How is May Already Over?!?!

Is it just me, or did this past month go by super quickly?!? Before I know it, the summer will be over and I’ll be starting my final semester of university. I’m going to attempt to hold on to every inch of summer I can!

This past month was interesting, as it saw the rehab of knee, which meant no half-marathon. This made me kind of sad, because this is something that I worked really hard towards and it flopped. That being said, I know what I did wrong and what to fix going forward. Enough about my knee…below is what my month looked like!

Total Mileage This Month: 14. Not much I can do about this unfortunately. Though I feel that June will definitely be higher.

Best Performing Blog Post: Ironically enough, the best performing blog post this month was April is Done! I guess you guys like to read about how the month has looked as a whole.

How was the Strength Training this Month: Like I said on Monday, I wish I made more strides in the strength-training department but everyone’s bound to have off-cycles. I’m looking to make crazy gains in June so watch out!

Cool Products I Tried this Month: I posted this on Instagram a bit ago, but I’ve fallen in love with Clif’s Nut Butter Filled Bars. I’ll probably be doing a review on them in the near future, so keep your eyes pealed.

Clif Bar Nut Butter Filled

The coconut almond butter is my favourite flavour, but they have a hazelnut one that tastes like Nutella. Mmmmmm 

Cool Things I did: Treetop Trekking hands down. Read my review for it here.

Treetop Trekking Grounds

So much green space! The actual area where the treetop trekking takes place is just beyond the trees. This photo doesn’t do it justice, it’s huge!

What cool products did you guys try this month? Anything I should try/do a review on?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

 

 

 

April is Done!

The hardest month of my fitness journey is done! If you’ve been following along with my blog for the last little bit, you might’ve heard about my recent injury. Needless to say, it’s been tough to navigate. Despite that, I still got some decent mileage in, some great workouts, and wrote about some pretty cool stuff. Here’s what the month of April looked like for me:

Total Mileage: 45.7mi

This definitely had the potential to be higher if I hadn’t injured my knee. That being said, I think this is still pretty good. I found some cool trails and started to get the hang of taking gels and chews while on the run.

April is Done 1

I also mastered the art of selfie-ing mid-run!

Best Performing Blog Post: Half-Marathon No Longer

It sucks that I had to write that post, but it’s good to share not only all the good stuff that happens with running and weight lifting, but all the bad as well.

Favourite Product This Month: Clif Shot Energy Gels

Week 7 1

Like jam in a packet.

Favourite Strength Training Exercise: Although it’s a part of my abbreviated leg day, I love doing lying leg curls. It’s a great way to work your hamstrings, and you can do it unilaterally or isolaterally.

Worst Thing That Happened This Month: My meniscus tear. *insert crying emoji here*

 

How was the month of April for you guys? Anything exciting happen?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Half Marathon No Longer

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know what’s going on. Near the end of my long run on Tuesday, I felt a pop behind my knee on the right side. Since I didn’t have much left of my run, (and I’m stubborn), I decided to see it through to the end. As I limped through my cool down, I knew something wasn’t quite right. After stretching and rolling out for a bit, I would still get that popping sensation whenever there was any flexion in my left leg. Would I be able to run my half marathon? Would I be able to squat ever again? I’m a huge drama queen, but my mind started going to the worst places.

The Diagnosis

After three days of RICE and no progress, I decided that I should probably get my knee checked out. After describing my symptoms, the doctor examined my knee and ordered an ultrasound; all of which led to a torn meniscus. Aside from breaking both wrists and fracturing my ulna, I’ve never done anything like this so it’s a little scary. The doctor told me that anything that could aggravate my knee is out of the question until I’m pain free; this means no half marathon.

How am I Feeling

Really bummed. I feel like the last few months have just been flushed down the drain and have been a waste of time. All the time, energy, and money I’ve spent FEELS like it was wasted. In terms of my knee, I don’t have any issues walking, but stairs kill and I can’t do anything past a leisurely stroll. My range of motion is limited, and the right side of my knee is fairly swollen. The doctor that I spoke with gave me some exercises that I’m supposed to do once or twice a day, (they take about 5-10 minutes), in addition to a referral for physio. Since I’ve never been to physio, I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I’ll be sure to blog about my experience. I’m discouraged, but it’s time to heal.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Lesson Learned…

Usually I like to do a weekly recap on Mondays, but I had a really interesting, (if you want to call it that), run today that I felt was a little more important to document than what I did this past week. I’m considering this a lesson learned, although I feel like it’s a rookie mistake…hear me out:

Today was supposed to be my long run for the week. I tend to do my long runs on Mondays, since it gives me enough time to take a rest day afterwards and then get back on track. Since getting my Garmin for my birthday, I’ve stopped running with my phone so I only bring keys, gels, (if needed), my iPod, and a hydration pack, (if needed). Today was no exception. Daniel happened to be working from home today and advised that I throw in some Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator in my hydration pack to which I obliged. I checked the weather one last time before heading out when I saw that it was scheduled to rain pretty heavy in the evening. Not a big deal though, since I was already suited up for my run and it wasn’t even 2:00. Off I go.

