12 November 2016


What a chilly run yesterday! I wore fingerless mitts, which helped some (although I think I need full mitts), and last night finished knitting this:

It's a headband to keep my ears warm, with a hole for my ponytail. Will try it out tomorrow!

Despite the cold, the run felt great, and I could have gone farther/longer. I think the glutes exercises I've been doing are helping with my running, by making me stronger. Did 15 reps each side this morning (goal is to increase by 5 every 6 days, and get to 30 by the end of the month or so).

05 November 2016

A bit woogy today

Started off yesterday morning with a 20 minute run. My phone was refusing to acknowledge the headset (aftermath of the bath I guess?) so I ran without music, but it was fine. I had been grumbling to myself about needing to invest in cold-weather gear (it was about 5 C yesterday morning), but got over it and just wore regular tights under my shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt over my top, and it was fine. No excuses!

Then I went to see my physiotherapist, who was happy to report that my back is a lot better, but did some IMS on my pecs which hurt like crazy! I don't even know if "hurt" is the right word, it's just this intense spasm reaction that isn't really "pain" per se, but boy did it make me yell.

This morning, I woke up to a bit of vertigo, which I do not like. My shoulders are even though (in August when I had vertigo, my left shoulder was up 2" higher than my right). So I don't know what's going on. I even got a good night's sleep last night, even if I was out late!

Still managed to get some exercise in this morning: 30 sit-ups, plus this routine for glutes, which I am doing for the month of November. And then a giant breakfast.

Look at all the B12! I am guessing that's from the kippers.

The other thing I'm trying out is Intermittent Energy Restriction. I was going to try this before, thinking it would be easiest to fast on the days when my kid is at his dad's house, but as it turns out those were the days I enjoyed eating the most, because I could eat out, or eat things the kid doesn't like, like eggplant with lots of garlic! So this time, I've worked out that Monday and Thursday are good days for me to fast (not really fast, but keep calories under 600), and then I can enjoy grownup meals when my kid is away. IER has been correlated with better heart health and blood sugar levels, but most interesting to me is the research showing cognitive benefits.

Not fasting and running on the same days though! That would be nuts.

So for now, my schedule looks like this:

TuesdayRun + Glutes
SundayRun + Glutes

02 November 2016


Whoops, I thought I had posted after my 5k but I guess not!

For some reason the weather decided to be unseasonably warm and sunny on race day - and because we were running in the city down a major thoroughfare, we had sun directly in our faces, and also beating down on our backs as it reflected off glass towers. Ugh. The race was extremely crowded (a popular fundraiser, lots of people were there for the cause and just walked the whole way), so I ended up walking for the first bit simply because there was no room to move. Eventually the crowd thinned out and I was actually able to run, although it felt like an obstacle course due to the number of people. Between the crowds and the heat, I did not make good time at all (a friend of mine warned me that would happen), but the run up to the finish line still felt pretty great.

I have been seeing my physiotherapist every week or two as well, and am doing better though not perfect by any means. Part of this is due to the moving of boxes and furniture (my husband and I separated a year ago, and there were many things left behind that I finally got moved out), which my back does not like. I still have a cabinet downstairs that needs to go upstairs, but I will need a couple of people to help with that. Seeing my physio on Friday, we'll see what he thinks.

Between the back pain and the onset of fall and the passing of race day, I have gotten very lazy. I find it hard to get up in the morning when the skies are dark. And without the impetus of race day and the regular schedule of the C25K program, it was easy to do nothing. I have made a resolution for November though to get back at it, and yesterday morning I got up before 6 o'clock and went for a run. It was cool and crisp - about 8 degrees I think? - perfect weather for running for me! I was chilly to start, but fine once I got going.

It's interesting how a body that has had at least a bit of training will remember what it needs to do. Even though it is a solid month since race day and I have done nothing in that time other than the usual walk to work and furniture moving, I had no trouble running for 20 minutes straight, and no trouble doing 30 situps this morning. I remember years ago when I decided to make morning situps part of my routine, it was near impossible! But now I guess the muscles are still there and even if I go a month (or more!) without doing them, it is not hard to get back into the routine.

My current plan is to run three mornings a week: Tuesday, Friday, Sunday. I hope the weather holds for a while.

12 September 2016

Oh, my neck.

I went for a run this morning and felt pretty great! Re-did C25K Week 6 Day 1, ran all I was meant to run, went farther (4.5 km) and felt faster!

I did have a bit of a twinge in my shoulder/neck near the end, but thought, I can do this!

Now my neck hurts, and all I want is to go lie down.

Cannot wait for my next physio appointment - a week tomorrow!

29 August 2016

Back to the ol' drawing board

Got back from my trip on Friday. 13 days/12 nights on the road, and I didn't miss a run! I kept up with the C25K every second morning, and Thursday ran week 6 day 1.

But then.

It started about halfway through the trip actually, with vertigo at night in my sleeping bag. But it went away.

And then it came back.

