Liv to run

Lots of random ranting, whining, and attempts at being humourous as I run, run, run in pursuit of higher mileage and better races.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I have been to the ends of the earth. And back.

Biked to Mississauga yesterday. Phew! That place is seriously out in the boonies. For those who can't quite appreciate the nasty urban sprawl that is the Greater Toronto Area, let's just leave it at this: I biked for 2 hours straight, covering 40km. Ouch.

Double that on Sunday? You betcha.

Today I returned home, copping out somewhat by biking to the subway, riding it uptown, and then biking home. Still a decent 20k, although I did feel like I was cheating a bit. But the air-conditioned bliss lured me, and I succumbed.

I decided to redeem myself by having a quick run, only 2k, but it was just enough to give me the grand total I was hunting this month: 75k. I know, I know, measly stuff. But I've been biking. Today, however, was the first time I had combined the two sports back-to-back. Now, I have always had a great admiration for triathletes, but after today I am positively in awe: how do you get off your bike after a long ride and settle into a decent rhythm for running? I felt so "off" - jerky and slow, even though I was really running at a decent pace. There is a serious art to the transition, I guess - one that I have yet to master. And swimming? Let's not even discuss swimming just yet.

Still, the tri has a certain mystical allure - I love all three sports, why not combine them? One of my friends is already signed up for a "try-a-tri" this summer, and is pestering me to join her.

Maybe, maybe not. But it's definitely on my mind.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Blooper reel

Just heard about this today: embarrassment and upset at the Ottawa Marathon. Man, what a bunch of stupid kids. If you're going to marshal a big race, you should bloody well be where you're supposed to be, and pay attention. Sheesh. Being shorted by 400 metres on a marathon... boy, that's got to hurt. I would be p-i-s-s-e-d.

Just goes to show there are some benefits to being a slow poke. There are always so many runners ahead of you, it's impossible to get lost!

It's been a day of mayhem in Toronto today - first really hot day of the year, and then bam! Public transit workers on an illegal walkout. Traffic, traffic, everywhere, and steamy and stinky as hell. Or what I imagine hell to be like. Not that I've visited or anything.

Me? I just decided to stay home, and call it a "rest day". I wanted to run, or maybe bike, I really did. But not that badly.

And now here I am at work, and after busting my ass to get here on time, my first patient is incredibly late. I think she might not even be coming, but I can't tell for sure, because when I called her house I talked to someone whose grasp of English is apparently only strong enough to say "I no understand English." Sigh. It's apparently just one of those days. One of those days when you just have to say, fuck it - what can you do.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dirty girl

This is what happens when you bike unexpectedly through the mud, without the benefit of fenders.

Yummy, yummy, yummy.

And an incredibly good time too. I swear I got dirt between my teeth from smiling the whole time!

Actually, I came across all this muck while exploring a park near my house which I haven't really been to much, and have decided that it is definitely going to be my next long run destination - it even has a smattering of unpaved trails, something I am always on the lookout for in Toronto -they're hard to come by! I really wanted to run there last night, but since I'm a little leary of the place after dark (it's had it's share of high-profile stabbings and the like), I decided to stick to the roads.

I did nevertheless manage to encounter some fun sights and sounds while circling the neighborhood, including a front lawn bedecked with 50 pink plastic flamingoes in honour of someone's birthday, and some sort of crazy backyard concert/really loud jam session that could be heard for two blocks - I circled around several times because the music was so good! It was like being in a race, when they have bands along the course and the music just pumps you up right when you need it. It was wonderful.

Of course, it wasn't entirely like a race, since my pace was abysmally slow. 11:37 average, for 7 miles, which is pretty darn lazy for me. However, it was my first "long" run in about a month, so I'm not upset over it - I felt great, and it was just nice to get out there and finally run for more than an hour. Plus, I took Ms. Camelbak out for her first real test (as in, the run was long enough that I actually needed water!), and may I just say that I am in love. So in love. Camelbak + Garmin = the running Dream Team. Too bad iPod nano got left behind this time. She might be a little jealous.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I am about to explode

You know how it takes your brain 20 minutes to register the fact that your stomach is full?

Maybe this is the reason one should refrain from wolfing down a whole night's worth of food in 15 minutes.

Gurgle. I thought I was so hungry. I mean, I was so hungry. Groan.

