Rest Day Musings – Body Image

I’m on a rest day today and it’s absolutely needed.

I ran to work on Tuesday morning, then did some pretty hard climbs in the evening. Then I committed myself to doing a strength workout after work that was focused on runners.

And, I think I developed a mild case of tricep tendonitis, so I’ve got some KT tape lighting up my arm.

Anyway, my mind seems to be doing some weird things to my self esteem lately so I thought I’d share.

This is what I look like these days:

Despite the less-than-flattering pictures, I’m not fat by any definition. I’d even say that I’m fairly fit and trim, and I’m getting pretty close to the Wonder Woman/Amazoness build at a measly 5’4″.

In fact, I’m like 85% sure that the reason I haven’t been hit on by random men recently is because my muscular arms are on display in the summer. Whatever, the Monsieur seems to find them sexy!

I’ve also gained roughly 10lbs in the last 12 months.

I know that it’s mostly muscle and not fat. I’m still (more or less) fitting into my clothes without issue, so I clearly haven’t expanded too much. My legs, butt and shoulders have changed shape so some of my jeans are too tight because of that, but I’m okay with having toned, firm limbs. And a sexy butt.

And yet, a part of my mind thinks that I’m big, and not in a good way.

I know that I’m not big. I don’t think anybody could reasonably argue that a size 2 or 4 is big. I’m much more muscular and defined than last year, and I physically and mentally feel much better, so there shouldn’t be anything I feel bad about.

But I still can’t get over the fact that I gained 10lbs.

What’s worse is that I’m pretty sure it’s all in my head.

xoxo,

B.elle

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Run Commuting – First Time Learnings

For the first time ever, I ran to work.

Or at least… I ran to the gym next to work.

Okay, fine, I attempted to run to the gym next to work, but only got in 5km out of 7.5km because I got too tired for my liking and my overall pace was about 1 min/km slower than what it usually is.

I have to emphasize that it was my OVERALL pace. That means I was running a hell of a lot slower at some points and at my usual pace at other times.

I also ran with this daypack:

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The Gregory Maya 10 has a nice big pocket for a hydration pack right on the back with a small latch on the shoulder straps to secure the hose and valve pretty easily. So, instead of carrying around a water bottle, I just filled my hydration bladder to about 1L and slid it right in!

That was probably the best idea I had about run commuting since I freed up my hands and could focus more about form.

The worst idea I had about run commuting is bringing 1L of water! That’s 1kg of extra weight on your back, not including clothes, make-up, flats and essentials!

This is what else I learned:

  • Running along the subway route provides a great alternative to finish the commute to work if you’re gassed out (like I was)
  • A gym nearby with a place to stretch, has towel service and showers literally saves a lot of weight off your back
  • Consider leaving a pair of nicer looking shoes at work so you don’t have to bring a pair ALL THE TIME
  • Travel sized toiletries and makeup are the best thing ever
  • A 10L daypack is not big enough to carry more than clothes and shoes
  • I find it a lot easier to run to work than from work
  • There’s a ton of people who workout before starting the work day! Holy crap!
  • Changing too many things about a workout routine at once results in really, really low energy even if you eat enough
  • Freeing up the evening while getting a workout for the day is so liberating

This was on Wednesday. I also attempted a double workout yesterday with a run commute and climbing after work, which I’ll report on next, and I’m feeling pretty okay today! I think this will definitely be incorporated into my HM training from now on.

Of course, this means that I’ll probably have more ~*amazing*~ gems of advice from my run commutes.

xoxo,

B.elle

Training for Half Marathon

I may be biting off more than I can chew, but I think I’m going to be using Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Schedule: Intermediate 1.

I used Hal Higdon’s plan for the Nike race back in 2015 and it worked well for me since it’s very accommodating to non-competitive runners like me, and it leaves some room for rock climbing.

Of course, I haven’t exactly run high mileages for a long time, so this could be a plan doomed to fail!

The biggest concern I have now is that I have a lot more things on the go, compared to my life pre-accident. Work sometimes has me working in the evenings or part of the weekends, and I’m making more of an effort to see friends and family, who are more often available during the evenings.

Idea: Start run commuting! It’s about 7.4km from my house to my office, so I could use up half my weekly runs by running to the office and taking a shower at the nearby gym.

Of course, this means that I would have to switch memberships to take advantage of those showers, so this means I’ll have to make sure that I’m not going to be paying extraordinary fees…

We’ll see what happens!

xoxo,

B.elle

Registered Races

In my last post, I mentioned that I’m not very motivated to train properly when I don’t have a solid race in mind.

So, with that in mind, I signed up for a couple fall races with the Canadian Running Series!

Race Confirmation

Oasis Zoo Run Toronto 2017

I typically run the Oasis Zoo Run and really enjoy it even though it’s got a bunch of hills, but I didn’t go last year because I had to go to Baltimore for work at the same time.

This time, I’m running the 10K and I’m excited to go back to beat my race time of 01:05 (ish).

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (Half) Marathon 2017

I was training for a half marathon before I got into the car accident, so I know I was physically capable of getting up to long runs of 19K. Theoretically, I can do it again, and I really hope I’ll be able to do it according to my corral time – 02:15!

But, I’m thinking that I need to get myself out running more often, which I’m hoping won’t get in the way of my rock climbing training. I’ve run to the rock climbing gym before (about 5.5km) with a Gregory backpack, but then I’m limited to just bouldering since I don’t have the space to pack my harness and GriGri.

Any suggestions on how to balance running and rock climbing? There’s only so many hours in a day!

xoxo,

B.elle

Like a Phoenix!

It’s aliiiiiiiiiiiiiiive!

Okay, so I really fell out of love with blogging because of a new job, recovering from that concussion, learning more about climbing and just life in general.

However! I realized this year that I need a race to get me motivated to actually stick to a running schedule… Also, the whole online-peer pressure that comes with blogging about something really helps keep me on track.

So, let’s dust off this blog and have some fun this summer!

xoxo,

B.elle

MEC Toronto Race FOUR – Race Report (5K)

Since the accident, I’ve only gone running three times and they were all between 2km and 3km distances. I didn’t want to rush into anything, but I’ll admit that the lack of running was driving me absolutely nutty until I laced up again!

Luckily, the short runs went as well as they could (hey, it was about 12°C outside when I last ran, not 25°C!).

I realized on Thursday through Instagram that MEC Toronto’s Race FOUR was happening this weekend and decided that this would be the best opportunity to really gauge my recovery progress.

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Event: MEC Toronto Race FOUR – 5K
Date: June 19, 2016
Time: 9:20am
Fees: $15CAD online, $25CAD at the race
Personal Goal: Finish the race without injury

The race also offered 10K and Half Marathon distances and took place at the Tommy Thompson area. The Annual Runner’s Expo also took place with many brand partners like Brooks Canada, Hoka One One, Nuun, Spider Tech, Vita Coco and more!

Training

Like I mentioned, this race would be the first time attempting 5km after the accident.

I ran a few times at 2km and 3km within the last couple weeks just to gauge how I was feeling and just decided to give it a shot!

Race Day Prep

The weather forecast called for clear skies and highs of 30C, so it was going to be mighty hot and bright at 9am!

Breakfast was pretty simple: 2 slices of toast with peanut butter and Nutella, and a cup of coffee. It’s only a 5K, but I knew I’d hang around for a while after the race to check out the vendors, too.

I prepped my hand-held water bottle, white hat, light singlet and loose shorts in preparation of the race. The worst situation in my mind would be overheating during and after the race.

The TTC doesn’t operate very frequently down to Tommy Thompson on Sunday mornings so I drove down there and I was pleasantly surprised to see it fairly packed at 8:30am! I ended up parking in a plaza about a 5 minute walk away, but I always like seeing high participation rates even if it ends up being super crowded.

I actually jogged half the way to the registration tent to kind of test how my legs were feeling. Good thing I did because my hamstrings were screaming for some intense stretching!

Once I registered, I did some intense lunges and had some Spider Tech k-tape put onto my shoulders to help prevent further whiplash aggravation.

Unlike the other races I’ve been to, there’s absolutely no chance of rain! Woo hoo!

Start line – Nice hot day, light breeze, and the crowd was pretty chill for a race.

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Good general rules for most races, as well as conservation areas

I noticed a few runners all decked in in hydration gear for the 5K, which is normally a bit silly, but I was also carrying my own little water bottle because it was so damn hot!

I also noticed a few younger runners in high-collared tshirts and longer tights who also looked a bit nervous. Uhh… I hope they’ll be okay if this is their first outdoor run. Good thing there’s marshalls all over the place!

There was also a pair of ladies in hiking shorts and sling bags. I vaguely wondered if they knew this was the MEC race, not the run/walk race for cancer that was happening the same day…

1km – The running cap helps keep the sunlight off. Very happy for the cap. Should consider getting some sunglasses but I’d need prescription ones and that’s just not happening right now…

This trail is looking pretty nice! I should come down here more often… Dave would like this area.

OH, LOOK A BIRD!

[Random running thoughts continue.]

2km – The sun’s starting to feel really hot now. At this point, I’ve really found my groove and I’m using driving rules to move ahead of the slower runners on their left.

I also noticed that there seems to be a slight issue with my left plantar fascia is starting to get a little irritated. Maybe a slight change of pace and form would do the trick…

2.5km – Hydration station and turnaround point.

I didn’t feel like I should be changing my pace and form just yet because of my foot, which was feeling much better, so I chose not to grab a cup from the volunteer and took a swig from my water bottle as I swung around the turnaround pylon.

2.75km – Oh, there’s one of those runners in high-collared tshirts. Poor thing looks absolutely miserable…

Better chug a bit more water to make it through safely.

4km – At this point, I’m wondering if it’s wise for me to be drinking so much warm water instead of cool since I’m fairly sure all the water I’m drinking seems to be dripping down my face.

A quick glance to the watch also tells me that I’m running faster than I set myself to do. Slowing it down would be a good idea, huh?

4.9km – There’s an older gentleman just ahead of me. I can beat him to the finish line.

Is he speeding up…? Oh, NO, he so did NOT just speed up! HOW DARE YOU.

KICKING IT NOW.

5K FINISH – I made it across at full sprint! I haven’t done that in a long, long time and it feels AMAZING.

I check my watch and it says 32:42. Not too shabby, all things considered!

Post-Race

MEC doesn’t hand out participation medals, so I just went straight back into the vendor’s area to check out the sponsors and what they were offering.

I don’t think they were allowed to sell anything (any money exchange here would’ve been a nightmare), but they gave out plenty of samples!

The folks at Eload Sports Drink has a pretty good electrolyte formula for better hydration after a hard run. Even though I drank all of my own water, the Eload drink really helped me recover a lot faster.

Although, I will say that it was the first recovery drink that I had right after the race, so I can’t tell if it’s superior to Nuun or coconut water!

I’ll also be looking out for Endurance Tap, which is an all natural energy “gel” that’s mostly maple syrup! They’re selling it online for about $3.25 per shot, so it’s not a terrible price for a start-up product.

Here’s my official results:

 

Overall 5K placement: 187

Chip time: 32:22.1

As usual, MEC did a great job organizing and marshalling the race!

I love MEC races because they’re much smaller than ones organized by Canada Running Series and, even though they don’t have as much swag or tech like finisher’s medals and multiple timing mats, they’re extremely professional and organized at all fronts.

Until next time!

B.elle

Updates and a Concussion

It’s been a looong time since I’ve posted and I’m really, truly sorry about that! It just occurred to me that it’s already June and I hadn’t posted since… January.

What’s gotten me so busy? Is it work? Is it training? Did I get abducted and go off on a crazy, Taken-like adventure?

Mostly the first two, not so much the third.

Work

I work at a start-up beverage company and things have changed a LOT in the last 6 months, so I’ve had to start reevaluating what I’m doing and I’m still currently trying to find the right action to take. There’s been a lot of background conflicts that don’t personally involve me, but it’s definitely changed the way the company functions so it’s put me in a position where I need to stand back and consider my overall career path.

I can’t really give more details, but it’s a bit of a struggle!

Training – Running

I still run and rock climb! At least, I’m still into running and rock climbing…

I had signed up for the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon that took place on May 29th. I haven’t been really training as hard as I did for the Nike 15K last year since I knew I already have a pretty solid running base to finish a half marathon. It wouldn’t be a great finish time, but I would rather finish safely than go fast and injure myself.

Since I already convinced myself of that, I wasn’t really that motivated to really push! But, I did manage to run 19km a couple weekends before the race. Yay!

But, I got a mild concussion 2 weeks before the race, so I decided not to run the race to prevent further injury.

Training – Rock Climbing

I hadn’t signed up for any competitions (I’m so not ready to compete by any defintion), but I was climbing about once a week either top-roping with friends or bouldering on my own.

I can’t really remember which grading level I left off at, but I think I had completed a couple of 5.10b routes for top-rope and I believe I had finished a few V2s in bouldering.

Luckily, my physiotherapist just gave me the green light to resume rock climbing again, but she advised that I shouldn’t go beyond 5.8 to make sure my shoulder and neck won’t be damaged.

Concussion? Physiotherapist? What happened?!

I got into a car accident on May 15th! Here’s what happened to my poor car:

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RIP Lola the Corolla

Basically, I was rear-ended by a car which was smashed into by another car being driven by a VERY drunk driver. Since my car was fairly old, the poor thing was a total write-off by the insurance companies.

It was actually caught on a dash-camera by a lovely couple who stayed behind to help out, which you can see here. (WARNING: May be disturbing for some viewers.)

A few local news outlets reported the incident and a bunch of my friends were quick to show me the video.

As mentioned in the news, the drunk driver had left the scene on foot but what they didn’t mention was that he had tried to discard valuable documents and attempted to start his car shortly after the collision.

Insane? VERY. The accident happened at around 5:50pm on a Sunday and the guy blew over 80! Who does that?!

Anyway, I could go on and on about what happened that day, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Mom was in the passenger seat and she saw the paramedics about head and neck aches, so she got examined, but I was feeling pain-free and so I opted not to be examined. I was completely aware that I’d most likely feel some symptoms in the next few days, but I could recount many details to the officers, so I didn’t think too much about it.

I stayed home the day afterwards to monitor my mom and, at exactly 11:41am, my vision blurred and my focus and concentrate disappeared instantly.

I went to the doctor’s and they sent me away without a CT scan, but they told me that I probably suffered a very mild concussion.

The next few days were incredibly surreal and frustrating for me because I was told to rest without looking at a screen or reading, which means no tv, no video games, no books, no comic books and definitely no running or climbing.

I almost went insane! I’m so used to always being in motion and recovering from a concussion really made me take a step back and chill. (As best as I could while complaining to all of my friends, at least.)

Luckily, it’s been exactly a month since the accident and I’m doing much better. In fact, I’ve already resumed a very cautious comeback into running and I’m aiming to climb again on Sunday.

This month also seems to be a month of massive change, so hopefully I’ll be posting again soon with good news!

Yours always,

B.elle