On Friday morning - in a wilderness park about 4 hours' drive from home - I was dizzy and nauseated and running a low fever (exacerbated by trying to pack up sleeping bags in a tent that was equivalent to a sauna). I spent a fair amount of time lying around thinking, how will we get home? Who could I call who would be able and willing to come all the way out here and drive us back? I'm not sure how one would even get near where we were without a car.

Eventually I felt stable enough to try driving (driving is great! You are basically sitting motionless!) and after building up my confidence on the backroads I headed to the highway and got us home. And lay down.

On Saturday after dropping the kid off at his dad's house, I saw the doctor. First I saw a resident who seemed to be ruling out a stroke based on the various test she did ("Tell me what side I'm touching" "Frown" "Raise your eyebrows") and then my regular doc came in and said, "Boy, when you get sick, you really get sick." Yep.

And then, "It's probably a virus," which is right up there with "It's probably stress," in the doctor's thesaurus of synonyms for "I don't know."

I went home and lay down some more.

In the morning I thought, I wonder where my shoulders are at?

Sure enough, my left shoulder is 2" higher than the right. So I googled "Thoracic Outlet System + Vertigo" and yes, they can be connected. Then I looked up my saviour, Angus the physiotherapist, to see how early I could call Monday morning for an appointment.

Earliest I can get to see him is Thursday morning at 8:30 (he was booked till mid-September, but they had a cancellation), but I will bet a million dollars that he fixes me up perfectly, and this "virus" theory was utter bunk!

08 August 2016

C25K: Week 2 completed

Finished week 2! A friend mentioned that she is doing this too. She is on week 6, where apparently there is a point where you run for fully twice as long as any of the previous runs up to that point. I like to think I have been doing fairly well so far, but I am now a little bit afraid of week 6. So far I have not looked ahead to see what any of the future weeks entail, I wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing? Part of me is tempted to get through the "easy" weeks by doing the runs only 2 times instead of 3 times before moving on to the next level, so I will have more time to work on week 6 (for example) if needed. That may be a completely idiotic idea though.

02 August 2016

C25K: Week 1 completed

Done week 1! I did runs 2 & 3 at my cousin's cottage in the Gatineau hills. Part of me thought, "I could skip run 1/3 and go straight to week 2, since I already did a run before I got the app/earbuds sorted." But I decided against it, due to the nature of the run - on uneven gravel roads rather than paved, and also quite hilly:

Not far, but oh those hills! Ah well, I will tell myself that training at elevation is good for the heart.

28 July 2016

Amateur hour

Well I got my phone/earbuds sorted and ran with the app this morning.

Now, you might say, "Aren't you only supposed to train every second day, and work other parts of your body on the off-days?"

And, you would be right.

Yesterday was comparatively easy, and I woke up feeling fine today - not sore the way you usually do if you've really worked your muscles - so I thought, "Why not?" Especially since I wanted to "catch up" as I hadn't used the app for day one, so I wanted to "re-do" it. And yesterday I did more jogging than was actually necessary - it's meant to be 8 x 60-second runs on the first day, and I think I did that plus 4 x 90-second runs - so I thought it would be a piece of cake.

And it was fine!

Except now my legs are really sore.

27 July 2016

I'm back!

I signed up for a 5k!

The last time I ran a 5k was in 2010, a fundraiser for the Brain Tumour Foundation after my mother died of cancer. This time, it's a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Foundation, because a friend had "triple negative" (a very aggressive type) but thankfully survived! Here's her story:

So, I bought some new running shoes, and this morning started the "Couch to 5k" regime. Or, actually, a version thereof, because I don't know where the earbus for my phone are, so I just alternated running 60 seconds/walking 90 seconds eight times, then running 120 seconds/walking 90 seconds 4 times. Good enough for day one. Need to get my phone sorted though so I can do it properly!

The best part for me was that I did not cough once on my run! My lungs have been terrible this year - my darling son brought home all kinds of germs in the winter, and I couldn't take sick days when I needed to because there was too much work to do and I was the only one able to do it. Two rounds of antibiotics when they thought I had pneumonia; then the diagnosis changed to pleurisy (what is that you ask? If you remember The Glass Menagerie, it's the illness that Laura had in high school which caused her to miss months of classes - then called "pleurosis" which led to the nickname "blue roses").

Ha, I coughed just now because I am writing about not coughing I guess!

I was fine for a while after I eventually recovered, but the first week of summer vacation, my darling son again brought home a nasty bug, and I can't seem to shake the cough that came with it. Partly, I think, due to the terrible humidity that has cloaked the city in a veil of smog and pollen.

So I am thrilled that I was able to run and breathe this morning! The sun was just starting to beat down upon the city in my final stretch home; next time I will try to get an earlier start.