And the worst part is, I just know I'm going to be ravenous come 4am when there's no way out of this place and no possible way for me to get more food. Sigh. I love the night shift, I really really do. But my midnight appetite knows no boundaries. It's going to have to learn them pretty soon, or this will quickly become the summer of Liv to Be Fat.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Back to back

Yes, it's finally happened, I ran two whole days in a row. It's been a long hiatus. And yes, they were only 3-milers, but they happened, goddammit, and that's what counts. Still, I've decided not to beat myself up over the running too much. This is my recovery time. After June 4th, I start a training program, and then we really get serious, baby.

Finally, my bike has matching tires (my mechanical prowess is growing!), and I took it out for a spin. Yikes, I only have a week and a half before this 75km disaster-waiting-to-happen - time to bust my ass. Literally.

Tryathlete commented after my previous Ride for Heart-related post that he would be willing to sponsor me if I pull through this thing. Thanks Tryathlete! So spurred on by this unexpected proposal, I am going to shamelessly plug myself here - if anyone else would like to make a donation to the Heart and Stroke Foundation via me, just send me an email at countess12nightAThotmailDOTcom and I will set you up with online pledging.

Happy running, happy biking, happy everything outdoorsy and athletic and joyous and fun!

Friday, May 19, 2006

The drought stops here

Three days without running. I'm being a real slacker. Even after my race I only let two slip by, and that was because I was still so sore I was walking down the stairs backwards!

I always find it hard to get into the running routine again after a move - my schedule is all out of whack and I need to return it to some semblance of normalcy. So that's it. I'm going. Running. Now.

Now.... where are my running shoes?

Hope everyone has a great long weekend... wait, most of you are from the States, is this even a long weekend for you? Pardon my ignorance. Well, regardless, I wish you all a happy 2-4. I'm off to Kingston to visit a friend - much drunkenness is planned, but I think I can convince her to go running with me at least one day. Maybe, after all this misbehaviour, she will whip me into shape.


Update: Must. Crow. Victoriously. My marks just went up online: two A's, three A-'s , and two B's. **Doing the happy school-is-over-and-my-GPA-doesn't-suck-dance**!!!!!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

An etiquette dilemma

So I've been itching to do another race. I know I have Ride for Heart coming up, and a 5k a few weeks later, and that should be enough... but I've caught the racing bug, and I want more, more, more. Looking for options on the Running Room website, I hit upon a great idea: why not take my dad to the father's day 5k?

My dad was kind enough to drive me to my last 5k, and cheer for me and take pictures too (though I have yet to see them!). He was so excited by the whole event, and realizing the wide range of abilities to which it caters, that he told me he wanted to walk it next year. I observed that there was no need to wait that long - there are 5ks all over the place. I think it's really great that he wants to do this and get in shape - so what better incentive than to sign us both up for June 18th? I asked him if he was game, and he agreed, so though I haven't officially entered yet, it's safe to say I'm committed.

However, this raises my dilemma: I was originally looking to squeeze in an extra 5k because I felt the urge to race. But if this is my present to my father, wouldn't it be much nicer if I stuck with him and walked it too? And wouldn't it in fact be rather rude to say: "happy father's day... see you at the finish line!"

Thus, I'm putting off entering because I haven't resolved this question yet; and if I'm going to walk, I'm bloody well going to sign up as a walker: my run time may be slow, but I'd still like to make an official distinction between whether or not I'm racing. I'm kind of annoyed that I put myself in this bind. Would it be enough to go on supportive father-daughter-bonding training walks with him, and do my own thing on race day - or is the right thing really to spend the event together, suck it up, have fun, and focus on July 14th as my next "real" race?

Argh. What would "Ask Miles" think?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Switching Gears

Now that my 10k is over, I should really get focused on my next big event. Nope, this time I'm not running - it's the Ride for Heart, a huge fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, where you get to bike along a couple of Toronto's major highways. Which is soooo much fun. But this year, I've been suckered. My teammates voted, and I grudgingly accepted, that this year we tackle not the 50k, as before, but the 75k route.

Eek! I've NEVER biked that far in my life - not in one day, let alone in one stretch. So even though I'm doing this strictly as a charity event, not as a race per se, I feel as though I ought to be training for it a bit, just to make sure I can actually get to the finish alive.

I'm making provisions - I bought some thinner tires to replace the monstrous ones I currently ride on, in the hopes that the decreased resistance will make me somewhat faster and marginally less tired. No pun intended. But here's the problem: I know nothing about bike mechanics. I'm hopeless. It took me about 45 minutes to change the front tire today, and by the time I had finished, I was so worn out by the whole experience that I packed it up and resolved to finish tomorrow. So my bike is currently sitting woefully in the basement, one tire thin, one tire thick, and my brake alignment completely out of whack (great... one more thing to figure out.)

Needless to say, the plan to start biking today was scrapped in favour of a run. A gorgeous and highly enjoyable run, mind you... but I wonder: will I be ready for this 75k? Seriously, at this rate, who knows when I will put my bike together well enough that I can safely ride it again.

Sigh. This is why I love running. It's so forgiving to the mechanically challenged.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Number slave

Well, Garmin is very exciting... so much so that I'm beginning to think I am too excited... I took it (him? her?) for a run yesterday, and honest-to-god couldn't keep my eyes off the screen for more than a minute. It's just so fascinating. Overall it works quite well, but of course isn't perfectly accurate and at one point under some trees it told me I was running 18 minute miles. Um, no.

I think I'm in danger of being a serious number slave. I mean, I need to relax, because it gives a pretty average overall pace, I think - I'll have to experiment a bit on my pre-mesured routes and see how they compare. But I was so pissed when it was off. Ack. I really need to learn the beauty of estimation when it comes to running. And remember to sometimes take off all the fancy toys and just run for the sake of it, for the feeling and nothing else.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Oh my beauteous one

It's here!!!!

So sexy...

Cannot wait to take it out for a run this afternoon! But why oh why is it so cold outside?

Anyway, tomorrow is move-out day. Must. Pack. Everything.

Let the chaos begin.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Running again

It's only been two days, but I felt like it was forever since I last ran... finally got out for a few decent loops of Queen's Park - felt lovely, except for the damn burger than I are for dinner making its presence known. Note to self: hamburger takes longer to digest than most "normal" foods. Leave at least 3 hours between hamburger and running efforts for future reference.

So yes, sweet run, I'm back on my feet - except for at the moment I'm completely plastered, being that my last exam was today and I'm in full-on celebration mode. Another note to self: stop blogging when drunk. People will think you are an alcoholic. Which is totally not true. But writing helps me focus, which in turn, I believe, makes me more sober before going to bed. At least, that's the theory... and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


OooooooOOOOoooooh. Legs. hurt. bad.

Down. stairs. no. fun.

I have a feeling if I ever when I do a marathon, I will not get out of bed for a week afterwards. I will have to hire a maid for my meals, and a nurse for my bedpan. Maybe I should start figuring out who to blackmail now. Or maybe I should stop being such a wuss.

One more exam over with. One more to go. I said I would not drink after this one, that I would be a good girl and wait until Wednesday. But then I was given a free shot of tequila. And then, none other than my professor himself bought me a beer. How can you say no?

Obviously, I didn't.

Frankly, "learning and behaviour" is one of the most boring psych topics out there, in my humble opinion. A couple drinks can't hurt - they make it just that much more giggly and fun. Yay, learning. Time to learn about learning. Can't think of anything I'd rather be doing. Or at least, I don't have the time to make a list.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Smokin' PR, I love gravity, and runners have sexy legs

WOO-HOO! Today was race day!!!

The weather could not have been more perfect - I woke up to sunny skies and 10 degree temps or so (that's Celsius, relax, I'm not nuts...) - a touch chilly once I'd checked my jacket, but lovely as soon as the run got under way.

Yonge Street is a whole other world when it's filled with runners instead of blaring cars. I loved running through familiar neighborhoods, counting down the intersections, having a blast. The course is an incredibly sweet downhill - only one uphill of note on the whole thing - and it's touted as "Canada's fastest 10k" in all the race ads. I can see why. Although my quads took a bit of a pummelling, the speed was glorious. And of course, it was very encouraging to have the CN tower in sight the whole way down - you could always see the "finish line"!

