The 10% Rule

21 Mar

Sam loves running too!


One of the first things you usually learn when training for a half or full marathon is that it’s not a good idea to increase your mileage by more than 10% each week (give or take a bit).  So I should have expected a problem when I not so gradually increased my weekly mileage, even though I felt fine for weeks.  After one day of running almost 41km (I ran 32 in the morning and 8.6 with my sister later that day), my knee started hurting.  This forced me to take a week off of running and a week on of as many spin classes as I could force myself to get to… which turned out to be 7 before chest pains forced me to take a couple days off. My self diagnosis (okay, the chiropractor may have helped in this diagnosis) is that it was caused by a trigger point in the scalene muscles.  If anyone ever experiences this it’s real scary.  It felt like what I imagine the beginning of a heart attack must feel like.  It happened one afternoon at spin class, and then again the next morning during spin class.  All health care professionals seem to conclude the same thing-  my body wanted some rest.

When training for a marathon, especially one where you want a PR, it’s difficult to know how hard to push your body and how to tell when you actually need a break vs. when you’re just being lazy.  Hungry Runner Girl blogged about this a little the other day and posted an article from Running Times.   Another thing I’ve learned in run clinics and probably have read in running magazines is to record your resting heart rate every morning before you get out of bed.  If it’s higher than normal one day you should probably take a day off of running.
It’s also hard not to compare yourself to other runners who seem to log 100 mile weeks without any problems.  If they can run 75-100 miles a week, I should probably at least be running 50, right?   Lesson- don’t compare yourself to other runners and rest days are important.


However, probably try not to let your rest days involve eating a whole 200g bag of mini eggs in one day like mine did.  I’m ashamed, but I couldn’t stop myself.

mini eggs

In other news- I’ve started swimming lessons.  One of my life goals is to complete an Ironman, but I figure I should probably start by learning how to swim at least 50m without stopping.  I grew up near the ocean and “going swimming” in lakes/ponds was a daily occurrence.  Our town didn’t have a pool though, and so I have yet to perfect the front crawl. IT’S HARD!  I can run for 4 hours without stopping, but put me in a pool and I can’t go four MINUTES without needing a break.  I’ve been practicing with flippers because they make me swim at a normal human pace instead of taking 5 minutes for 50m.  This has lead to other problems:

IMG_0938Flipper Blisters!

Today it’s a winter wonderland here in Edmonton, Alberta.  I was a wimp and chose to run on the treadmill today, but I’ll be hitting the snowy trails tomorrow morning!

 I will end with some cute pictures of Sam.  I can’t help it… I’m at home all day with him and he’s just SO CUTE all the time.





Anyone else take their dogs running with them?  (twice in one day random people told me I was going to kill my dog by “making it run with me”.   okay so we were doing stair repeats, but he was running up them faster than I was!)

What’s your favourite Easter treat? 

I lost that lovin’ feeling…..

18 Feb

Todays workouts:
15km run (1:30)
GSP Rushfit (35 min)

Up until a few weeks ago, I had a hard time feeling the love for running.  I felt like a beginner again, and every workout was hard.  I know hard is sometimes good, but even slow runs felt hard.   I could barely do 6 hill repeats.  I had to turn my spin bike level down a couple notches to keep my legs moving.  I felt discouraged.  I only took 3 weeks off from running back in November (aside from the 3 runs I did while I was away) and I felt like I was back where I started 3 or 4 years ago.  I  cancelled on my faster running friends a bunch of times because I was embarrassed I could barely keep up anymore.
BUT I kept going to spin class, I kept running, and I tried (am trying) every day to eat mostly healthy foods.  And finally, after a couple of months, it’s getting easier.  I can do my hill repeats without walking, I can run with my faster running friends again, and I can almost do my speed intervals as fast as I used to.  So if you are a beginner and you hate working out and running because it’s hard and uncomfortable- don’t give up!  It does eventually get easier.
I’m trying not to be negative, but given the speed at which I am running, I’m pretty sure Boston qualifying is out of the picture for May.  I am still hopeful that I can get there soon, but at this point, I don’t think it can happen in Vancouver this year.  I am mostly excited for all the trail running I get to do this summer during training for and the running of Leg 2 of The Great Canadian Death Race, and (hopefully) Leg 3 of The Sinister 7.

Last week I also started Georges St. Pierre’s RUSHFIT.


