Running defines me. I am always wife and Mum first but after family, running is my other true passion. It’s more than just exercise for me, yeah it keeps me fit, but it’s who I am. It challenges me to set goals and keep them in check, it makes me dig deep (deeper than I would like to go some days) and makes me feel like I can do anything. How’s that for passion?
Even though we may not all run for the same reason, I always love to hear about other runners. Earlier this week I was like a giddy schoolgirl when I found out that one of the members of my favourite bands ever, runs. According to a tweet by Nikki Sixx, (founder of Motley Crue), he “was off 4 a 2 mile run”. I am not sure whether he is a runner or if he just runs, there is a difference (passion), but it got me wondering what going for a run with Nikki Sixx would be like.
Not only is Nikki the bassist of Motley Crue and Sixx Am, he is also a photographer, author of the Heroin Diaries, host of the Sixx Sense radio show and is dating Kat Von D. This guy has lived LARGE and lived to tell about it. I bought a copy of the Heroin Diaries on my way to Vegas to read on the plane, I could not put the book down, I even took it to the pool with me, this book was more interesting than the pool on a Saturday afternoon in Vegas!
The stories that he could tell me on our run aside, I can’t help but speculate what Nikki would wear. I think that after his Theatre Of Pain days, he would be long over spandex, especially the black and white stripy kind, so I can only assume that he would wear a longer version of running shorts, and of course a tank, with some random saying, to show off all of his ink. Nikki has A LOT of hair, so most of my curiosity lies here; does he wear a hat…a headband…a pony? He would have to wear something, so I am going to go with a bandana, it would serve the purpose while still allowing him to be hardcore.
I am just going to throw this out there, Nikki, if for some strange and crazy reason you are reading this, and you are ever in Vancouver or next time I am in LA, if you want to up your distance or hill train, I would even be willing to jog, have your people call me. I promise that it wouldn’t be awkward or stalker like, we can talk life, love, music, art or just running.
Day 5 of running this week for me. They haven’t been huge distances but combined with my classes and activities, I was bound to hit the wall and I did. The wall came somewhere around the 30-minute mark, the only thing that got me past it was the thought of jumping off the floating bridge into Hayward Lake. Who am I kidding, the only reason that I ran this morning was so I could jump off the floating bridge and into Hayward Lake.
This swimming ritual has been going on for years now and is reserved only for early morning runs and of course our end of summer group run. We talk about the swimming ritual in the middle of winter when it is pouring with 2-degree rain as we run over the bridge, it’s what keeps us going sometimes.
This morning Conny and I lived our beer commercial life for the second time this week just after 8am, and it rocked! The water was refreshing and chilly enough to numb the aches and pains without turning my lips blue (which is a usual winter/spring occurrence). Conny lowers herself in where I am a diver, if I had to lower myself in it would probably take me 10 minutes to get in and it would be time to go, so I get it over in one swoop and spend the 10 minutes alternating between breast stroke and floating on my back admiring the lagoon.
I don’t enjoy getting out, there is nothing graceful about getting back up on the dock. There is a place to put your foot as you hoist yourself back up, but with every approach that I have tried (and there have been many) I end up sprawled out like a wet noodle on the side of the dock…perhaps I need longer legs or a really new approach.
Running in the same area for so long, you seem to run into the same people and dogs over and over again. This morning we ran into Charlotte, her friend, her Mom and her Mom’s friend. Charlotte is a beautiful weimaraner dog ( or as I like to call them weimar-heimar-schleinar dog), she is quite memorable, we were told her name once a long time ago and we have never forgotten it, but we have no idea what Charlotte’s Mom’s (human Mom) name is. We always get a kick out of Charlotte’s Mom and her friend, we always seem to be way more underdressed than they are, or maybe they are more overdressed than we are, either way it’s funny because we are in the same place but dressed for two completely different climates. This morning was no exception; you should have seen the look of surprise on Charlotte’s Mom’s face on hearing that we had just been swimming.
Feeling refreshed after our swim we were ready to go again, we got back on the trail and tackled the last three hills. I think that the swim was exactly what I needed because we finished the run with a negative split, 1:45 to spare. All runs were not created equal, but even with my tired legs this morning it didn’t matter…I love summer runs.
You have seen them out and about, in the malls and at the grocery store, toning shoes. They claim to tone muscles and improve weight loss and posture while you walk or stand (not recommended for running), and they don’t come cheaply either, prices range from $100-245.