The start was an incredible agglomeration of humanity - about 8000 runners showed up and we were packed! The gun went off, we cheered - and then we shuffled to the start line for the next 5 minutes! Of course, as soon as we really got under way, I thought I had to pee. Even though I went 20 minutes before. Figures. But that went away before long and soon I was cruising under the Beltline, where some spectators had hung a hot pink sign on the bridge proclaiming "runners have sexy legs!" Everyone was getting a laugh and suddenly I welled up with excitement - this is a race, time to push, it's on, baby! PR, here I come... and maybe, someday, I too will have legs worthy of admiration.

The organization was superb - the volunteers were right on with the water (which of course I nevertheless managed to splash all over myself), the bands on the course were fun and upbeat and just where you needed them. And we got finisher's medals at the end, wheeee!

Here is the statistical lowdown:

My chip time: 55:53 - I smote my previous PR by almost 7 minutes! 5k split 28:34 - not only does that make it a very respectable negative, but that's also 9 seconds faster than my 5k PR - ha ha ha!

Even my gun time made me happy - I was aiming to break 1 hour by my chip - and I managed to do it officially! 59:42 put me in 3356th place (how glorious...), 1263/3626 women and 99/235 in my age group. Looks like I'm a bona-fide middle-of-the-packer.

No action shots, unfortunately, as this was a solo race for yours truly, but when I came back to rez, my friend made me this sign and snapped the pic for me. And no, there will be no pictures of my legs, until they magically become sexier. (It didn't help that they were stained yellow after stretching in the dandelions...)

So here I sit, a little sore but very satisfied. I've taken an "ice" bath (really, just a cold one... much easier to take), a hot shower, and I've shoveled myself full of food and water. And now I have blogged too... because yes, I am a blogaholic. All in all, not bad considering I'm usually not even awake by this time.

I guess that leaves the rest of the day free for studying.

Joy to the world.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Three reasons that I am moderately satisfied with the shape of my body this week:

1. I fit into my "skinny jeans". You know, those ones you keep around because they're too tight but you swear you'll fit into them again someday... (yes, this is stolen from Sex and the City, I acknowledge it isn't my brilliant idea). They're back, baby, they're back - as long as I don't eat while I'm wearing them.
2. My race shirt for the 10k is extra-small. (Okay, so it's men's sizes, which spoils the fun a little, but still...) It's also blue, and that in itself is a happy thing.
3. The scale at work says I weigh 139, and since the scale at work is evil, I must really weigh even less than that.

Funny - at the beginning of this year, that weight would have horrified me - but now that it signifies having lost 3 pounds (maybe more... evil work scale is unforgiving...) it makes me happy. At least I'm on the right track. And more importantly than what I weigh, I feel good, strong, and ready to go on Sunday.

Still want to lose 5 pounds, though. Or maybe 10. But let's not get overly destructive ;)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Two down, two to go

At last, exam season is drawing to a close. And my 10k is coming up - woohoo! Tapering is kinda boring, but at least my ankle is thanking me for it. I'm wondering if I should race in my new shoes or my old ones - the old are tried and true, but they are dying a little; the new ones have made me happy so far, and they're lighter too, but I have yet to run farther than 3 miles in them at a time. So I'm debating...

On a completely unrelated note, and for anyone's general information, I have been monitoring my recently acquired site meter for amusing google searches - and while most of them have been pretty mundane (people searching for Smartcoach or Garmin or 10k taper advice), I have finally hit upon a gem: you can find me by typing "liv free hot" into the msn search engine.

You gotta wonder what some people are looking for.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Quick post, b/c I REALLY should be studying

...But studying sucks. However, as my exam will be over in less than 12 hours, I guess I should bit the bullet and get to work. Soon.

One more test run with the new shoes today has convinced me that they are indeed worthy. Though it was dreadful to run on the treadmill when it was so glorious outside (still had to keep 'em clean until I reached the final verdict), I had an absolutely lovely tempo run - 9:27 pace for 2.5 miles/4k, no pain whatsoever, and I felt like I could have done it all over again when I was through, no sweat. Well... okay, to speak truly, there was sweat. And I refrained from a repeat, because after all I am supposed to be tapering diligently this week. Only six days to go, and I get to pick up my goodie bag on Thursday, yippee! I spent a little of my excess energy by actually working on abs and arms for a change - very neglected areas of my body.

And now, alas, I must return to my very neglected lecture notes. Ptooey.