I’ve only tried 3 of the workouts so far, but they seem pretty easy, while still getting your heart rate up.  It’s similar to all those other 60-day or 90-day workout sets out these days… do it for 8 weeks and you’ll get ripped!
Each one starts with a 10 minute warmup (it’s the same every time, which I can see getting a bit boring), and then 30 minutes of work split into 5 5min rounds- they’re over before you know it!  And GSP is pretty nice to look at.  So far I like these workouts because they’re not so hard that you don’t wanna do them, but my muscles were sore the next day so I know it’s working.

Do you go through phases of hating running/workout out?
What do you do to get motivated for a hard run?

Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon

18 Feb

Last month I spent 10 days in beautiful Maui.  We arrived on a Friday night and I was signed up to run The Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon that first Sunday.  My mom and sister were running the 10K.  It started really early (it was still dark), and I was surprisingly cold in my shorts and tank top while we waited for the race to start.  The entire half marathon (as well as the 10k and full marathon) was an out and back along the Honoapiilani Highway– starting and ending in Lahaina.
A few days before I arrived in Maui I started getting sick.  I felt mostly fine the day of the race, other than having a horrible cough that made it a little difficult to breath at times.  About 3km into the race I knew it wouldn’t be one of my best running days.  I passed the 10K turnaround and was really really tempted to just head back. I could never do that, of course, unless I was actually seriously injured.  I made it to the halfway point, grabbed a peppermint candy from the giant bowl of random hard candies, and settled in for the next hour of running.  By this point the sun was up, I was hot, I wasn’t carrying water or any gels (what’s wrong with me?) and the water stations seemed spaced very far apart (every few miles?).  The water stations also didn’t have any gatorade… at least I only found it at one of the very first stops.  SO I was tired, thirsty, feeling dizzy, and frustrated that I could barely run a 6 min/km at this point.  I finally finished in 2:03:19, 10th in my age group, out of 24.  In retrospect, I hadn’t been running very fast prior to the race and I probably started the race way too fast for my running fitness at the time (I finished the first 10k in like 51 or 53 minutes).

Some things I learned from this race:
– If you’re running somewhere a lot warmer than you are used to, BRING WATER!
– Take a gel/fuel just in case. 
– Some races are going be tough for whatever reason, and that’s okay!
and something I always struggle with – Don’t start out too fast.

ImageMy my and sister enjoyed their 10K runs.  My sister even placed 2nd in her age group!  It’s nice to have family waiting for you at the finish line.


stolen race photo

Christmas lights and candy canes

18 Dec

Today’s Workouts:
moksha yoga (pm)
speed work on the track/treadmill
-5x800m on the track (but it’s a little more than 800m because it’s not a regular track)
-1x800m on the treadmill set to 8.6
-3x500m on the treadmill ranging from 8.5-8.9
5.5km run with the sister

Speed days are my least favourite running day, even though they’re probably one of the most important workouts.  After 5 intervals on the track I felt like I couldn’t keep going fast anymore so I moved my workout over to the treadmill.  It was still pretty tough so I switched to 3x500m intervals instead of the last 2x800m intervals I was supposed to run.  I also always feel very sneezy after I do a track workout…. what’s up with that?

Today I meant to get up for my favourite spin class because I haven’t gone in a few weeks, but it’s at 6am on the other side of the city.  SO I ended up staying in bed until 10:30 instead.  Then I got up to make one of the best breakfasts (really they’re good for any meal)- vegan carrot cake pancakes!

Usually I use a recipe from the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook, but my sister has it at her house right now so I made up my own recipe (which I think tasted pretty much the same).  This makes 1-2 servings:
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 water
1/4 coconut water  (I didn’t have any milk)
1 tbsp agave
1 tbsp ground flax seeds + 2.5 tbsp water
random splash of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
some cinnamon
1 cup shredded carrot
Cook in coconut oil for the best flavour!  They’re pretty good on their own, but I added maple syrup because I like sugar.

Last night I went to this event called Christmas Reflections at Fort Edmonton Park with my sister and friend.  The park is basically a history museum and shows what Edmonton life was in the olden days.  Since it’s winter most things were closed, but we got to tour the streets in a horse drawn wagon, and we made candy cane tree ornament crafts and christmas buttons.  Santa was hanging out in the Masonic Hall but we were too embarrassed to get our photo taken with him since he seemed like a handsome young man under that white beard and hat.

fort crafts
Tonight my sister and I ran around Candy Cane Lane.  It’s a street on the west side of the city where most of the houses have christmas lights and decorations.  Kinda reminded me of being back in Newfoundland, where everyone on my street had christmas lights on their houses…. and usually a lot!
I tried to take pictures but everything just looked foggy.  We did get a group shot at the end.  Even the dog had a frosty beard!


