”.

So, writing this post is pushing me to plan a good old-fashion high-intensity torture running session for tomorrow.

Below is a picture of some ducks crossing my path I took during one of my numerous walking breaks during today’s session.



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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Yesterday, I went for my first outside run this year. 6km. It was tough, really tough. More should be written about the difference between running on a treadmill and running outside, because though I had been running on a treadmill several times a week for the last few months, it felt like I had not been running at all.

I remember the same thing happening last year in my first runs transitioning from the treadmill to the street. All I know is it gets better, so I’ll tough it out, continue running and think about New York coming up in a few months. Running season has just kicked in for me.

Speaking of New York. I got an email to chose my baggage and transportation options for the NYC Marathon this week. For the baggage option, I opted for the poncho (instead of checking-in a bag) and for the transportation to the start-line, I’ll be taking a bus from Midtown Manhattan. The ferry sounded like fun, but we’ll be staying at a hotel literally two streets away from the NYC Library (where the buses depart), so it seemed so much easier to just take a bus (instead of the subway, to the ferry, then another bus).

As for swimming… I went swimming last Thursday. Lets just say that after spending a whole week on vacation in Mexico swimming every single day, I was struggling a lot less than the week before. My comfort in the water improved drastically and a good stroke comes to me much more naturally. Still lots of room for improvement, but I see the improvement coming along.


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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

¡Hola! ¿Como estas?

I’m back from a week spent as a tourist on the Mayan Riviera in Mexico. It was a perfect vacation and now I’m tanned and back in my snowy hometown (snow mid-April?!? Arghh…)

I’m thinking of my half-marathon coming up in six weeks (Ottawa Half-Marathon on May 29, 2016).

With the snow and the cold weather, I still haven’t gone outside to run. I raise my hat very high to anybody who lives around here and manages to run a full marathon in six weeks. That means that either a) they did a huge chunk of their training in crappy weather (slushy snow, dirty streets, freezing rain… ) or b) they spent crazy long hours on a treadmill to avoid the crappy weather.

I’ve done neither. I’m counting on the weather getting better soon to allow me to get a few long runs in before the half-marathon. But truth is, I see this half-marathon as a way to kick-start my training for this summer (for the full marathon in the fall!!).

I admit I didn’t run at all during my holiday. I was with my spouse and he doesn’t run. We spent all our time together and leaving him for hours to train or run would have been inconsiderate. Instead, we did a ton of swimming and snorkeling. The snorkeling was great, I love swimming with fish.

Yesterday, I did my first workout since coming back in the fitness room in the office building where I work (treadmill, stationary bike). I did an abs workout a few minutes ago and plan on doing another cardio workout this afternoon in the fitness room.




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March 31, 2016

After a whole day yesterday doing my best to fight an upcoming flu, today I’m a little better.

Yesterday, I spent most of the day lying on the couch with a fever, dressed in a winter scarf, hat on my head and big wool blanket because I felt like I was freezing. Didn’t workout and called in sick at work. I got up every hour to drink two whole big glasses of water, tried the “megadose of vitamin C” thing, even though the jury’s out on whether it’ll actually help (I figured it wouldn’t hurt).

Today, like I said, I’m a little better. The fever is gone. I have an ongoing headache, so I’m taking aspirin and acetaminophen. I sometimes have a deep cough, but it’s not very frequent. I’m thinking I might have actually beat this thing before it even started. We’ll see.

I’m leaving on vacation in two days and would love for this virus to be completely out of my system by then. We’ll see…

Today will be a packing day, cleaning up the house, and I’ll try to get to work tonight (TBC).

As for the weather, it’s pouring outside. Rainy spring day.


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March 30, 2016

Ugh, I’m starting to get a cold today.

I know that when I get those very first symptoms… you know, just a barely scratchy throat, headache, feeling cold, all-over-muscle-soreness  (pesky virus trying to get into my muscles!), it’s still possible to fight it off and avoid being sick.

Today is a battle.

Lots, lots, lots of water, some orange juice, took all my vitamins this morning, eating yummy homemade miso soup I had in the freezer for lunch, a hot bath, honey in my coffee and tea… I am going to slay that virus and stop it in its track!

Wish me luck.

ps. No real workout planned for today. Rest it is.


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Upcoming Half-Marathon

I had almost forgot about it, but today I received an email newsletter from Run Ottawa about my upcoming participation in the Tamarack Ottawa Half-Marathon on May 29, 2016. Just 60 days left!

In my running career, I’ve done marathons, but this is actually going to be my first half-marathon race.

I see it as a way to kick-start my training and herald in the summer.

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