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Weekly Update 1…

As the title suggests, I will update my activities weekly, rather than trying to keep up with daily updates, plus I am sure daily updates can get very boring. I will of course do other posting not related to my physical activity as they come up.

Since my last update, I have continued to ride but still not to a level that I had planned by this point. The one thing so far this bike season that I have not experienced in past years, is the constant strong winds we have had on a daily basis. In the end, I know this will only make me stronger on the bike. I have taken to doing some sprints on my rides, I usually sprint for 1K. Reviewing the Garmin data once I was finished, I was happy to see a few sprints in the 40km/h and the majority in the high 30s.

Since my last post, I did add another “gadget” to Bonnie. Last year, I purchased a used set of Profile Design T2+ aerobars. It did take me some time getting use to the aerobars but towards the end of last season I was comfortable in the aero position. The one thing I did find with the T2 was the flat position of the bars caused my hands to go numb.

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In the off-season, I did some research on the various aerobars to see if I could find a set that I would feel more comfortable with and that would alleviate the numbness. In the end, I purchased a set of Profile Design T3+ Carbon based on several reviews.

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So far, I am very happy with the purchase. I love how my hands feel in the up turned bar position. Over the next little while, I will play with the adjustment of the bars to see if I can tune in my aero position better.

Last weekend was a big weekend for the Ottawa running community, as it was the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. There were almost 50,000 runners competing in races from 5k right up to the marathon. This race is a Boston qualifier so there are runners from all over the world in Ottawa competing. As part of Race Weekend, there is a huge fitness expo with everything a runner might need to compete. I decided not to take part this year but I thought I should at least take in the expo. This would be my first time going into such a crowded place on my own since getting diagnosed with PTSD. Well, I did make it through though it did take a lot out of me. Still, I made the effort and to think that just over a year ago, I would have not even considered going into that big of a crowd on my own.

Though I was disappointed not to be racing this year, I did have several friends running in various races. My running buddy and good friend Jenn was running in her very first marathon. I so wished I could have run with her, but it was not meant to be. As I sat at my nephew football practise, I kept looking at the time on my iPhone and talking to myself, saying, at this time, Jenn should be at this point on the course. I was so happy when I got home and checked her bib number on Sport Stats to see Jenn had completed he first marathon. It was bitter-sweet but I was super proud of Jenn crossing that finish line.

On Tuesday morning, I noticed that one of my friends posted a running challenge that she was taking part in with Runners World Magazine. The challenge is to run every day from Memorial Day to July 1, a total of 41 days of running. I have not run much at all since last December so this was a great chance to get my legs moving again while being held accountable to my running friends. Knowing that I had not run since December, I was not going to run for a time but a distance to start off with and once I got my runners legs back, then I would start pushing for time.

There are a couple of more motivators to run and keep running. The first being that I have signed up to run the Army half marathon at the end of September. The proceeds of this race goes to help the Canadian Soldiers and their families. It is also an emotional race as there are a lot of wounded soldier either running or racing in their wheel chairs. This year, I will wear a special shirt that I will have made up for the race. The second reason for keeping up with the running is that it will help me lose the weight I have put on in the last year. I worked so hard to lose that 100lbs, I cannot go back to that weight again. I went from a 46″ waist down to a 34″ waist, though my pants were a little snug. Now, I am finding that my 36″ waist pants are a little more than snug. My short-term goal is to fit back into my 36″ waist pants so they are very comfortable to wear.

Over all, I am feeling very good and that things are coming together nicely. I so look forward to the next 5-6 weeks of training and then going back to school for six weeks. Things are changing, but all the changes at this point are very good.

Here is a sample of my workouts this past week:

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Until next time, “Pick a gear and disappear”

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Restart Delayed

Well I had every intentions to start back training over the last couple of weeks but I have been battling a nagging “MAN COLD” that just won’t go away. From the posts of my Ottawa friends on Facebook, it seems the strong women have been hit with nasty bug.

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Though I have not been able to train, I have worked my training plan and playing with a race calendar. Right now my “A” race will be the Olympic Distance at the K-Town Triathlon with the possibility of a 70.3 late season race if all goes well so rather than set myself up for disappointment my focus will be the Olympic Distance this year. There is no sense in pushing myself and getting injured. If a 70.3 distance is meant to be this year, then it is meant to be and if not then there is something to shoot for in 2016.