Finally there is some ACE (American Council On Exercise) research that puts claims by the manufacturers of these ridiculous looking shoes to the test. According to the ACE study, a team of exercise scientists from the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin, designed two studies. In the first study researchers recruited 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 19 to 24 years to evaluate exercise responses to walking in traditional athletic shoes (a New Balance running shoe) versus the popular toning shoes. A second group of 12 physically active female volunteers, ages 21 to 27 years, was recruited for the second study, they performed a similar battery of five-minute treadmill trials rotating shoes at random.
”Across the board, none of the toning shoes showed statistically significant increases in either exercise response or muscle activation during any of the treadmill trials. There is simply no evidence to support the claims that these shoes will help wearers exercise more intensely, burn more calories or improve muscle strength and tone.”
I can’t say that I am shocked, I mean really, if you want to improve muscle tone and lose weight you have got to put in the work, cardio, squats, lunges and diet. There are no quick fixes. There were even concerns that long term wear of toning shoes could alter gait mechanics due to their instability. I for one am going to stick to my professionally fitted athletic shoes for the gym, and when I am looking for an unstable shoe to walk in, I am going bang for my buck and pulling out my 4 inch black stilettos.
3:40am wake up call this morning…gotta love race mornings! It doesn’t matter if I am getting up at that time to go on vacation or go to set up for a race, it never feels quite right until I am well into my second cup of kick ass coffee. It could have been worse (and it has been), it was warm and most importantly, it was dry! It also felt weird to be applying sunscreen and bug spray at 4:15am, but that was the kind of day it was going to be. With the truck loaded with the last minute things, we hit the road at 4:33am.
We arrived on top of Mount Seymour just after 5:30am, as promised the sun was shining and the bugs weren’t all that bad after all (as long as you were standing in the sun). Set-up went extremely smoothly and the music or noise pollution as an extremely grumpy (I am being very nice here) hiker called it, was pumping by 7:00am. I would like to give a dumbass shout out to the boneheads who thought that it would be funny to mess with the route markers…thank you to our pre-runners Kevin and Linda for pre-running the race routes and fixing it all up.
With no other hiccups, I got through my race director briefing without hacking up a lung and started the race on time. Congratulations to the 416 racers who came out to play this morning, a special congratulations to Stephanie Hamilton who broke her own Enduro course record, which she set last year! A huge thank-you to all of todays fabulous volunteers, we couldn’t have done it without you.
So who is up for a road trip? Next race is at Whistler on August 21st.
Had a fantastic morning at Mount Seymour with Marky and Kat marking the 5 Peaks Seymour race courses. The trails are in excellent condition…compared to previous years, very little mud. I do believe that this is the prettiest BC course, beautiful lakes, babbling brooks, fantastic views and a little bit of snow for those running the Enduro course.
Racer check in and race day registration ($50) is from 7:00-8:45am, arrive early to avoid the line-ups, the Children’s Challenge starts at 8:30am and the Sport and Enduro races start at 9:00am. The forecast is for sunny skies and warm temperatures, so don’t forget your sunscreen and yes, bring bug spray…
Your running partner is more than someone you run with. They see you at your worst (sweat, snot, spit and tears) and they see you at your best (when you are kicking their ass up the hill). They become your therapist, your partner in crime, your vault, your sounding board and friend. When you run with someone a couple of times a week and do it for several years (or like six or seven), when you miss three weeks and two days, even if it is for vacations (and a sinus issue), you feel like a part of your world is missing. This morning my world was re-balanced when I met Conny for our first early (still not sure why it had to be early, nobody worked this morning) morning summer trail run.
We shared vacation stories, caught up on the latest goings on and had plenty of time for banter, which we LOVE to have. This morning we decided that as fabulous as Conny is, she is gross one (really she is, I had to “la-la-la” her out), and I was the immature one (I am not going to apologize for thinking that fart sounds are funny…they are).
Looking forward to our run next week, the sun better be out, because I AM going in the lake.
I spent last week in beautiful Park City, Utah. I watched some World Series ball, shopped a little (and I mean a little, only purchases were a new pair of sunglasses which I had planned to buy and a bra…really that’s it), enjoyed some fine cuisine (especially when Tracy cooked a fantastic pasta dinner), got some sun and didn’t work out nearly as much as I should have or wanted to.
Due to “scheduling issues”, I missed the Tuesday evening Park City group trail run that I had been so looking forward to for weeks…shit happens. With my last full day rapidly approaching, I decided that I needed to get out and do something. As I was putting the lid on my Starbucks coffee, I looked up at the community bulletin board and there it was, Sprint To The Summit, a 12km trail race happening the very next day, it had to be fate. Registration was free, but you were required to bring a dish to share, sign me up! Now for those of you who have never visited Park City, it has a very impressive elevation of 7,000 ft /2,134 m (let me put this in perspective, elevation of Maple Ridge 49ft/15m, elevation of Whistler Peak 7152ft /2180m), the course description referenced a high point of 8,500m, holy crap, talk about altitude training for a sea level girl!