Tomorrow my dogs want me to talk them for a walk through the legislature grounds to see the Christmas lights.  I love walking through there even more at Christmastime because they have lights in all the trees AND Christmas music playing ALL THE TIME! (I haven’t tested out this theory at 3am yet, so maybe not ALL the time).

Oh, guess what? I’m on Season 4 of How I Met Your Mother after only 1.5 weeks of unemployment.  Speaking of which, I think it’s about that time of the night where I get in bed and watch 15 episodes and fall asleep.

Early Christmas gifts

17 Dec

Today’s Workouts:
Healthy Rhino UNbootcamp (am)
Moksha Yoga (pm)
Elliptical/Abs workout (pm)

I’m liking the Healthy Rhino classes.  I bought the Groupon for only $29 for 12 classes, when a regular month membership is like $200.  GOOD DEAL!  If it was cheaper I would likely get a membership once my 12 classes are used up.  It’s different every class, which is awesome, and you have to sign up ahead of time for the class you want and if you cancel less than 12 hours before you have to pay $10.  SO you can’t really get lazy and not show up.  However, I have to live on half of what I’m used to now, and I choose to pay for yoga instead.  It’s probably pretty easy to design your own hour workout to be similar to the classes at Healthy Rhino.  You just need to write down 10-15 exercises (squats, burpees, pushups, plank jacks,etc.), and get a timer.  We’ve done 8 sets of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off, 1 set of 1:20, 1:00, 40 sec, 20 sec, with 10 seconds in between, and 4 sets of 40 seconds on 20 seconds off.


Pretty knee

Christmas parties on Saturday were a lot of fun, and I somehow didn’t take any pictures. Walking home at 4:30am after the party on Saturday (or technically Sunday) I slipped on the ice and now have a swollen/bruised knee and a bruised arm.  I used that as an excuse to take the day off yesterday.  You know that feeling you get on Sundays?   Like you feel a bit sad because the weekend is over and you have to go back to work?  I thought I wouldn’t feel like that since I don’t have to go to work on Mondays, but I still felt it!  I wonder if that Sunday dread feeling ever goes away….

My mom sent our Christmas gifts to us and they arrived on Friday.  I couldn’t wait until Christmas to open something, so I opened just a couple.  I got these new Monster iSport headphones, and a Helly Hanson running jacket in this pretty blue color!
I tried the headphones out today at the gym and they worked really well.  They stayed in my ears, but one of them started to feel a bit uncomfortable after an hour on the elliptical. I may just have to change the size- it comes with 5 different sizes and I left the medium on today.

Because I took pictures of all my meals today, I thought I’d post this pretty picture of everything I ate today… minus a handful of blackberries I ate while cooking dinner.
foodBreakfast was a green smoothie made with celery, apple, and banana.  Normally I’d add spinach but I didn’t have any today.
Lunch was an arugula salad topped with red cabbage, avocado, and roasted beet, carrot, and orange pepper.
For dinner I steamed some kale and swiss chard and topped it with quinoa flavoured with balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, and a bit a stevia.
After dinner snack was pureed pumpkin with stevia and cinnamon.

Now if I could only eat this healthy every day during the holiday season…..

Gingerbread Jelly Shots

15 Dec

Todays workout:
21km @ 6:23/km

This was my first full week of being unemployed, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m sure eventually I’ll start to feel useless and really want a job, but it really is nice to be able to run outside while it’s still light out, and fit in 2 or 3 workouts without having to get up at 6am. I’ve filled my days with bootcamp, yoga, runs, spin, dog walking, etc., combined with cooking, cleaning, organizing… it makes the day go by fast. You’d think I’d have a super clean and organized condo by now, but looking around now you wouldn’t think I’ve done anything.

Running feels hard these days. I knew it would take me awhile to get back to where I was pre-vacation, but I didn’t think it would be this bad. Maybe it’s just the winter running, but I feel like I’m running in slow motion and I just can’t speed up. Don’t get me wrong- I still enjoy my runs. There’s something I like about being covered in frost on the outside but still feeling really warm. It’d just be nice for a run to feel easier once in a while.
Because I spent last night in bed watching Netflix with my dogs, I didn’t mind getting up early for a run today.