Lesson Learned 1

Smiling because I don’t know what’s in store for me yet!

My route was one that I’ve done before, the only difference was that I ran to the end of the trail and had to continue on the street. I planned an out-and-back, with the turn around point being at 6.6 miles. The turn around point was also at the bottom of the hill, so when it was time to turn around, I had to go back up and gassed it a little too hard, (problem number 1). Once the elevation began to even out, I went to drink some of my Vega only to discover that I finished it all. 1.5L down and I was only just over half way through, (problem number 2). This meant that my chews had to be put on the backburner since I didn’t have any liquids to take them with, (and Clif Bloks are MASSIVE – also problem number 3). Again, not the end of the world, I was just probably going to be fatigued more than usual.

As I approached a highway overpass, I got a really good look at the sky and realized how gray it was. I thought to stop since I was passing potential shelter, (a gas station), but kept going since it wasn’t even raining. Two blocks later, I saw a giant bolt of lightning about 200 yards away from me. Game over. My world started to crumble…especially when I realized I had no bus pass, no money, and no phone. The level of screwed I was was unreal. Desperate, I ran to a convenience store and asked to use their phone. I was so thankful when they said yes, and I quickly tried to remember Daniel’s phone number, (damn you speed dial). After telling Daniel my dilemma and where I was, he rushed over and picked me up. Literally as soon as I got off the phone with him, the sky opened up and it really poured. “You really should have some money on you or something.” Daniel said. Yeah. You’re telling me.

I’m so thankful that my boyfriend was home, or else I would’ve been crazy stranded. I never thought to run with money or a bus pass before despite hearing it all the time, but now that I was in this situation, I’m thinking about it a lot. Never doing that again, especially on a day where the weather’s bad.

Lesson Learned

Right where I crossed the 401 is where things got a little hairy.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

End of Week Check In (Week 2 of Half-Marathon Training)

I’m really hoping that I can keep this momentum going…so far, I haven’t missed any workouts and still have had gas left in the tank. This is what my week looked like in detail:

Monday

4mi Run – 10:34/mi avg pace and a moving time of 42:26 minutes. The route that I ran for this run wasn’t the route I intended; I took a wrong turn and didn’t realize until .5mi later, (oops). It was still a good run though, and faster than expected, (even with some snow on the ground)!

weekly-recap-week-2

Tuesday

Back & Biceps:

-5 min Warm Up

-One-Arm Bicep Curls: 30lbs @ 5 sets x 21 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Back Extension: 150lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Standing Barbell Curl: 50lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Roman Chair: 35lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps (1 min rest in between sets)

-Hammer Curls: 25lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Lat Pulldown: 40lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-5 min cool down

Wednesday

Legs:

-5 min Warm Up

-Calf Press: 170lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Barbell Squats: 100lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Hip Adductor: 145lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Hip Abductor: 145lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-5 min Cool Down

I should probably note that I only work each muscle group in my legs once during a leg workout since I run three days a week.

Thursday

Rest Day

Friday

Intervals (Hills) – 2mi @ 11:01 avg pace with a moving time of 22:45. I must confess; I didn’t do the last set of hills because not only was it pretty windy, the snow was starting to come down and it just wasn’t working out for me.

Chest & Tris

-5 min Warm Up

-Assisted Dips: 100lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Bench Press: 50lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Tricep Press: 90lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Pec Fly: 80lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 35lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-Chest Press: 65lbs @ 5 sets x 25 reps total (1 min rest in between sets)

-5 min Warm up

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the issue I had during my bench press. I still managed to make do with what I had though.

Saturday

Rest Day

Sunday

Intervals – 3.4mi@ 10:38/mi avg pace with a moving time of 36:10

This week was pretty good and like I said, I’m really hoping I can keep this momentum up as the miles increase. One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve started training for my half is that I feel like I could workout even on the days where I scheduled a rest day. I even doubled up on the Friday and I still felt ok.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Weekly Recap (Jan 30th – Feb 5th)

This past week was honestly really great. It just happened to be one of those weeks where everything aligned and I was able to get all my workouts in with one rest day to spare. This past week was also the start of my Mississauga Half-Marathon training! One week down, 13 to go! Here’s what I did this week:

Monday

Intervals (Fartlek) – 2.2mi in 24:03, 10:46/mi avg pace

This was the first time I’d ever done a fartlek run and it’s actually my new favourite interval run. I did it on the treadmill since I hadn’t activated my gym membership yet, and it turned out to be a lot of fun! I’m looking forward to doing it on a track though.

