#CLEmarathon half training – weeks 3 & 4

I had my first fall-off-the-wagon day (i.e. didn’t do the training I was supposed to do). I dreaded this happening, because I worried it might be a slippery slope. Welp, it happened, and it wasn’t. I sucked at training for a little while, and then I got the motivation to stop sucking, and I’m back at it.

Week 3 (March 8-14)

Sunday (March 8) – 7.5 km – I was worried about how my legs would feel the day after my first ski of the season and, well, yup. They hurt. But the weather was glorious and I had a very exciting destination in mind (Nadege for Croissunday!), so once I loosened up, around the start of kilometre 4, this was a great run.

 

Photo of two white women in black tank tops. They are looking a bit smugly at the camera. The one on the left Ainsley) has red hair and wears a pink toque. The one on the right, me, has long hair and a yellow toque.

What I wish we wore to the gym.

Monday – gym night – My friend Ainsley has almost the exact combination of determination and blase distaste for the gym. We got married within a month of each other and did a lot of planning (and bitching and moaning) on the JCC elliptical trainers in the months leading up to our big days. Now that we’re wives on budgets, we hang out at the Planet Fitness in Galleria Mall. I am lucky to have her in my workout corner.

Tuesday – morning 5km – This was less brutal than last week, but still a fairly miserable slog. Given my Sunday long run/Monday night gym combo, I would definitely benefit from pushing this to the evening, but choir calls! I just…I hate running in the morning. I never warm up, and running on empty just feels like crap.

Wednesday – …. – Whoops. If I wanted to really stretch the definition of cross-training, I’d say I took a half hour walk and a 15 minute bike ride. An 8 PM meeting (over drinks!) put the lid on an evening run.

Thursday – 6.7 km – I didn’t get home from work til 7, but I still managed to watch the glorious sky change colour along St. Clair during this run. The week after daylight savings time is rough, but the longer evening is such a gift.

Friday and Saturday were flops, and that’s all there is to say about that. Friday’s excuses were pretty stacked and buyable. I’ve got nothing but an embarrassed shrug for Saturday.

Week 4 (March 15-21)

Sunday – 8.6 km & gym – Back on my A game. Breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, then a long run at a fairly even pace. Home for a smoothie and some kale salad, laundry, trip prep (10 days to go!). Then an evening at the gym on the weight machines. Lots of abs.

A photo of a road next to railway tracks. On the right of the road is a factory. To the left of the road and further away are two tall apartment towers. The sky takes up two thirds of this photo and is very blue, with white clouds.

Sunday run along the West Toronto Railpath

 

Monday – 7 km – This was one of those runs that just felt great. I was properly fueled, it was raining but not too hard, I had a lot on my mind, and I just ran and thought and planned and it was three quarters of an hour of perfect simplicity. It was a “why I run” run. Coming home to find my husband had opened a bottle of wine and put on some oxtail stew and gnocci didn’t hurt my vibe either.

An overhead photo of a bowl of pasta, with a glass of wine next to it.

Points for taste and presentation to Jonathan.

Tuesday – rest

Wednesday – gym night – Ainsley and I did some stretching and sit-ups, then a medium-intense 30 minute bicycle (non-recumbent–is that what spinning is?)

Thursday – 6 km –  Absolutely miserable. The opposite of Monday— a run where nothing felt good at all the entire time. I’m proud of myself for not quitting, because I really, really wanted to. I’m not sure what was up—a bit of PMS, legs tired from cycling, improper fueling (though I felt I had some good snacks!), maybe just one of those random off-nights. Anyway, I got home and felt very glad I had a couple of easy days ahead.

Self-taken photo of me in a long mirror. I am dressed up to run, but frowning.

Don’t wanna run

Friday – rest – Did 45 minutes of walking. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Saturday – 8.4 km –  Decided to do my long run a day early, as we’re having overnight guests whose presence…erm…probably won’t encourage going to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. I wasn’t super in the mood so I listened to music, a rarity, and set a destination (the city’s best liquor store, wahoo!). And then the sun came out and everything felt great, except I had to pee the whole damn time.