It was -10oC when I woke up this morning! Because of this I omitted my 4th layer jacket I’ve been wearing and long johns… normally I wear a tank top, a long sleeved running shirt, a thermal running shirt, and a jacket. And on bottom I wear silk long johns or regular running tights under my winter running tights.

5km in- frozen already

5km in- frozen already


I’ve been wearing my trail running shoes (Salomon Speedcross 3) since the trails are sometimes pretty snowy. It’s taken me a few years of winter running to finally start wearing trail shoes. They keep my feet warmer and make it easier to run in snow.
Tonight I have two Christmas parties to attend. My old lab Christmas party, at my old bosses house, and then my 3 friends who just moved in together are having one. For the lab party the vegetarians were told to bring a side dish, since the main course would be some sorta dead animal.
I made vegan sweet potato salad. You can find the recipe HERE.


For my friends party I made gingerbread jello shots. I used a recipe slightly modified from here:

Add to saucepan:
1/3 cup gingerbread syrup ( I got mine at Starbucks)
3 tbsp water
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk (coconut milk would likely work for a vegan version)
2.5 packs of gelatin
Heat on low or low-medium heat until gelatin dissolves
Remove from heat and add:
1/2 cup vodka
1/2 cup baileys (Is there a vegan baileys alternative? maybe extra kahlua and coconut milk)
1/3 cup Kahlua
Pour into some sorta pan or jelly mold or I used small foil cup things that are supposed to be used for candy or chocolate. Not as pretty as with a jelly mold, but I figured it was safer this way.

These were stronger tasting than I had imagined, but better than regular jello shots.

Now I’m off to celebrate Christmas with some of my favourite peoples.

Running and Yoga

11 Dec

Today’s workouts:
Moksha yoga (noon)
Speed work on treadmill (pm):
1 mile warmup
7x800m @ 7:03min/mile
1x400m @ 6:53min/mile

One of my goals for my unemployment phase of life was to fit in more yoga.  So far so good.. I’ve managed to go 2 days in a row and I hope to make it every day this week.  During Edmonton winters there’s nothing better than laying in a 39oC room.  Really. It’s great.  For those of you who have a hate for hot yoga, and HAVEN’T tried moksha- DO IT! You might still hate it, but it’s better and more yoga-y than Bikram (in my opinion).  For me, yoga is a great way to gain strength and flexibility, and it helps ward off injuries.  I swear my hips don’t hurt as much when I’m doing yoga regularly.  I also find it beneficial to attend at least one yin yoga class a week.  For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Yin is a form of yoga where you hold each pose for 3-5 minutes.  It targets ligaments and tendons, and doesn’t focus on building strength at all so mostly you just lay on your mat in different poses.  Easy right?

I’ve heard different people say different things about yoga and running, but it seems to make sense- you run a lot and things hurt, muscles are tight, etc.  Why would yoga (if done properly) NOT be beneficial?


Sis and I in Maui

I’ve started making my schedule for training for the Vancouver Marathon.  I’m using the book “Run Less Run Faster“, but the speed at which it is telling me I need to run in order to run a 3:35 marathon is making me thing I’LL NEVER QUALIFY.  I can barely run 8×800 meters at a 7 min/mile after my 3 week vacation of drinking/eating/not exercising, but it’s telling me I need to be running it at a 6:35 min/mile.  Plus my long runs should be way faster than they ever are.  I think that means I’ll need a race day miracle to qualify.

On another note, I remembered that Half Marathon I ran in Phoenix last month and found the pictures.  My race photos are always so horrible so I thought I’d share a couple more of em.
Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 10.01.13 PM Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 10.00.47 PM


What training schedule do you use?  
How much slower than your race pace are your long runs?
Do you do yoga regularly?


Every day is Saturday…

10 Dec

when you’re unemployed, that is!

Friday was my last day in the lab.  Technically my last day was Monday, but I just can’t get enough of that place.  To celebrate my departure my coworker made me VEGAN DONUTS!

They also gave me the new Garmin 10!  Which was the best gift ever.  Not only is it smaller and pink, but since my old 405 has trouble keeping battery power and my foster dog chewed up the charger (as well as the watch) I’d been having to rely on carrying my iPhone around to track my distance/pace.

After a couple nights of staying out until 4am with friends, I had a surprisingly easy 20.5km run on Sunday afternoon.  It was about -24 with the windchill, but aside from my face, I was pretty warm.

IMG_0569It took about 30 seconds of hot shower to thaw my braid afterwards.   I think white mascara should become a new winter trend.

Day one of being unemployed went something like this:

9-10: unbootcamp class at Healthy Rhino (I bought a groupon for 12 classes).  Felt a little out of place since everyone knew each other… but was a fun 1 hour class of intervals.
11: make (and eat) lunch
12-1: moksha yoga
1:30-6:30- clean house/watch how i met your mother/dinner
6:30-7:30- lift weights while watching how i met your mother

So you can see the majority of my time today was spent watching how i met your mother.   I did also apply for 2 jobs.  Tomorrow I will aim to watch less than 5 episodes.  It’s just so goood!

SAD NEWS-  Our team did not get registered for the Sinister 7 Ultra and Relay this year… however, we are 6th on the waiting list and I’m thinking positive.  Five teams must drop out by July. Last year was so much fun.  It was my first experience with a relay, and it’s so different running in a team, knowing somebody is waiting on you to get back so they can run.  I was also trying to finish fast so the next person running wouldn’t have to run in the dark.
Screen Shot 2012-12-10 at 8.17.58 PM


Have you ever done a relay race?

What’s your favourite Christmas cookie?  Song?
– my favourite christmas cookies are gingerbread.  and song is mary’s boy child, or fairytale of new york




Santa shuffle weekend

2 Dec

Weekends runs:
Saturday- 5km santa shuffle
Today- 16km run


Friday night was a going away party for 2 of my good friends.  One of them who I’ve been friends with since grade 10 and has always (minus 1.5 years when him and his wife were in Korea) lived in the same place as me- Newfoundland, Antigonish for university, and now here in Edmonton.  We went to a local bar for some Karaoke, and by the time I got home it was about 3:45am.  Good thing my long run this weekend was changed to Sunday, and on Saturday morning I just needed to run a 5k. The santa shuffle was 2 laps around a park and we got medals!


I ran the whole thing with my sister because she really wanted me to.  And it made things go by much faster having someone to talk to, even though our pace was slower than I normally run (7min/km).  I was proud of her for running the whole thing without needing any walk breaks (she was way more hungover than me).  I just felt really happy to be outside running.
My coworker also ran the race, but she was faster than us.

IMG_0556Another awesome thing about this race was they were giving away Lindt chocolate advent calendars!

Today I ran 16km with my new running friend Tammy.  She was awesome and didn’t make me feel bad about slowing her down.  Not sure what our final pace was, but probably not the 5:45min/km pace we normally run.

I just bought a juicer so tomorrow I can start making green juice for breakfast!  I’m also obsessed with this kale and quinoa salad recipe.  It’s so good I’ve been eating it for every meal.  I made a second batch today and omitted the olive oil (substituted another 1/4 cup of water) and the goat cheese, as well as the sun dried tomatoes because I forgot about them.

Now I’m getting ready for a night out with the sis… we’re going to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas show tonight!  I listen to the vinyl cafe podcast most nights when I go to bed so I’m pretty excited to hear it live.

And to end this post, here’s a cute picture of my dog laying in this weird position on the couch:





Do you make your own juice?
Does your city/town have a Santa Shuffle?


Post Vacay Blues

29 Nov

After doing only 3 runs in the last 3 weeks I was happy to get back to a normal workout routine.
This weeks workout schedule:

JM trouble zones(am)
6km run, 40 mins elliptical, 15 min stair master (pm)
JM trouble zones + killer abs (pm with sis)

Spin class (am)
4x800m + 1x500m speed intervals (pm)

JM killer abs + ripped in 30 (am)
6 Emily Murphy hills (pm)
JM shred + 6 week 6 pack (pm with sis)

10km run (am)
JM trouble zones + 6 week 6 pack (pm)

6 week 6 pack (am)
Spin class (pm)

5km santa shuffle

Long run, TBD


I’m not sure what I expected, not working out for 3 weeks…. but it’s very discouraging to discover I can no longer run as fast as I could 3 weeks ago, and doing Jillian Michaels makes me extremely tired instead of just moderately tired.  I could barely do 4 speed intervals on the treadmill at between 8.3 and 8.6, when normally I can do 5-10 intervals at 8.6.  I know (hope?) the speed should come back soon, but it’s making my Boston qualifying in May dreams seem unlikely.

SO while I did really enjoy my vacation and realllly wanna go back, it kinda screwed up my training.

It’s also nice to be home to snuggle with Sam… I missed this face:


Anyone else experience post vacation loss of speed/fitness?
How fast does it return?

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