Tuesday

Shoulders

-5min Warm up

-Standing Shoulder Press: 25 lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Delt Raise: 15lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

This workout kind of sucked because I did it at the condo gym during the evening so it was super packed. I didn’t really plan this workout out since every machine was in use, so I just did whatever I could.

Wednesday

Rest Day

Thursday

Intervals – 3.4mi…

This one is tricky because Strava says that my average pace is 14:23/mi and I know that’s not true since my slowest split was 11:36. Other than that, it was a really good treadmill interval session.

Back & Bis

-5min Warm Up

-One Arm Bicep Curls: 25lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Back Extension: 135lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Standing Barbell Curl: 40lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Roman Chair: 25lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Hammer Curls: 20lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Lat Pulldown: 35lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

This was the first workout in the new gym! It’s a great gym and I definitely made the right choice signing up. I so far have only gone during the evenings, but it isn’t super busy which is nice.

Friday

Legs

-5min Warm Up

-Calf Press: 160lbs, 5 sets by 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Barbell Squats: 90lbs (not including the bar), 5 sets x 5 sets w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Hip Adductor: 135lbs, 5 sets x 5 sets w/1 minute rest in between sets

This workout REALLY burned! I was up at my school’s main campus in Peterborough for the weekend and used their gym. My friend was picking me up in between classes so not only did I not get to finish my workout, I also didn’t get to stretch. Holy crap was I sore.

Saturday

Chest & Tris

-5min Warm Up

-Assisted Dips: 100lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Bench Press: 20lbs (not including the bar), 5 sets x 5 reps w/ 1 minute rest in between sets

-Tricep Extension (Machine): 60lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Pec Fly: 80lbs, 5 sets x 5 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

-Incline Sit-Ups w/ Medicine Ball: 3 sets x 8 reps w/1 minute rest in between sets

This workout was nice because I got to do it with friends, which I don’t get to do very often.

Sunday

4mi Run – 43:32 moving time & 10:53/mi avg pace

This was on the treadmill which wasn’t ideal, but at least it was accomplished!

 

I also got some exciting news: I’ve become an Insane Labz Athlete! They have some really cool stuff from apparel, to recovery supplements and more! I have a coupon code for you guys: runlift20. Use it to get 20% your order!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavyweekly-recap-jan-30th-feb-5th

 

Neutral Shoes and Stability Shoes and Motion Control Shoes Oh My!

I work at a speciality running store, which frequently uses the terms, “neutral, stability, and motion control”. To the seasoned runner, these terms may be familiar to you, however to someone who’s new to the sport, it may seem like foreign language. I almost always get asked what at least one of these terms mean each shift, so I figured now’s the time to explain.

Neutral

These are the shoes that provide the least support. That may sound bad, but it actually isn’t, (depending on what kind of foot you have). Neutral runners are runners that have very little or no arch weakness, which I’ll explain how to detect later. I should also point out that the amount of support a shoe has and the amount of cushioning it provides are two different things and are commonly confused. The cushioning a shoe provides is literally exactly what it sounds like. Shoes with tons of cushioning can have very little support, (case in point).

We also recommend neutral shoes for people who wear orthotics/insoles. The reasoning behind this is that since the orthotics/insoles correct whatever issues your feet may have, it’s kind of redundant to get a shoe with extra support.

Some other shoes that are neutral are cross trainers, racing spikes, and minimalist shoes.

Stability

From my experience of working at Running Room, I find that most runners fall into this category. Being a stability runner means that you have moderate arch weakness, which needs to be corrected in order to have a pain-free run. I find that stability and motion control shoes tend to be a little heavier than neutral shoes, however that’s purely my observation.

An example of a stability shoe is this:

Motion Control

This is shoe that provides THE MOST support. A shoe that falls under this category would be ideal for someone with a completely collapsed arch. I find that this category encompasses the least amount of runners. Although a decent amount of runners have some degree of collapsed arches, few have completely collapsed arches. An example of a motion control shoe is this:

So to recap, neutral shoes have the least support, stability has a moderate level of support, and motion control has the most amount of support.

