Sunday, October 16, 2011

Back on Track

Running has been hit and miss through the last few months.  My father's illness and death, combined with a new school and new responsibilities, have left me a bit crushed.  

It felt great to get outside on a real fall day today to get a nice 10K in along Superior.  This connection with the outdoors is what I love most about running.  Today the tamaracks were showing their change to yellow, and I loved all these little tamaracks along the road, mimicking their parents in the forest just beyond.

I also love the chance to listen to my favourite podcasts and music, and to just have some time to think while running.

I was so worried in the first few K's because my heart rate would not go down.  When it spiked at 200 I stopped and walked for a few minutes.  But, it came around after awhile.  I realize now that I have had a bad cold this past week and I am clearly not completely over it yet.

This was my coldest and windiest run since last spring.  I started at only 4C.  The leaves have all blown down over the last 48 hours in some unrelenting winds.  The fall clouds and low sun angles leave such a beautifully characteristic landscape.

This little inukshuk is ready for the colder weather!

A victim of the high winds this week:

A beautiful spot for my 5K turnaround:

And look!  I found the end of the rainbow!

No pot of gold, but the people building this place on Superior must have one!

And this shot just because this is what the ground looks like everywhere right now!

 I listened to this podcast while running today: The Hurried Child: CBC Radio Ideas.

 It is relevant for teachers who are involved in the new play-based kindergarten curriculum, and for any new parent or grandparent.

Overall, a pretty good post-illness run.  I need to work on just getting through a 10K without breaks at a better pace than this so I may take another week just to push the pace a bit harder before moving up to 12K.  


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Hurkett July 10K

It was a perfect morning for a run.  Sunny, 13 C, calm.  I had a 10K scheduled, just to see where my training is at this point.  I headed down the highway, hoping to catch a glimpse of Jean Beliveau, who was walking in my area.  He had been spotted about 45 km NE of Thunder Bay the afternoon before.
I drove toward Nipigon, watching for him, and finally came to the spot near Hurkett where I hit a bear back in 2000.  I had never been to Hurkett in the summer, so I decided that today was the day, and I turned off the highway.  Hurkett is actually a little community on the rail line with a federal dock on Lake Superior.  
The last time I was at the dock was last winter.  Interestingly, one of the boats that was there in the winter (Donna 1) was still there.

I had to laugh, though, because the other boat docked was named "Jimmie N".

Too funny!  I headed out.  I decided to just run where I felt like running until I made up the full 10 K.  Running down all the little side roads always means that I have to keep track in my head of the distance I still need to travel until the turnaround, since I never want to do those little detours more than once.  

I learned very early in the run why little signs like this are so important!

You can see from the picture, though, how nice the road was for running today.  Too bad this was only a 1.4 km section out to the harbour (the rest was pavement).

The biggest problem I have with running is sheer boredom.  Luckily I love wildflowers, and the roadside flowers were gorgeous.  Lots of purple vetch....

Near the train tracks, I saw this rather rare clump of black-eyed susans.  I'd love some of these for my garden!

Out on the main road, near the turnaround point, a long section of fireweed, with a special place in my heart since my time in the Yukon as a teenager.

At the far east end of Hurkett, one of the largest flower planters I have ever seen!

One of the things I most loved about my time in Hurkett was how many really large tamaracks there are in the area.  I must come back here in the fall when they are in their full golden glory.

By the time I arrived back at the dock, the temperature had gone up 7C from 13 C to 20 C, so I was quite warm, and happy to get a cold bottle of water.

No sign of Jean Beliveau walking the highway on my way back either.  Perhaps we will see him when we head south next week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Life Doesn't Stop and Wait

A month since my last post and while I am running - some - I have not been blogging. My work life took a wild turn in mid-June and I am finally recovering.  For the last while, everything in my life has had to take a back seat to my work.  I don't regret it or resent it, it just IS, and now I move on.

Heading out for a 10K, remembering that it's important to just LIVE your life.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Seizing the Early Morning

It was the early morning sunrise that pulled me DOWN the hill at the start of my run this morning so that I could get a better picture of Lake Superior and the Slate Islands.  The sun doesn't rise over the lake any more, as it did in the winter, but the colours can still be so beautiful.

Once down the hill a ways, I thought I might turn this into a hill repeat workout so I continued to run down to the lake.  A side trail that I haven't taken for awhile beckoned, so I ran down it until I reached these cobbles.  Running on single track early in the morning when nobody knows where you are is probably not the best plan, but asking for a twisted ankle out there is pushing it too far.

So, a quick turnaround and back out to the main road...

with a quick pause to shoot some late marsh marigolds under the rickety bridge.

After the hills on the trail, I knew this was not the morning for hill repeats.  I just was not into it, so I snaked back through the subdivision (all uphill) to finish just under my goal of 5 km.

What a beautiful start to the day.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Long Run in June

As a teacher, June was always hell.  As an administrator - well sleep is just not happening, so I am not going to beat myself up when the runs don't happen either.

Today the run happened and I will focus on that.

It was quite warm (22C) and I wanted to avoid boredom so I did a favourite route just off Nelson road, through Eldorado Beach and into Amethyst Beach on the north shore of Lake Superior, where the breezes were actually too chilly at times, but the roads are mainly gravel, there is hardly any traffic, and the scenery is, in places, outstanding.

We are looking at the Sibley peninsula in the distance, and at the end of the peninsula is the Sleeping Giant.

As I was running back to the car, I saw this classic camp sign.  Not everyone wants the whole world to know what family owns the camp!

So here are the stats.  It was actually 12 km - but I neglected to restart my watch for awhile after stopping to take a picture.  It's hard to cheat in an out and back though!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back on Track

Well, let's just say Week 17 was a complete write-off, and we are back on track for a beautiful Week 16.

I fought a bug and my brain all last week, and in spite of awesome intentions, I could not hit the pavement even once.

That was last week, this is this week.  I won't dwell on the past.

Today I fought with myself for 30 minutes to get out of bed, forgot my ipod and my HR monitor, didn't drink anything before leaving (and it's warm - 12C this morning), but even though my run was uncomfortable, it is done.  Not quite the 5K it should have been, but close, and better than 0K.

Morning scenery.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rest Day and Start of Week 17

A well-earned rest day today, and a good thing because I am going on about 3 hours' sleep and it is past midnight already.  Ah, the life of a high school principal.  So will I really get up in 5 hours and run when I haven't left work yet?

I did think a bit on how training should look this week.  I need to get an easy 5K in, then I'm thinking that some intervals would be good.  I haven't done intervals for awhile, so a day of "What can you do?" might be the place to start.

My sorta long run should be half of my long run, so 5 K at a faster pace, and my tempo run should be a 2 km warmup, then 6 km at under 6:30s.  My long run will have to be 12 km this week.

So, that's four days of running this week.  I can throw in a fifth 5K if I can handle it.  I'm thinking right now that 4 days is ambitious enough, especially if sleep deprivation like this continues!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Long Run At Last

It's 5:45 and the holiday weekend is winding down.  After a rainy, cold day (high of 9C) the sun is now out and it could be a beautiful evening.  The beagle is on the couch, whining because he is hungry.  He has slept for the last hour while I finished the run we started together.
I have struggled with getting my long run in this week.  Today, after a conversation Jim and I had last night about the difficulties of balancing all the responsibilities of being an adult with trying to train and be an athlete, I realized that if I was going to get that long run in, I was going to have to approach it differently.

I only needed to do 10 km, so I decided to integrate it with other things I needed to do today, and since this is my holiday Monday, I decided it also needed to be a fun and enjoyable as possible.

I threw away the idea of trying to do a specific pace, loaded the ipod with some good 'slow run' tunes and some new psychology lectures, grabbed the beagle and my Garmin and headed out the door in the cold, rainy weather.  I did 2.5 km with Basso, letting him track a rabbit near the 1.2 km mark, letting him pull me in all directions so he could hunt, and stopping to talk with some neighbours.  It was relaxing, but slow.  

I dropped Basso back at the house, grabbed some good drinks, changed into something cooler and headed out to finish the final 7.5 km.
One of my pet peeves!

The psychology lecture was really interesting - out of Yale - on diagnosing mental illness.  One in four women will have major depression during their lifetime.  The biggest age group for depression is 18 to 24, and while bipolar is hereditary, major depression is not always hereditary.  There is some interesting research showing that two abnormal alleles on the gene for seratonin uptake can lead to depression after a major stressful event.

The other interesting piece is the definition of mental illness.  In short, a condition that causes distress (in self or others), dysfunction and deviance.

So not a bad run.  I cheated a few times and turned off the timer while taking a drink, so that skewed the results somewhat, but I easily kept the pace under 8 km/hr when the beagle was missing.

I paid for it though.  I had to run part of my last kilometre over again when I forgot to turn the timer back on after my drink.  I was too busy pondering how cool it was that after listening to a lecture on depression for 8 km, the song on my iPod was "If it Makes You Happy" by Sheryl Crow.  Timely, too, with all the Lance allegations in the news again today.

I do have to admit, though, that I was pretty happy to get back home to this gorgeous tree in our front garden!

Tempo Run

This was supposed to be my long run day, but I managed to put my run off long enough that I had only an hour left - so no long run possible.  I should have been okay, but I couldn't find my hydration belt, I never did find my ipod, I couldn't find running clothes.  These are all the things that need to be automatically organized and cared for as a runner, but I don't feel like a runner again yet.

I am not enjoying my running.  It hurts.  I don't want to do it. 

Today is the Firefighters 10 Mile Road Race in Thunder Bay.  I should be there, running it out in the rain with all the other runners, but I am not ready.  I look forward to racing again, to being in shape so that I can just sign up for a run and do it, to proudly wear the t-shirt, to laugh with all the other runners.

So I keep going, knowing this pain will lead to something good, something I can be proud of.

I fought my run yesterday.  The first km was tough, but even though I was running on new gravel - ankle eater for sure - I started to flow after a km or two and I was able to do get the kind of pace I wanted.  

I actually did 4 km under 6:30.  During km 6 I dropped a bottle in the mud and stopped to clean it!  

So I still need to get a long run in.  It is pouring rain today, but I have tons of paperwork to catch up on and I may just need some slow time out there on the trails to break it up.

I can't wait to see how my friends made out in the 10 miler.  I will be with them in 2012!

Upcoming runs in the Thunder Bay area here:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hill Repeats

I've been under the weather this week - needing sleep and hungry constantly.  I'm not sure what's up but it was really hard to get out of bed no matter how many times that alarm rang!

Yesterday I procrastinated but finally got up and did a run down to the lake with hill repeats all the way back up.  It was a gorgeous morning and it was a tough workout.  I felt much, much better for having done it. The key is remembering how good I felt for having done it!

Sunrise over Lake Superior, Terrace Bay.

A few spring flowers.

Down on the beach at sunrise, Terrace Bay.