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I have also taken this forced down time to search through the WordPress blogs for other triathletes for inspiration and training tips. One that I like is Katie Hart Morse, as she mixes up her workouts. In one of her posts, she links to a YouTube video of her doing a strength workout half way through one of her runs. I would have never thought to do that myself. It is a great idea, especially for me as I do not do enough strength core training and have always found a way to not do it at the end of the run. By doing the workout half way through, it not only gets the workout in but allows you to cool down part way through the run and get the heart rate down.

With any luck, I can finally shake this cold and the weather will finally make its way into the plus side of zero before too long. Until then, I will keep on keeping on.

Let’s Start From the Beginning…..Again

It has been six months since my last post and not much has changed. I continue to fight my PTSD symptoms, though there has been some progress, there is still a lot of work to do before a full recovery happens. My fitness level has taken a huge hit and that has been mostly down to me. Shortly after running the Montreal Rock-n-Roll half marathon, I went into a fitness funk, I had no desire to swim, bike or run. I went so far as to isolate myself from the groups that I ran and cycled with, as well as “unfriend” these groups and people from my FACEBOOK contacts. Why did I do this? The only answer I can give is that I did not want to see other people reaching their goals, enjoying themselves doing their activities and that it was a conscious decision to isolate myself from people again. I even stopped visiting the blogs of people I have befriended over the last 18 months. The other part of my fitness funk is that one of the medications that I am on causes me to crave carbs and I have given in to those cravings way too much!!

Today, I start from the beginning again. I will return to my daily routine as much as possible, connecingt with all those people that have been some of my biggest cheer leaders. In terms of fitness goals, I will start small and work my way up knowing that I cannot just pick up where I left off. As to avoid disappointment, I will not sign up for any races too far in advance of race day. I realize that I run the chance of events being sold out but I will maintain the attitude, if it is meant to be, it will be.

My blog going forward will be a twice a week update that will cover my training and what is going on in my life. I will try to refrain from dwelling on my PTSD, but it is a part of my life and hopefully, this forum will give me another outlet to help the healing process along. I will try to be up beat, but there will be times that my not so happy mood will seep in.

There is one thing that is new since my last post, I got a tattoo!!! Yes, I got a tattoo. So many people that know me would have never guessed that I would get a tattoo. My orginal idea was to get Wile E Coyote chasing the Roadrunner but once I saw the art work, I decided to go a different route.

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Outline

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Inking the outline

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Feeling o.k and no pain

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Starting to fill in the colour

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Finished product

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Close up

In the end, I am very happy with the result and I think it will match up nicely once I get an M dot tattoo on the opposite calf sometime in the future.

That’s all for now and my apologies for the disappearing act and I do hope to be more present from this point on.

 

And the Winner Is…..

After narrowing my running shoe choice down from 10 to 7, it was off to see Neil at SoleFit again to narrow the choice down even further. We went through the seven potentials to narrow it down further without trying them on the treadmill. The final three were the Brooks Ravenna 5, Saucony Hurricane 16 and New Balance M870. Now it was time to try on the treadmill for round one of testing where Saucony Hurricane 16 were eliminated as it did not have enough support for my foot.

So it came down to Brooks Ravenna 5 and New Balance M870. Though both shoes are very similar, New Balance M870 provide that added support that I need to help eliminate my pronation. I bought two pairs of the M870 as it is always good to alternate shoes, especially when training for long distance to lessen the wear and tear as well to give the shoe a chance to recover from the pounding it takes.

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I will update the review as I put some distance on them over the next few months.

Update September 22,2014

This past weekend, I ran the Army Run 5K in my new New Balance M870 shoes. What a joy not to have foot or Achilles tendon pain. I was surprised that for such a supportive shoe, how light they felt and cushioning was better than I thought it would be, not too firm or too soft. This coming weekend, I will put the M870s to a longer test run as I run the Montreal Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.

Until next time…..Your life is like a watch ….it keeps on ticking whether you’re sitting still or running somewhere

Trying to Find the Right Shoe

Ever since I started running it seems as if I have had one issue or another with my running shoes. This past week having exhausted my own resources, I went to get a professional gait analysis to help find the reason why my right leg seems to give me problems after long runs. I met with Neil from SoleFit where he did a thorough exam of my feet and legs. Almost from the outset Neil could see some problems. The first thing he noticed was that my right leg is about 2cm shorter than my left leg, this could be the cause of my discomfort in my right leg. Neil also noticed that my hips were out of alignment this misalignment showed up greater once I was on the treadmill.

Neil took a look at the way I walk and slow run in the hallway of the clinic. From his observation it showed that I had a neutral gait and that the running shoes I was currently running in should do the trick. Then it was to the treadmill to get some photo analysis done with two pairs of running shoes that I brought. When I increased my run speed on the treadmill is showed that I pronate quite a bit. It was very interesting to see how I run in slow motion and how much I pronate along with how my right hip moved.

