Thursday, October 28, 2010

All those pushups…

So I’ve been delinquent in blogging lately, but I have been trying to do pushups. I’m not sure what I’m up to as I haven’t tested in a while, but I’m sure it’s more than it was previously.

2010-10-27 (6)

Pushup #8 – In front of TV. Take that Hannah Montana.

2010-10-27 (3)

Pushup #9 – On the couch. Take the The Brick and Cindy Crawford.

2010-10-27 (8)

Pushup #10 – Up the stairs.

2010-10-27 (9)

Pushup #11 – Down the stairs. Blood…..rushing….to…head….

And now, for an unhealthy addition to my rather healthy blog.


The Double Down from KFC. I’ve heard about it. I never knew what it was until a coupon came in the mail. Good grief, where’s the bun? Oh, the chicken is the bun. Where’s the veggies? Um, jalapeno in the monterey jack. Does that count? My goodness. My verdict…. meh. It’s not gross, but it’s not good either. The reason I tried it is because I love food, and I’ll try anything, and like the Baconator, it’s something that I just had to try. Don’t worry mom, I won’t be eating one of these again.

I actually made it out for a run this morning. I tested my 400m, 800m and 1 mile runs.

400m is 1:10:52. The goal was 2:04. Booyah Smile

800m in 2:54:91. The goal was 4:20. Smoked that one Open-mouthed smile

1 mile is 6:29:83. The goal was 9 minutes. Not bad, but I would like to have been under 6 minutes. Perhaps I will try my 1 mile run before the other 2 distances next time.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Pushups on a plane?

Muahahaha! These truly can be done anywhere!


Pushup #7 – On a plane! This one is thanks to a suggestion from dear father in law.

No running in a week. The break has been good, but I’m rearing to go! I’ll probably ease into it next week! It’s still quite nice here and I have a few times to get. They should be fairly attainable.

1) 800m run in 4:20

2) 400m run in 2:04

3) 1 mile run in 9 minutes



Monday, October 18, 2010

Drop down and give me 100!!!

So in my quest for 100 pushups, I found some more ways to do them! Read on :-)

2010-10-15 (1) Pushup #4 – At the track, post run, in VFF Treksports. Yeah yeah!

2010-10-15 (2)Pushup #5 – Up the bleachers!

2010-10-15 (3)  Pushup #6 – DOWN the bleachers.

I ran on Friday for the first time in my new Treksports. So this is what I noticed:

1. HOT! These VFFs cover the tops of my feet unlike my Sprints or Classics, and I noticed that my feet heat up quickly. Man, I must be fast.

2. Squishy. The thicker sole is quite noticeable after running so long in Sprints. This is going to be great for the trails. I’m not talking shock-absorption thickness, but noticeably softer thickness. Methinks it’s a good thing, plus it’s preparing me for the mukluks.

3. SUPER-comfy! They have a different material inside of them. Not sure if this is model specific or subject to the whole VFF brand, but they were comfy to wear, even with my worn-out-leper-like-heel-blisters.

2010-10-15 (4) October 15th, 2010. First snowfall. Oh yeah! Me likey! Mukluk running here I come! I just need my mukluks now!

So after 1 week of the 100 pushup routine here is what I have discovered. My triceps are weak-weak-weak! I need to work on that if I want to get to the full 100. I also discovered that a faster tempo will get the job done with much less effort, however it will require a lot of anaerobic muscle work. I also need to work on proper hand placement to maximize my results! Here’s to week 2!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Pushups Anywhere!

Since I am in week 1 of my 100 pushup challenge, I figure I would explain the benefits of doing pushups. Pushups are great for many reasons:

1. They strengthen the upper body, specifically the triceps, deltoids and pectoral muscles.

2. They are a functional, multi-joint exercise.

3. The are a closed kinetic chain exercise, meaning they can be done safely with little risk of injury and with better control.

4. They make you look really good if done correctly. The thing I like about the program I am doing is that it also involves strengthening the back and biceps, core, lower back and shoulders. This prevents the hunched-shoulder look that so many people develop from overworking their chest. Strengthening the back literally pulls the shoulders back, and I am happy to do this as I don’t want to look like a muscle goon.

5. But most of all, I like pushups cause you can do them ANYWHERE! See below for examples.

2010-10-13 (1) Pushup #1 – At the gym

2010-10-14 (1) Pushup #2 – At the office

2010-10-14 (2) Pushup #3 – On my boss’ desk (seriously).

I will continue to post clever places to do pushups. I will even take suggestions for creative locations. See what you can come up with.

2010-10-14 (3) My Treksport VFFs came in yesterday! While my parents were travelling through the US, they stopped at REI and picked me up a pair! So awesome! My mom calls them monkey shoes, so she asked the sales clerk for “monkey shoes” and apparently he got very offended and said “They’re Vibram Five Fingers!!!”. My dad then said: “Don’t your feet have toes, not fingers?”. Oh well, thanks mom and dad!

2010-10-14 (4) They’ve got tread which will be great for the trails! They also have a slightly thicker sole, which will be super nice for those sharp pointies that nature seems to leave everywhere.

2010-10-14 (5) As you can see, the shoes were a little big for me, but I think I will grow into them.

2010-10-12 (2) I was driving home the other day and I pulled up behind this semi. The bumper sticker made me smile. It so beats those I *Heart* my Shih-Tzu stickers.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Season of Change

ThanksgivingWell, Thanksgiving has come and gone (although today is still the official holiday). It also marked the completion (or incompletion in my case) of the 10-10 Virtual Race. I had signed up for 100 miles of running, but in my over-ambitious state I bit off more than I could chew and could not complete the total mileage. That’s fine though, because I did complete roughly 132 kilometers in about 14 hours. I’ll live. But all the running made me realise that I had neglected strength training. My squats have become unstable and choppy, upper body strength has diminished (only 24 pushups!!!) and I just feel weakened.

outline700So starting yesterday, I’ve started a 100 pushup in 10 weeks routine. This doesn’t mean that I have 10 weeks to do 100 pushups, lol, but at the end of this 10 weeks I’ll be able to do 100 pushups in a row. I think it’s a fantastic goal with huge benefits! Pushups are one of those exercises that I just want to be good at, and there is no equipment needed and they can be done anywhere. I’ve even had the inspiration to take 100 different photos of me doing a pushup in 100 different locations. Hmmmm…. Sunday, December 19th is the completion of this routine.

martin parnellAlso, by the end of this week my mukluks should have shipped and I can continue running as the weather cools off. Now that is exciting. However, my pushup training is taking priority and I will start building up mileage for my first ever marathon on December 31st with Marathon 250’s Martin Parnell. It will be his 250th of the year here in Cochrane, and my first, but I will be along side him in my sweet new mukluks (I’m not trying to steal the show, BTW)! I encourage everyone who is able to come out and join Martin on his run!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Hardest Run Ever

Sunday is a good day for running. Saturday’s I take off of running to get everything done that needs getting done. Sunday mornings are Lorne time on weekends for running or doing something of the like.

The run this morning wasn’t hard, despite what the blog title shows. In fact, it was quite easy. Run data can be found here.

The reason this run was the hardest ever is because I was constantly checking my pace, making sure I’m running at speed, not resting when I should, and pushing myself beyond what I can and should do. I was forgetting why I run, and to me that is a big disappointment. I run for the freedom of it, the feel of motion, the swish of air, the trickle of the river and creek. I don’t run for the competition, to be the best ever or to brag about it. I run because I love to run.

This past weekend a coworker of mine was running in a half marathon. The results were posted and she ran a 1:32. I instantly went on to my run pace calculator to find out how fast she ran, yadda yadda. I instantly thought I could train to do better, and then I went off for my run. How quickly I forgot why I run, and I spent the time crunching numbers and paces in my head. So when my body said no more, I kept running, but then my thoughts slowed and I returned to myself. I found a bench and sat on it for 10 minutes, forgetting that I wanted to finish my run in a certain time. That 10 minutes did wonders to me as I remembered myself, learned that aching ankles meant a slow walk back home and that I run because I love it, not because I love to win. So perhaps my next run will involve putting the watch somewhere I cannot constantly check it. So the hardest part of this run was the mental challenge it posed to me, not the physical demands of running. Keep that in mind Lorne…

I thought to myself that if I could wish (Aladdin style) to be a faster runner, my body would be able to do it but my mind wouldn’t. Like all of a sudden, if I could run a 20 minute 5km as I am now, my mind would not be able to handle that sort of sudden adjustment. So as I physically train towards that goal, I also mentally train. If I could physically run a 100 mile endurance race tomorrow (which is another goal), I would  not be able to handle it mentally. I always have to keep in mind that my mind needs to adjust along with my physical abilities in running.

All said and done, I did take photos while I was out there. I am experimenting with my camera to take shots while in motion, and I think I am getting better.

003 I ran my loop clockwise rather than my usual counter-clockwise to get the hill out of the way. Just before this, a cyclist passed me asking me how the barefoot running was going. 1.5km of gravel ensued…

004 Looking down towards Cochrane. Photos slightly overexposed. That’s okay.

007 Running down towards the Ranchehouse and highway 22. I passed another runner just before this photo.

008 My beloved single-track of the Ranchehouse Ravine. Good stuff!

009 A week ago, all the leaves were still up. Winds knocked them all down. Too bad, but nice a squishy under the feet.

010 Hehehe. No alternate route was used.

011 Running towards the Farmer’s Market. Still some leaves up, but not nearly as many as compared to last week.

012 The nice thing about running from the Ranchehouse to the river is that it is a steady downhill.

013 Running under Griffin Road.

014Running along the river towards Mitford Park, which is at the top of the hill.

015  Running up the hill (well, walking) and looking out over Bow Ridge and Jumpingpound Ridge. Man, the overexposed photos make it look cold.

016 Running against the current of the Bow River. I stopped up ahead to reflect on my running and took a video.

Nothing like the gentle gurgle of a river to make your mind relax. Thank you Bow River for helping me realize.

019 Taking the cheater’s shortcut back into my neighbourhood. Usually, if this soil is wet, it is so sticky it’s amusing. Like seriously, your feet will weigh 50lbs each after a few steps. Don’t even attempt to ride a bike through it when it’s wet either. Last time left me digging sticky goo out of my tires for a 1/2 hour.

020 Home sweet home. They are planting trees and fixing the entrances to our complex (thank goodness). It will look good next summer!


Saturday, October 2, 2010


Well, not to be a bandwagon jumper-onner, but I tried chia seeds in the form of Chia Fresca / Iskiate. Yes, I was introduced to iskiate in the book Born to Run, and yes, I tried it due to that book. For the record, I was running barefoot long before I ever even heard of that book. But what’s wrong with learning about new stuff and trying new things? Anyway, enough ranting…

2010-10-02 (1) I found Chia seeds at The Healthy Hut in Cochrane, much to my delight. I used the recipe I found in a trail running magazine I received as part of my Powderface42 race package. It said to sweeten the drink with Organic Brown Rice Syrup (which I also found at the Healthy Hut). I don’t think the Tarahumarans had that, but I figured what the hey… Lime is for a rather refreshing flavour.

2010-10-02 (2) The recipe is 1c (250ml) water, 1 tbsp Chia, 1tbsp syrup (I just dip the spoon and mix with it) and lime to taste. Chia seeds are a little weird as they gel when they contact water (probably why they were chosen for Chia pets). So the drink comes out slightly jellyish, but it goes down easily (at least for me).

So what’s the advantage? Well, they contain a lot of fibre (5g/ tbsp), which isn’t really good for running activities but good for digestion, calcium, iron, magnesium and various other goodies. But their main benefit is their content of essential fatty acids, omega 6 and omega 3. Chia seeds have anti-inflammatory benefits that can benefit the runner during a workout. The idea is to take iskiate prior to a run, and since it can take up to 4 hours to digest, the benefits of such seeds are slowly released during exercise. This creates an “ibuprofen”-esque reaction in the body, reducing inflammation. Sounds a little too good to be true, but my sore ankles and feet from yesterday’s run have gone away today. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, maybe not. I’m going to try it again tomorrow morning prior to my run and see if it’s effect can help my run. Perhaps those Tarahumarans were on to something.

Next recipe to try out is pinole.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Calgary River Valley

I’ve been thinking it’s a good idea to run in Calgary in the mornings as there is a little bit more ambient light and more established pathways. I haven’t yet purchased a headlamp yet, so running trails around Cochrane at 530am just isn’t feasible.

So this morning took me out to Valley Ridge in West Calgary. I wanted to run along the river to Shouldice and back through Bowness. Run data can be found here.

Lucky for blog readers, I brought my camera.

2010-10-01 (2) Mysterious hero shot in Valley Ridge. It was actually pitch black, but setting the exposure long enough let in a lot of light.

2010-10-01 (4) Running the bridge under Stoney Trail. I’ve always wanted to run this path, and I finally got to! It’s quite peaceful and serene under there with all the hub-bub of traffic above.

2010-10-01 (5) Looking east along the Bow River. It was so warm and peaceful this morning.

2010-10-01 (6) This is the top of Waterfall Valley. There is TONS of singletrack in there I didn’t know about. Perhaps it will make some really good training grounds.

2010-10-01 (7) Crossing Shouldice Bridge into Bowness. I’ve always driven past this bridge (on the left) but never actually walked / ran it. First time for everything!

2010-10-01 (9) Just off Bowness, there is an island that is a bit of Nature Preserve! It was great! I love running along the river!

2010-10-01 (11) Stoney Trail as seen from below. That bridge is a LONG way up there.

2010-10-01 (12) Fall colours out in their full glory on the return to Valley Ridge.

2010-10-01 (13)I couldn’t pass up this opportunity for a photo! I think it turned out great! People who live in Valley Ridge are very lucks to have such fantastic scenery! Off to the left is a steep drop through pine forests to the river! So pretty!

I love running for the sake of running! It is a means to itself! I started out the run this morning a bit stiff, but loosened up as I went along. The only thing I noticed is sore hip flexors from running figure 4’s the whole time. My body is adapting though, and the distances are getting easier. Currently, my low effort pace is 6:00/km, and I would like to move that to 5:00/km. Eventually.

I also broke my 5km record yesterday at the SLS Track! I shaved a whopping 1:03 off my time. Ran it in my VFF’s in 21:44! Woop woop!