A Week of Solid SeaWheeze Training!

AKA my most productive training week in who knows how long! It wasn’t my highest mileage, but it also

a) didn’t end in an injury

b) didn’t end in burnout

c) included a long run, tempo run, speed work AND easy/recovery run

d) included two strength training sessions

YUP. I am impressed with myself this week. I also took a rest day on the day I needed it, not when it was planned. Now if I could only figure out how to take care of my body and eat well, I’d be on a serious roll.

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Monday: 6 miles with 5 @ 8:00. 1 mile warmup, 5 at goal half marathon pace, and a few minutes walk home to cool down and stretch. This was a 5:30am treadmill workout for me to be at work by 8am, so I didn’t have time to get fancy! This was a grinder but I managed it relatively well.

Tuesday: total body strength

Wednesday: 12 miles @ 9:00. Slow and steady wins the race. 7.5 miles outside and 4.5 on the treadmill once it got too hot out. I didn’t feel amazing during this run but I also didn’t feel awful, although I battled serious nausea for the rest of the day.

Thursday: 4 recovery miles

Friday: OFF. This is definitely the new plan post-long run: short, slow recovery run followed by an off day. I had almost no soreness!

Saturday: 6 miles with 8 x 400m. Read about that workout here! It was my first attempt at formal speed work and it was definitely a success. Now it’s time to nerd out on all the different types of workouts I can do. 🙂 🙂

Sunday: total body strength

TOTAL: 28 MILES. The plan was 30 miles, but since I cut Saturday’s workout short it dropped a bit and I didn’t feel like running 2 miles just for the sake of a weekly total. Plus, maybe a gradual increase in miles will keep me from getting injured again…just maybe. 🙂

What was the highlight of your week?

Are you training for anything right now? 

Easing Into Speedwork.

Until Saturday, I had never done speed work before. My running history can basically be summed up into: slow running and fast ish running with a couple near-vomit-inducing 5 & 10Ks thrown in there.

SunRunPre Sun Run 10K photo-op

But since I’m trying to actually train hard and all that these days, I decided it was high time for me to start doing some speed work. The lazy / cheap college student in me didn’t want to make the trek over to the university track and pay for it, so I decided to do 400m repeats on a flat stretch of pavement about a mile away from my house!

I also had NO idea how to pace myself. The plan was to:

1. Warm up for 1 mile

2. 12x ( Sprint like a bat out of hell for 400m / jog for 400m )

3. Cool down for 1 mile

Well, apparently sprinting like a bat out of hell is not very conducive to 12 repeats while still (albeit slowly) running in between, especially for a newbie like myself.

I ended up doing 8 x 400m, walking the first 200m rest and jogging the second.

My interval times were: 1:45 / 1:46 / 1:36 / 1:38 / 1:39, so between a 6:29 and 7:02 pace!

Screen Shot 2015-07-19 at 1.04.41 PM

To be honest, I had no idea I was capable of running anything with a 6 in front of it, regardless of how short the distance is. 🙂 I actually started a 9th repeat, but stopped when my watch told me I was hitting a 9:00 pace (turns out it was 6:15 so I shouldn’t have given up).

Regardless I am incredibly happy with my first attempt at speed work! I’m going to do this again next week, but focus on hitting 1:45 for all (12 this time) repeats, and jogging slowly in between (no walking!). Depending on how that goes, I might move up to 800m. But I attempted 800m repeats on the treadmill once and never quite recovered…so we shall see. 😉

Do you do speed work regularly? What kind? 

How I’m Working to Balance Cortisol

Now, I may not be a nutritionist, but I’ve long prided myself on having excellent “gut instincts”, and that combined with hours of research has me pretty solidly at the conclusion that my cortisol hormone levels are way, WAY out of whack. My reasoning for this?

1. Zero appetite in the mornings. It doesn’t matter if I eat 2000 calories between dinner and bedtime or 500, I don’t remember the last time that I woke up hungry. I usually run or lift weights first thing, so that makes me hungryish, but on a rest day, the desire to eat is non-existent.

2. Uncontrollable appetite at night. I’ve told myself I’m going to eat less at night so many times I’ve lost track. It’s not about eating less overall, it’s about allowing my body a break from digestion while I sleep to recover and repair for the next day!

IMG_1974This is basically my appetizer. 

3. Sluggish and lethargic until late at night. Tonight is a perfect example. I felt nauseous from exhaustion around 3pm today, having woke up at 5am. Here it is, 10pm, and I am all of a sudden full of energy working on my second blog post of the night. Granted, the amount of sugar I consumed is probably a part of that but you get the idea.