I made pretty good time (for me), with an average pace of 6:34/km! I’m realizing  I need a lot of warm-up to feel good while I’m out.

I’m heading to Portland on Wednesday for a week, then two weeks of vacation in California. I’m really, truly planning to keep this schedule up while we’re out west, but nervous I might have too good a time…

 

#CLEmarathon half training – week 2

Nothing exciting over here, though it’s sunny and maybe only minus 2 today. It’s a lot of exercise, but so far it hasn’t been hard to fit in.

Sunday – long run –  The long, slow, run that wasn’t slow (in an elated state, I wrote about it here).

Monday – gym night

Tuesday – 5 km – An incredibly slow and painful morning venture. I felt the opposite of everything I felt on Sunday. I’m not a great morning runner, and some combo of that, weakness after Sunday’s enthusiasm, and the gym the night before made this a truly unrewarding slog.

Wednesday – 4.5 km – Evening runs are always better. And I managed to work an errand and a quick visit to a friend into the route. A destination sure helps!

Thursday – 5.8 km –  Average pace of 6:47/km a little faster than I’ve been, though still not very consistent.

Screenshot of my running app's timing. Six blue bars represent the pace of each kilometer. The blue bars are different lengths, signaling that I did not run at a consistent pace.

Then again, the only kilometre that’s a real outlier  is the one down a hill—so perhaps I’m not so far off?

Friday – Rest – And lo, not a kilometre was run that night.

Saturday – Cross training – My mom and her partner invited us to go skiing with them at Horseshoe Valley. Umm, yes! It was sunny and not too crowded when we got there, and only about -4. Perhaps unsurprisingly, towards the afternoon my glute started hurting. Oh, and also everything else.

A close-up shot of two people (myself and my husband) on a chair lift. We are both smiling at the camera, wearing oversized goggles and helmets.

Wrapping up week 2 on the slopes!

 

I’m coming for you, March!

I love new beginnings of any and all sorts (well, except birthdays). When a new week and a new month start together, I get especially excited about the possibilities. Hello, March!

Today I only wanted to stay inside and look at the internet, but I kicked myself out the door, and found that my legs had never felt more ready. For the first time since I was on Couch to 5k, it was my lungs holding me back, rather than my muscles. And in the end, I had three astonishing new records!

Screenshot of a watch face. It reads: "Records: 1 km 4:53.86 Today"

wow, Jacqueline, how did you do this!?

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#CLEMarathon half training – week 1

screenshot of a phones lock screen. An alert has popped up that reads "Half marathon training starts tomorrow"

This is it, the beginning of my half marathon training! I’m following a slightly modified Hal Higdon Novice program. The Higdon program is a bit low on mileage, compared to a lot of other training plans. I chose it because I still have occasional niggling glute pain, which made me very nervous and cautious in getting ramped up, and my base is not what it should be. With this in mind, my main goal for my first half marathon is to feel good. If I could feel good and come in at under 2 hours and 15 minutes, that would be a sweet bonus.

 

You can view the unadulterated plan here, but it basically consists of doing the following each week:

  • 1 day –  long run (starting at 6.5 km, gradually going up to about 17 km)
  • 1 day – shorter run (starting at 5km, going up to 9 km)
  • 1 day – shorter run (3-4 km) and strength training
  • 1 day – stretching and strength training
  • 1 day – cross-training (eliptical, cycling, or brisk walking in a pinch)
  • 1 day – either a short run (4 or 5 km) or cross training

Yup, that’s six days a week. Eek! I’m a little worried about fitting it all in, but lots of people with busy lives do it, so I need to make a solid effort!  This will be especially hard when I’m on the west coast for three weeks, though running in California sounds like a total dream about now.

Anyway, that’s the plan! So how did week 1 go?