Right now it would appear as though I might need a 7-10mm lift in my right shoe at the very least but Neil does not believe that I would need an orthotics though further investigation will be needed.  As part of the further investigation process, I was given a list of running shoes to try and once I have narrowed down my selection, I would go for another video analysis to find which shoe is best suited for my situation.

With my list in hand, it was off to see my good friends at the Running Room to pick up the shoes on my list. The Running Room has a 30 day return policy on their footwear as long as you do not wear them outside. After spending $1800 and picking up 10 pairs of shoes, it was time to head home and try the shoes on the treadmill.  The following is the break down of the shoes I have tried:

 

This is my little pile of running shoes to try.

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First up Mizuno Wave Inspire 10. The shoe is light and fit is good. Like other Mizuno shoes I have tried I found them to be a bit to stiff in the heel to mid foot. Being a heel striker this is not good for me. This one will not make the the short list.

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Next up is the New Balance M870. Overall a nice fitting shoe though I think my feet would be happier in a wider width. A light shoe that takes impact very well. This shoe goes into the maybe pile.

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Another New Balance to try, the M860. So far this shoe is the one that seems to fit well though maybe again move up to the wider width. This shoe makes it feel as though I am striking more mid-foot. The heel feels very good. They are a touch heavier but for the speed that I do weight is not an issue. This is going in the maybe pile.

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First of 3 pairs of Saucony shoes. It did not take me long to know that the Guide 7 were not for me. Though light and very comfortable, they just did not have the support I am needing. These go in the no pile.

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The Saucony Hurricane 16 are much better than the Guide. Again I found this shoe made it feel like I was striking more mid-foot than on the heel. The fit was very good though it did not feel heavy, they are the heaviest shoe I have tried so far. This shoe goes into the maybe pile.

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The third pair of Saucony, Omni 13 is very good. Feels light with a lot of support. Saucony has always had a lot if room in the toe box which is good once your feet start to swell on long runs. Going into the maybe pile.

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The first of two Asics shoes, the GT-2000. Good fit with good room in the toe box. The heel is very secure. Again this shoe feels light but is one of the heavier shoes I have tried today. Not as much support but it still warrants a second look.

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Well the Asics GT-1000 did not make the cut on so many level. Very narrow fit, and no where near as much support as in the GT-2000. These ones go into the no pile.

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Ok I know it is not about the looks but I so did not want to like the Brooks Adrenaline GTS . The colour is awful, I have never liked black running shoes. Besides the colour these shoes were very comfortable and provided a lot of support. The weight was good and the fit was better than expected. These go into the yes pile.

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Last but not least is the Brooks Ravenna 5. This was a very light shoe that fits well and provided enough support. I was actually surprised at how well they performed. Into the yes pile.

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I had hoped to narrow down my selection to 5 but after various testing I ended up with 7 in the yes pile. The method for testing was pretty straight forward. I started with a slow walk then picked up the speed to brisk walk or slow run and finally a full out run, well my full out run speed. I did these tests over a 1km distance and various inclines on the treadmill.

It will be interesting to see how the 7 pair compare once I am back at SoleFit on their treadmill and in front of the analysis cameras. My next appointment is on September 4th so I will have an update to this post most likely on the 6th. Be sure to check back then to see what the out come is and which shoe is the winner.

Until next time…happy feet run longer distances.

These Shoes Were Made for Running: Review Hoka One One Bondi Speed

After my bike spill last year and the multiple injuries that accompanied it I knew that it was going to be a while before I ran. My first run was the Santa Shuffle in December, a nice little 5K to help raise money for the Salvation Army. As the run began I felt pretty good but it did not take long before I started to feel some pain. The first place I experienced pain was in my left knee which took a good beating in the bike spill and I was more or less expecting this to happen. The area I was not expecting any pain was in my wrist. How does ones wrist start to hurt while running. I guess it must have been the old foot bone connected to wrist bone thing.

Running causes a lot of impact on the body, so if I wanted to get back to running sooner than later, I knew that I would have to find a shoe that had more cushioning than the ones I was currently wearing. When I did the Rideau Lakes Tour, I talked to a guy in Kingston about the different shoes he was wearing. He told me about how good they were and all the cushioning it provided. It took me a while to remember the unusual name but once I did, it was to the internet to find out more information.