4. Anxiety. I’m constantly worrying about something, whether it’s relationships, school, moving, work, life, self-confidence, running, etc. and it completely squashes me. My personality squirts out here and there but it is largely crushed by anxiety right now and that makes me sad. <— that was 100% unintentional but THERE I AM WORRYING ABOUT WORRYING.

to this  trip of a lifetime!  Potentially the only time in my life I have willingly worn a dress.  Take me back, please.So let’s smile and explore New York City instead. 

5. Intense sugar cravings. All day, all night, I literally cannot get enough sugar. Gum and aspartame make it worse, but they’re still there when I go weeks without the fake stuff.

apple-fritters

6. Frequent migraines. Geeze, I feel like I get these every day lately. They’re almost always at night but absolutely miserable and cause neck pain as well. Ibuprofen helps about 5% but I usually end up in bed with ice on my face hoping it goes away.

Now, obviously these things all contribute to one another, but they have to be sparked by something – and that is very likely cortisol! I’m beyond sick of feeling gross and out of balance, so it’s time to make a change. Here’s what I pledge to do in the future:

1. No electronics in bed. I can’t try to make a “2 hours before bed” rule, because right now that’s the only time I can blog and soon it will be intense study time. But I can stop bringing my phone into bed with me and staring at it until I pass out. Only books and magazines immediately before sleep now!

EmmaOceanI should really get around to finishing this one! 

2. NO aspartame, and eat fat when craving sugar. Yeah, we’ve all heard that first one 8000 times. I’ve never tried the fat in place of sugar thing, though, but I do notice my cravings subside when I do it. So the next time I’m hankering for some mentos or even fruit, I’m going to try a spoonful of peanut butter first.

3. Treat my body well. That’s a vague statement because it needs to be. Honestly, I’ve been treating my body horribly lately. Mass amounts of gum, processed food, sugary baked goods, the list goes on. I just want to nourish myself, experiment with things like apple cider vinegar and oil pulling, incorporate yoga, and be good to myself in general.

salad bar, you have done it again! I had an intense craving for some veggie  power: kale + mushrooms + squash + chicken + asparagus!There was a time when I ate salads. 

4. Blog and journal. It’s no surprise that I always feel better after blogging and writing. Getting out some of the eight million thoughts in my head is so freeing; it’s like a weight is lifted off my shoulders each time I write a post. So I’m going to continue blogging as much as I can, and journal about the things that don’t make it onto the internet for the world to see. With any luck, the stressful thoughts will stay on paper / screen, out of my head, and I won’t be so worried and anxious about every darn thing.

5. Take action. It’s so easy to be paralyzed by fear. Take my house hunting, for instance. I’m so worried that I’m not going to find anywhere to live that I haven’t even looked for over four days. I’m rendered motionless by anxiety of the unknown. So instead of cowering in fear, I’m going to turn each thing I’m worried about into an attainable goal, and take action to reach it.

Have you considered your cortisol levels? 

What is one thing that regularly stresses you out? 

We Nipped THAT Injury In The Bud + I Freaking Love Chiro.

Sometimes I consider making my titles more eloquent like “The Importance of Injury Vigilance + The Benefits of Chiropractors”, but that sounds revoltingly arrogant and preachy and in my humble opinion, the more honest a title, the better.

liesMy feelings on click bait. 

I’ve had a very interesting few weeks when it comes to these muscles of mine.

1. About a month ago, I (think I?) tore my glute. It sure felt like it, I couldn’t put weight on it and the pain was horrific. But it also went away after a couple of days rest and foam rolling, so I’m not 100% sure.

2. A week later, I developed intense upper hamstring pain. Every stride hurt, and being paranoid as I am these days, I took a week off running. The pain disappeared.

3. The pain returned the day of a tempo run, but it was more sore than actual pain, so I decided to go through with the tempo. Weirdly enough, they felt better immediately after running than before, and the soreness was gone the next day!

Thoughts from my chiropractor:

  • I did in fact, at least partially, tear my glute.
  • During the recovery process, it stopped firing, putting extra stress on my hamstrings and hips.
  • Hamstring pain and soreness.

$45 dollars, 30 minutes of intense(ly painful) active release treatment and 2 physio exercises later, all is well in the world again. I’m to do them before every run / workout to ensure that my glutes are firing. Honestly, I was expecting her to tell me that I have high hamstring tendinopathy or some other activity-ending disaster claimed by Google.

life-is-pain

Back to chiro. I’M A FAN. I know that there are a lot of differing opinions on it, and many physicians prefer physiotherapy & rehab, but why not combine both? Physiotherapy will ensure muscle strength, balance and function, while physiotherapy helps to rid you of those nagging pains, knots and imbalances.

^ Plus lots of other things. I don’t have a professional background in either of these fields, this is just my experience from 10+ years of being the patient! 

When Megan was working out the knot in my hamstring, it was NOT pleasant. AT ALL. But it was a thousand times more effective than trying to hammer it with my foam roller / spiky ball and felt better instantly.

Morale of the story: Take severe and/or recurring pains to the experts, and leave Mr. Google out of it. Be open to new ideas. Pay Emma $8000/hour when she is a licensed physiotherapist for your treatment. (Okay you don’t technically have to do that last one but I personally think it is an excellent idea.)

Oh yeah! And happy Bastille Day! European History and the French Revolution will forever be the only subject I enjoyed out of twelve years of social studies.  YOU STORM THE BASTILLE GUYS, YOU GO FOR IT.

^ In all seriousness, for any of you wonderful French peeps out there, here’s to 226 years of you fighting for your independence. I will forever admire your country’s bravery, class and strength.

Chriro or physio? 

Are you struggling with an injury / almost injury? 

Fast Approaching: Half Marathons #3 and 4!

Um, oops? I was struggling for a while to get back into a running groove after my second half marathon, but I am TOTALLY loving being back on the grind now. Runs are mainly on the treadmill these days, initially due to the obnoxiously hot 30+ degree days we were having (86F), but now there have been mass forest fires in Alberta and the air is thick with smoke. Just walking outside is enough to put me in a gross, lethargic mood, so I know better than to attempt running in it.

It’s all good, though, because running on the treadmill always motivates me to actually work hard and run at something other than an easy pace. Who would’ve thought that was possible?! 😉

I’m feeling very conflicted as to my goals for Seawheeze. I know I want to run a 1:45 half marathon, and ultimately 1:40, but I also don’t know how bad the hills are.

SW15_Wordmark_Animation

The Edmonton Marathon is the following weekend, and has a pancake-flat course, but if my legs are trashed from racing 13.1 miles eight days prior I won’t have hope there, either.

The way I see it, these are my options:

#1. Run Seawheeze easy and race Edmonton. This is the easiest on paper, but I hate the idea of running a race easily! Especially one as expensive as Seawheeze, I feel like I should make the most of the massive adrenalin boost!

#2. Race Seawheeze and scrap Edmonton / run a shorter distance. Since I have zero obligation to run Edmonton this is totally feasible, but …

– What if I don’t PR Seawheeze?

– A friend is running her first half at the Edmonton Marathon and I don’t want to only do the 5/10K. Always the adrenalin junkie. 😉

#3. Run Seawheeze moderately and race Edmonton. This is definitely the one I am leaning towards. If the course isn’t super hilly, I could probably eek out a mini PR and then focus on truly racing the next weekend. I feel like I recovered so quickly after the MEC Half Marathon that this has a good chance of working!

Obviously for any PRs to happen, the next four weeks need to be a serious training block! Here’s what I did last week.

Monday: 5 mile tempo. 1 mile warmup, 3 miles @ 8:00, 1 mile cool down. 5:30am treadmill miles, BOOM.

Tuesday: 10 mile long run. There were no nerves and no mid-run fuel for this one. I ate breakfast about an hour before and then headed off! It was the only cool day of what seems like the entire summer, so I wanted to take advantage of it. The last mile my neck started cramping horribly, and my legs were feeling pretty Jell-O – like, but other than that it was a solid jaunt!

Wednesday: total body strength. I reduced my squat by like 50 pounds – maybe the day after running long isn’t the best day for weights, but it was the only time I could fit it in and neglecting strength workouts = INSTA INJURY for Emma.

PBR-Total-Body-Strength-WorkoutLoved this circuit from Jen! 

Thursday: 5 miles treadmill hills / easy.  I basically just played with the incline the entire time and it probably wasn’t as easy as it should be but the pace never strayed farther than 8:34 – 8:57.

Friday: 6 mile Rowland Tempo. THIS IS SO FUN. I’m not even joking, it is a genuinely enjoyable time and I would rather do this than a whole host of other things. I found the workout here, and it’s great because you never feel like you are absolutely going to die, but you’re working hard enough to feel badass and switching gears often enough to stave off boredom. I’d do this every day if I could. My paces were 8:13 / 8:00 / 7:47 and it honestly felt too easy.

Saturday: total body strength. 

Sunday: OFF

TOTAL: 26 MILES. A Much smarter re-entry into training than that random 30 mile week that I followed up with a total week off due to intense hamstring pain. That pain actually flared up again on Friday but is gone by now so I’m not too sure what to make of it – I am hitting up the chiro this afternoon though, just to make sure everything is in order. And I’m excited to hit 30 miles this week, with hopefully a 12 / 13 miler in there!

Homeless Livin’ + TOL

Hi, my name is Emma and I am currently WAY too stressed to write coherently, so let’s just thank our lucky stars that Thinking Out Loud is a thing and Amanda is our saviour.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. I ate a donut for breakfast this morning. Annnnnd it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be. I’ve been craving them for EVER so I’m a little bit shocked. Perhaps I should have gone for the apple fritter instead of chocolate dip? Maybe tomorrow today. 😉

apple-frittersYeeeeah those are looking pretty darn sweet.