I carbed up, hydrated and probably stayed up a little too late on Friday night, like I said earlier, shit happens. I got up bright and early on Saturday morning and did my best to replicate my pre-race routine 1600km away from home. A little, ok a lot nervous, I arrived at the start line in Summit Park (notable resident: Ted Bundy), picked up my race bib and looked around at the competition…although there weren’t many there, those who were looked very hardcore…gulp. We had our race briefing, we were told that there was a small hill and then a big hill and that we should walk the big hill, there was also some talk of trail access roads etc, which really meant nothing to me, today I would follow and hope for the best. The race started and off I went, I rounded the corner to the small hill and found my heart in my throat, so less than 2 minutes into the race I was walking…omfg, what was I thinking when I signed up??? Ok, so I wasn’t alone, when I looked around there were others walking and when we got to the big hill it looked like the majority were walking, I think. I channeled my inner Daryl and focused on maintaining my heart rate, so I walked what I had to and ran what I could. The trails were great, a steady uphill, not too technical, and for the first 2/3 I felt pretty good, out of breath, but pretty good. I maintained my position behind three firefighters and in front of a lady wearing Canada socks. The last 1/3 of the ascent was too technical to run (even if I could breath), the higher we got the harder it was to breath, I literally had to slow to a snail’s pace to keep my legs moving, I felt like I was climbing through molasses. It was a crazy feeling, and I couldn’t wait to get to the summit. When I finally arrived at the top, I was greeted by a friendly fellow with a camera (I can only imagine what that picture must look like), I had a quick gulp or two of water and tried to take my own picture but wouldn’t you know it, my blackberry was locked out…crap.
1:07 into the race I started my descent…the views were absolutely breathtaking. The lady wearing Canada socks was now ahead of me, now that we were going down I was able to breath/talk and was able to find out that she was from Calgary but now lived in Park City, I also found out that she was two weeks away from Iron Man, so now she was my hero as well as my trail guide. We stayed together for most of the descent, that was until my bladder could no longer take it and I had to pull off. I don’t know why all of my race bathroom breaks seem to take place during “Rockstar”, nothing like Chad singing to you while you are squatting at the side of a trail! My Canadian friend had warned me about one last mean hill before the finish line; it had nothing on the others, but my legs were tired and I was ready to be done. At the top of the hill were my fireman friends, I tucked in one last time behind them, but I didn’t expect them to take a wrong turn. They knew the trails and told me that the one that they were on would get to the finish line or I could double back and connect with the course to the finish line, decisions…I decided to stick to the course so I doubled back. As this was a very small race, there was no MC so I was never quite sure how close I was to the start line. I had hoped to complete the course between 1:30-1:45, but with my wrong turn I was now just over 1:50. Tired and done, I had a near death stumble, I recovered less than gracefully but had to walk it just to make sure that everything was ok. As I looked up, I could see my cheering squad. Time to suck it up…I put on my best race face and picked up what little speed (more like a trot) I had left and crossed the finish line. Unofficial time, 1:54 and change, two leg scrapes (that’s why I always shave them before playing in the trails) and a nasty running short chafe….priceless! It took me a little longer than I had expected, but I was so happy that I had done it. I would like to thank the volunteers and race crew for putting on such a great event and to my new running friends for making me feel so welcome.
Summer kind of snuck up on us this year, we knew that sooner or later it had to happen, and it did, it just happened a whole lot later than I would have liked it to. Whatever, I am not going to argue, it’s here now and I couldn’t be happier. I love the heat, the hotter the better, I was not designed with cold, miserable weather in mind (so why do I live in Vancouver right?).
Exercise does get harder to do in the heat, but it should not be an excuse to stop altogether. Summer may not be a time to set any major weight loss or fitness goals, but when you work hard all year you should at least maintain during the summer. Like Christmas, summer tends to be a time when we over indulge, but instead of it lasting 10 days, it lasts 2 months, and you do it in minimal clothing. So why would you stop exercising? I understand why you may take Christmas off, the after effects can usually be dealt with in January, but taking 2 months off, it will take you until next spring, if you include your Christmas hiatus, to make up from your summer in margaritaville.