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The shoes I am talking about is the Hoka One One Bondi Speed. The first thing I will say about the Bondi Speed is that they are not the lightest shoe on the market, weigh in at 12.4 oz for size 10.5, but if you want that extra cushioning that is one sacrifice you will need to make. These shoes are the poplar opposite to the minimalist shoes that have been all the rage for the fast few years. Though they are slightly heavier than most shoes, you would certainly not notice it on a long run. From the Hoka website here is their techniqal info:

COMFORT AND CUSHIONING: The midsole foam is 30% softer than the material used in traditional running shoes, and there is 2.5 times more volume than in most running shoes. The extra cushioning dissipates up to 80% of the shock associated with heel striking when running and allows for as much as 20mm of compression in the heel, plus extra protection allowing you to soar over asphalt surfaces.

ROCKERED MIDSOLE GEOMETRY & LOW HEEL-TOE DIFFERENTIAL: A 4.5mm heel to toe drop and rockered profile creates a unique rolling motion that encourages proper form by allowing a runner to easily strike the ground near the midfoot.

CONTROL: The unique, patented bucket seat is recessed up to 20mm within the midsole unit so as to best position your foot for optimum precision. This high degree of control also ensures you maintain responsive contact with the ground at all times.

STABILITY: The 25% wider outsole platform is designed to counterbalance the excess height of the oversized midsole. This large surface area ensures that you will maintain a stable footing, no matter how hard you run.

SUPERIOR TRACTION: The outsole is specially designed for use on the road, the high surface volume of the lug pattern as well as the shallow treads ensure good grip on even wet surfaces and high levels of abrasion resistance even when you push your shoes to the limit.

FEATHERLIGHT WEIGHT: Relative to its size, lighter than most road running shoes at less than 10 ounces, they make running uphill as much fun as they make running downhill and with less body fatigue.

BENEFITS: Engineered for maximum cushioning, comfort, protection and energy return, while still offering lightweight, nimble performance and uninhibited movement. Run more efficiently with less injury and quicker recovery.

When you look at the shoes you would think that with the thick sole that it would take a little time to adjust to them. For me, there was no adjustment at all. I really liked the cushioning but the cushioning just did not cushion the impact but also made the foot spring back. The foam does not give that squishy feeling but a controlled responsive feeling.

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The one thing I did notice though is that the shoes’ upper was not overly breathable. Having run in them on a couple of hot days now, my feet got very hot and I ended up with a blister on one foot after a long run. Thinking it might be the socks, I changed those with some relief but still at the end of the run my feet were very hot.

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The shoes fit like any other running shoe though you will find that your foot sits lower in the shoe. It is a mid to wide shoe and the toe box  feels just right to me. The shoe comes with two sets of laces, traditional and speed. I put in the speed laces as that is what I will wear during triathlons. There is also a very strong pull tab at the back for ease of entry. This pull tab has last longer than any other on other shoes I have had. There is no doubt people will see you coming in the daytime with the shoe being bright orange but at night, there is more than enough reflectors for people to see you.

 

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Over all a very good, especially for those with knee or joint issues. I would certainly buy another pair and they would become my long distance running shoes. When I got these shoes, I could only get them from the U.S, I am happy to say that there are a number of Canadian stores selling the Hoka line of running shoes, that will give runners another option to the main stream running shoes.

Until next time…..Keep on running

Hopefully The Last DNS For Awhile

This weekend is premier running event for the year in Ottawa. It is Ottawa race weekend time and normally at this time I would be starting to gear up for my race. Unfortunately, after much soul searching this will be yet another DNS (did not start) race for me. Early last week, I thought I just might be able to run my race, but the more I thought about it, the more my anxiety grew and I came to the realization that for my own sense of peace and health it was better to sit this one out. I just could not imagine myself in the sea of people, I believe it is a 10,000 person cap for the 10K, for any amount of time.

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I will certainly miss all the fun and excitement that goes along with Race Weekend but mostly, I will miss toeing the start line and celebration party after finishing the race with my friends the most. I will also miss working the race expo this my buddies from the Running Room as I get a charge from hearing the stories from so many people on how they started running and what their goals are for the future. Their stories also gives me motivation to continue on my own journey to IRONMAN.

Today, I being my 12 week training program for my “A” race this year, the St.John’s Triathlon Olympic Distance. So, in preparing for this race, I place to do at least two sprint triathlons before the August 10th St.John’s race.  The two sprints I have decided to do are the Smith Falls Classic on June 28 and the Valens Sprint in Cambridge on July 13th.

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I am looking forward to training and hopefully getting back out there with my friends for bikes and runs over the next four months.

Until next time…..”I am keeping my chin up and moving forward” me.