2. But my stomach has been growling since I woke up (despite LOTS of food) so perhaps I should consider eating some vegetables. Just a thought.

3. Another thought: I REALLY NEED A PLACE TO LIVE! Like, it’s all well and good and wonderful and amazing that I got into Kinesiology, but I sorta don’t think going to school and living on the street is going to work out very well. I’ve gotten a couple of replies (to exactly seven billion emails), but since I can’t go visit the place I usually get passed over. Add to the fact that the Vancouver housing market is INSANITY and you have a recipe for one homeless college student.

4. I’m reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the fifteenth time. Not an exaggeration. My friend James was making fun of me, saying that he was going to bring a new book for me to read, but honestly? I’ve got seven books in my life, I don’t need any more. ❤

umbridge

5. READING is the key word there. The picture is (obviously) of the movie, but I am so turned off of TV right now it’s not even funny. I will start watching something, thinking I’m going to unwind for a few minutes, and I am instantly bored out of my mind! That and extremely irritated by the flashing lights / noise.

6. Another aversion? COFFEE. I don’t know who I am anymore. It’s been a week since I properly drank a cup of coffee, and much longer since I genuinely enjoyed it. Friday night I chugged half an iced coffee because I had a withdrawal headache, and on Tuesday I had to get my coworker to tell me what my espresso was like (so I could adjust the grinder) because it just all tasted awful to me.

americano-espressoNope.

I do love not feeling dependant on a substance, though, even if it does mean I’m a little bit more tired!

7. Tuesday’s 10 miler was a huge success! I haven’t run longer than 7 miles since my half marathon on June 14, so I was a little bit worried to say the least. But it was probably one of my most solid long runs ever! I started slooow, kept it steady, and didn’t freak out on the hills. There was a little nausea and cramping towards the end which was gross, but I also didn’t suffer from that crippling fatigue I used to get so often!

8. And then I woke up the next morning to homemade blueberry muffins. Can I live at home forever, please? ❤

9. But really. Is anyone in Vancouver looking for a roommate? I’ll go on runs with you and bake you muffins!

On Finding Passion + Burnout: Life + Running

Oh hi there! You might not recognize me, seeing as it’s been a solid 2 weeks since I blogged and about 2 months since I was properly involved in the blogworld. As I get closer to my nineteenth birthday (ZOMG I’M SO OLD CAN I HAVE A QUARTER LIFE CRISIS YET?!), I’m noticing more and more that I’m looking for learning opportunities in every experience. This little blogging hiatus is no different. And it also just so happened to coincide with a running hiatus.

*cue dramatic gasp*

I KNOW. I just ran a huge PR in the half marathon, was totally fired up about running and training, and then…I stop running altogether for a week. Long story short: I took zero recovery time post-half, focused on nothing but running, and entirely burned myself out. It got to the point where I wasn’t even running fast, it was just slow slogs to “put the miles in” because I felt like I had to reach that magic number every week.

Yesterday capped off eight days of zero running, and my hiatus most definitely went out with a bang – I barely moved from my backside all. day. long. Honestly, I cannot remember a day where I just allowed myself to rest, recover, and do what I wanted! So instead of forcing myself to get it in gear and do life things / go to the gym / be a functional human, I curled up with my BFF Harry and took breaks to eat peanut butter and bake.

Yeah. It was a good one. And it reminded me that burnout is real. It doesn’t matter how passionate you think you are about something, or how much you think you are enjoying yourself, there is always the potential to push too far. And once you jump off that cliff, climbing back up is a different story.

I’m lucky to have avoided it with running, but I fell hard off the blogging bandwagon. I turned it into a chore, something that I “had” to do, and once I had that mindset everything I wanted to post about seemed pointless.

You don’t have a degree or any sort of certification, Emma. Your stupid musings about your stupid running are stupid and a waste of time. 

^ The things I said to myself every time I wanted to blog, hence why there was no blogging.

Welp, that’s all about to change, for two BIG reasons.

#1. RECOVERY. It’s not just for fitness, people. Our minds need it too.

#2. CERTIFICATION. IN. PROGRESS. On Monday, June 29, I was accepted into the Faculty of Kinesiology at UBC! I was rejected twice and wait listed once, so to say this was a huge surprise is the understatement of the century. But I am SO incredibly excited to announce that I am now pursuing my Bachelor of Kinesiology, CSEP training certification once I complete two years of study, and then a Master of Physiotherapy following graduation! Having a plan laid out is pretty sweet…especially when it leads right to where my heart lives. ❤

There’s the requisite obnoxious cheesiness in Emma’s blog posts. Moving on from that, I’M SO EXCITED TO BE BACK. YAY. HOORAY FOR PASSION.