15 March 2016

hitting the trail again!

okay, after the worst winter ever - sick and coughing for two and a half months, two rounds of anbiotics that did nothing, an eventual diagnosis of pleurisy - i am getting back at it!

i really missed my walks. when i was sick and breathless, i could barely make it from room to room let alone walk a mile and a half to work. so i am thrilled to be walking again, especially now that spring has sprung. birds! flowers! heavenly!

current routine is walk to work, walk one and a half or two miles at lunch, and then walk home. today i did more than five miles in my raincoat!

i am also pleased to say that, even after months of not doing it, i had no trouble doing 30 situps this morning. to think when i started, five and a half years ago, i had to really struggle to do 20 - mostly couldn't. i may not be perfect, but i have indeed come a long way.

27 January 2016

oh, calories.

just came across this article: the calorie is broken. it suggests that the old "calories in, calories out" rule doesn't work for weightloss. don't bother clicking the link; even though it is presented as "news," nothing in it is new!

to summarise:

calories in food are often measured inaccurately. sometimes on purpose (oh marketing, how you deceive!), sometimes by accident or due to ineffective measuring methods.

There’s also the issue of serving size. After visiting over 40 US chain restaurants, including Olive Garden, Outback Steak House and PF Chang’s China Bistro, Susan Roberts of Tufts University’s nutrition research center and colleagues discovered that a dish listed as having, say, 500 calories could contain 800 instead. The difference could easily have been caused, says Roberts, by local chefs heaping on extra french fries or pouring a dollop more sauce. It would be almost impossible for a calorie-counting dieter to accurately estimate their intake given this kind of variation.

obvious solution here - if you are trying to get healthy, why on earth are you going to chain restaurants and eating french fries? anyone with a grain of sense will know that is not something you should do on a regular basis. in addition, if you are hoping to lose weight, you need a fairly significant difference between calories in and calories out - 500 fewer calories every day will result in about 1 lb of weight loss weekly. if you are aiming to eat 1600 calories when you expend 2100, but accidentally eat 1900, you won't lose weight as quickly but you should make some progress (or at least stop gaining). when i track my intake/output, i usually try to err on the side of caution. is that banana "small" or "medium"? i will select "medium" to be on the safe side.

main point though, is that this doesn't disprove calories in/calories out, it just demonstrates that - as with everything - accuracy counts.

next issue: people burn calories at different rates. this comes as a surprise to no one. a variety of factors including health issues can affect how people process food. this is why tracking systems like fitday offer a choice of different ways to calculate your baseline metabolic rate.

try one. does it seem to fit? if yes, great. if not, try another. or input a custom baseline if that's what works.

again, this doesn't disprove calories in/calories out, it's just another demonstration of the need for accuracy.

and there have been many, many studies showing that people kid themselves about how much they actually eat and how much they actually exercise.

the article then goes on to describe a "new" diet based on satiety. in the past this has been sold as a diet of "nutrient dense" foods. i dimly remember a diet book from the 1970s comparing the calories and nutrients in a cubic inch of brie to a cubic inch of shrimp, and obviously suggesting you go for the shrimp! this is not new.

all of this silliness reminds me of someone i used to know who was obsessed with his physique. he was terrified of consuming any amount of fat. instead, he would opt for things like a butter substitute which was some sort of viscous yellow liquid in a spray bottle (i shudder to think what the ingredients might be) and would eat marshmallows by the bucketload - because they are fat free! or the various people who have been "shocked" to discover that vitaminwater is no different from pop, nutrition-wise, or that nutella is actually more candy than health food.

it always comes back to the same thing. eat what your grandmother ate. in moderation. use common sense. looking for some extreme rule or fad diet to follow - or an article to excuse you for overeating at chain restaurants - is an exercise in delusion.

18 January 2016

not another inhaler!

i swear, since that first bout of pneumonia right before i got pregnant with my son, my lungs have just never been the same.

before that, i was fine and never thought twice about breathing.

since then, i have had "reactive airways syndrome," chest infections, and flirted with an asthma diagnosis.

this past fall and winter have been stressful - single parenting a special-needs kid, full-time job, part-time school. this winter i had to travel for work twice in one month - and not fun fly first class and stay in a hotel travel, more the leave home at 5 o'clock in the morning to drive across the province for a 15-hour day of work kind of travel.

at the beginning of september, i had a nasty cold with a cough that never really went away. it would get better, and then return. in december it came back with a vengeance, and i just about knocked myself out with the wrong kind of robitussin. apparently some people drink cough syrup for fun? i had just 2 tsp and felt like i was losing my mind.

anyway, i got through the winter break with not enough r & r, but enough to tide me over. but starting the work year with more travel did me in. i suppose the cold snap didn't help either - i think it was -20 on my first day back, and of course i walked!

long story short, by the time i dragged myself to the doctor the following week it was officially pneumonia.

i've finished my round of antibiotics, and feel somewhat better, but still so very tired and headachey. standing to sing during sunday morning's service was exhausting. walking a flight of stairs is exhausting.

i have a flovent inhaler to take for the rest of the month - and a refill if needed. hoping i am back up to speed well before then!