So how do you stay cool when the weather is hot? You will need to make a few changes to your current regiment starting with exercising earlier or later in the day. I went for an 8am run this morning and found it quite warm, next week I will be changing it to a 6:30am start (it is going to be painful, I am not an early morning girl, Conny cuts me a bit of slack, by the time we are finished I am back to my chatty self). Starting so early does have its advantages and the day seems so much longer. If an early morning start isn’t in the cards for you, try an evening run. The only problem that I have found with evening runs is smelling your neighbour’s dinner cooking on their barbecues! If you weren’t hungry when you started, you will be salivating by the time you are finished!
If you are exercising outdoors in the heat, you should be modifying your attire. Bring out the running shorts, you may even want to go with a short sports bra (not the dingy white one you wear under your t-shirts, it may be time to get something new…always an excuse to shop!). Don’t forget that running in a short sports bra is also an ab workout, you know that your navel will be pulled to your spine the whole time that you are out (I just read a great post on this very topic). Keep your attire light in colour to reflect the sun and don’t forget to wear a hat. If you haven’t invested in a pair of sport sunglasses now may be the time. I am a big fan of sport glasses, they protect your eyes and really complete the look! Sunscreen is a must, as much as I love my Y flow sports bra, I am not a fan of the tan lines.
Don’t forget to fuel and hydrate before, during and after exercise. A good rule of thumb is 6-8 ounces every 15-20 minutes of exercise . Under regular circumstances I usually recommend supplementing your water with an electrolyte replacement after 60 minutes of exercise, but in the heat I always advise to supplement after 45 minutes of exercise. To check your hydration level, weigh yourself naked before you exercise and then again after, you should be weight neutral. You can also check the colour of your urine (maybe too much information), it should be light to clear in colour (if you take a multi-vitamin don’t be surprised if it is slightly fluorescent in colour).
Always listen to your body, it has to work twice as hard in the heat. It takes about 2 weeks to completely acclimatize, so during that time lower your intensity. If your body is saying no, go with your gut and of course if there is an air quality advisory, then it’s time to move your workout indoors.
However you get your sweat on this summer keep the fluids flowing, slather on the sunscreen and turn up the music!
Although yesterday was double cardio Tuesday, I took the day off and spent it at Redwoods Golf Course as a volunteer for the 12th annual Drive for the Cure Golf Tournament. The weather could not have been any better for it, summer finally arrived!
Having not being part of this event before I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was obvious from the moment that we started setting up that this group was a finely oiled machine! It didn’t take long to pull everything together for the noon shot gun start. The theme for yesterday’s event was western, which I didn’t clue into right away. Even living where I do, I did think that it was a bit odd that everyone was wearing cowboy hats at a golf course. I may live in the country but I don’t have the country accessories, so I was happy that one of the other volunteers had brought extra cowboy hats, I always like to feel part of the party.
We had a bit of downtime before the golfers arrived, so I took the liberty (as did others) of sampling what the tailgate food tent had to offer. From the first look I knew that this was going to be a delicious but not a low calorie day. I could have opted for the more health conscious version, but when in Rome or Nashville (staying with the country theme) as I was yesterday I went with the special “taco salad in a bag”. In a bag you say? Yes in a bag…they took a bag of taco chips (ok, they were cheesy Doritos), and instead of opening the bag from the top, they cut it open down the side (giving you a moment to complete the visual), you then got to choose what went into your taco salad, I opted for ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa and a smidge of sour cream. It was fantastic, good thing that I teach two ‘Works’ classes today! I will be stealing that idea and modifying it slightly for my daughter’s ball team, you can steal it too, let it be my gift to you today.
The party started about 11:30am, the 128 golfers arrived in fabulous moods, and why not, the sun was out and they were ready to hit the greens with taco salad in a bag. At noon the games began. I checked in for my next duty where I was teamed up with a very familiar face. Our first job was to take ice, an umbrella and umbrella stand in our golf cart to the Jack Daniels hole…could my day get any better? We spent the better part of the afternoon doing what volunteers in a golf cart do, shuttling food, beverages and other volunteers from one hole to another. Other than volunteering at the Jack Daniels hole, I do believe that I had one of the best jobs!
We returned to the clubhouse later and got ready for dinner, presentations, the silent auction and the reverse draw. Since its inception, the Drive for the Cure Committee, with generous support of local BC businesses and individuals, has raised over $1 million to provide funds for cancer care and treatment in British Columbia. The presentations were very moving. Cancer has touched us all, in the last five years I have lost a father-in law and two wonderful friends to this brutal disease, but have also had some fierce friends battle and win because of advancements in treatments and facilities from the monies raised from foundations such as Drive For The Cure. So how did we do…we raised $110,000.00!!!!! A big thank you to all who opened their hearts and wallets last night, and a big thank you to Robbie and Kirk for allowing me to be a part of Team Drive For The Cure.