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Running

It used to be that when I saw someone slogging along on the street, I assumed they were both insane and close to death. “Why would you torture yourself like that!?” I would want to yell. Well, now I am that slogger, but the truth is that it’s only a slog some of the time, and even when it’s awful, it’s one of my greatest joys.

Since I became an annoying running evangelist last fall, I’ve had a number of friends express surprise, sometimes surprise so vehement it could be called ‘shock’, at what I’ve turned into. No one is more surprised than me. Here are five things I’ve learned in the  last few months, 5 things that changed my perspective and my willingness to push on:

1) Running as fast possible is a terrible goal

This sounds really obvious in retrospect, but it wasn’t to me! The biggest misconception I had about running was that the point of the sport was to run as fast as possible. So once a year or so I’d decide to give it a try. I’d start running, and about ten minutes later I’d barf. And then I’d be sore for days, and vow to never do such a thing again. How could people subject themselves to such horror? Why on earth would you do something that made you feel like you were dying the whole time?

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Working in 2015

There’s nothing I love more than a fresh new year. And today the fresh new year takes me back to a fresh new office, which I cleaned with vigour on the Friday before Christmas break. I’ve sure enjoyed lounging around the house, but it will be okay to go back as well, for a number of reasons.

The roles and responsibilities at MPOW are about to shift in some fairly significant ways, and I am really excited to take on some new responsibilities (there are also some new responsibilities I’m less excited about, but I’ll leave those for another time or, more likely, off the agenda altogether). I’m looking forward to new challenges, but I’m also thinking carefully about how to make sure I don’t wind up perpetually running on the “small-scale stuff that needs to be done right now” wheel. I’ve experienced pretty significant workload shifts (in type and amount) before, and that was the first trap I fell into. Unsure of priorities? Answer some emails! Not clear on the end-goal of the document you’re trying to put together? Prep for a meeting!

Have you read Cal Newport’s blog? I am a bit of a productivity junkie and yup, reading about productivity is a thing I love to do, along with making task lists, and organizing folders and scheduled in preparation for some big project. As many, many people have observed: this is frequently just a form of procrastination. Productivity has its own subreddit, and one could spend a lot of time reading about other people having trouble getting things done.

But I find Newport’s blog really good because his big picture thoughts on being a productive and creative person are always accompanied by examples from his own work life, and concrete plans for readers to work through. In particular, his blog post on ‘deep work’ really hit home (the title will either make you flustered, relieved, or annoyed, but if you haven’t read it, do take a look at Knowledge Workers are Bad at Working). I have a job where it’s very easy to fall into what he calls “Shallow Work.” Some shallow work falls under my actual job description, but it’s also very easy to just putter along doing shallow work while leaving larger projects to the side:

“This work is attractive because it’s easy, which makes use feel productive, and it’s rich in personal interaction, which we enjoy.”

And then it’s 5:30 and you haven’t done any of the ‘deep work.’ You know: strategizing, research, writing

“…cognitively demanding activities that leverage our training to generate rare and valuable results, and that push our abilities to continually improve.”

…the stuff you feel you love to do, but that you just couldn’t seem to get around to that day…

You can read Newport’s thoughts on how to actually get down to deep work in the link above. I found the framework pretty compelling.

Anyway, as I head back to my sparkling new desk, I’m making a commitment to doing stuff that is hard this year. But I promise to still respond to your email.

P.S. This ACRL blog post, Lost Time is Never Found by Lindsay O’Neill, was what spurred my latest round of productivity reading. It is excellent, and emphasizes the importance of scheduling deep work in academic librarianship, especially when you’re in a new, emerging, or oft-changing position where it’s up to you to define a lot of your workload and outcomes.  More scheduling in 2015!

 

From an old diary

October 1, 2006:

So I did cry on my birthday (I am still!), but I am crying because I am so excited about what my life can be. Maybe twenty-one isn’t old. There’s so much that’s going to happen to me. I just feel like I’m going to have an exciting life. I guess a lot of it will be my own responsibility.

Things are going to happen. Wonderful things. Every year I feel more like myself.

How’s that for optimism?

Happy 2015!