Finding out how much support you may need isn’t hard to do. If you head to your local specialty running store they can do an analysis for you. Alternatively, get someone to stand six or seven feet away from you. On one leg and not holding onto anything, bend all the way down, (slowly), and come back up. Repeat, but on the other leg. No shaking in the arch or very little shaking means a neutral shoe, a decent level of shaking means a stability shoe, and a lot of shaking means a motion control shoe.

All this aside, you may try on shoes and they may feel good on you feet or they may feel bad. It really depends on you and what feels right; there’s not sense in running in something that you find uncomfortable.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Iron Vegan: Athlete’s Blend Workout Supplement

Price: $62.99 CAD

product-review-iron-vegan-athletes-blend-workout-supplement1

I’m always open to trying new supplements; I do have a couple favourite brands, (like Vega), but I’m not really 100% committed to one brand for every need. I got a bag of Iron Vegan Athlete’s Blend, (natural vanilla flavour), for Christmas and I have to admit, I was super skeptical. This may sound horrible but whenever I see a vegan product, I’m always worried that the taste might be compromised. I think this is probably due to the fact that I’m a hard-core omnivore, and the thought of all things veggie is a little scary. Vega took a bit to grow on me but once it did, I loved it! I figured if I could love Vega, I could love Iron Vegan. Here’s what I thought of it:

-It has a different vanilla flavour than most vanilla-flavoured protein powders. Not in a bad way though. It just doesn’t have that artificial vanilla taste that you get with most brands.

-It blends really well with smoothies/shakes

-My boyfriend and I both tried it with just water or just milk, (when I say milk, I mean lactose free milk/coconut milk), and we both agree that it tastes better with water. I think since the powder doesn’t have a super creamy taste, it doesn’t complement the milk as well.

-It stores easily since it’s in a bag

-The serving size is quite large, (30g of protein/serving), so you could probably get away with half a serving if it’s in a shake/smoothie.

-It’s loaded with stuff that all athletes can appreciate in the recovery process: BCAAs, Glutamine, and more

 

Other than it not mixing well with milk, I don’t really have any issues with it. I also have used it in some shakes/smoothies that I’ve posted on Instagram, so check out which combinations I’ve come up with!

 

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Product Review: Nike Storm Hydration Water Pack

Price: $27.95 (on sale…couldn’t find it on the National Sports Website)

After the Downsview Airport 8k, I was in search for some sort of hydration pack, as I knew that I would be running the half in May. On our way home from the 8k, I saw that National Sports had a sale and thought it would be worth while to stop in. After scanning the store for a bit, I found a rack of Nike products that were on sale and stumbled upon this hydration pack. For $27.95 plus tax, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Here’s what I thought about it:

PROS

-the belt itself is fairly comfortable and doesn’t chafe

-the water bottle is easily accessible (you just flip the band to the other side of the mouth piece and you’re good to go)

product-review-nike-storm-hydration-pack1

-the case surrounding the bottle prevents it from freezing in the winter (not sure if this was intentional or not)

-provides visibility by having a reflective Nike logo

nike-storm-hydration-water-pack1

-has two pockets for things like debit/credit cards, nutrition, etc

CONS

-the bottle only holds 22oz, so it may not be sufficient enough to run in the summer, especially if it’s a longer run

-it bounces like crazy! To be honest, I don’t know if all belts bounce to this magnitude, or if it’s just this one. But it is super annoying. It’s gets a little better as you drink more water though

-pockets aren’t big enough to fit a Galaxy or iPhone

I guess I can’t be too disappointed considering how little I paid for it, but I wish that I had held out and bought a hydration vest. Anyone have any recommendations for one? Haha.

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: No. The bouncing is a write-off.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Racing While on Vacation

In the spring, Daniel and I have planned to go on a European vacation for our seventh anniversary. While our destination isn’t set in stone, we’re currently on the fence between Lisbon/Madrid, and Berlin/Budapest. Our plan was to spend five days in each city, so our total vacation time would be 10 days, (approximately). I’m so excited! The farthest I’ve gone from Toronto is the Mayan Riviera in Mexico for my mom’s wedding.

Daniel and I usually go to Florida at least once a year to visit his mom, so I’m used to running there. The climate in South Florida is much different than it is in Toronto, so it was a huge adjustment, however you can’t beat running Oceanside! While I’ve gone on plenty of runs in West Palm, I haven’t done any races there. I like the idea of doing a race while on vacation, but there are a few things that I’m slightly concerned about:

-We’re leaving a few days after my half. Is that enough time to recover?

-Is there a recommendable distance I should run?

-Race Kit pick-up in a country that has a native language other than English…this is most frightening to me (weird, right?). If I were to race in Madrid I could get by since my Spanish is passible, but that’s pretty much it.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever raced on vacation (excluding racecations)? What were your experiences?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy