The one on the exhale…

asthma_inhalerPicture yourself at the gym, on a treadmill next to someone else. The person next to you doesn’t appear to be exerting that much effort but is red-faced, winded and wheezing. Most people’s first thought would be to assume that person is out of shape, maybe even lazy, especially if they happen to also be overweight. A lot of people avoid going to the gym because they assume these thoughts are rampantly playing through other people’s minds as they work out. For me, it’s why I avoid doing cardio in front of other people.

Anyone who knows I am a regular to the gym would assume that I am in shape, given that I have been a frequent gym goer for more than a third of my life. When I do cardio though, I become the dictionary definition of what so many people think of as “out of shape.” I wheeze, huff and puff and get red in the face while doing something as simple as walking on an incline or pushing the stepmill up to level 2.

Like 3 million Canadians and 15 million Americans, I am asthmatic.

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The one with a fond farewell…

It is with great sadness that I announce the retirement of my favourite Nikes.

So long, old friend

So long, old friend

Admittedly, I allowed these runners to extend well past their prime. I loved them though – both aesthetically and for comfort reasons.

I have a hard time finding running shoes because I have an odd shoe size – 10.5 – and most companies either only go up to a 10 or only have half sizes up to 9.5. Nike is one of the few companies that makes running shoes that fit me perfectly.

I got these in the fall of 2012 and I have put well beyond the recommended 500 miles on them. They’ve gotten me through multiple races and everyday cardio but as I was training for the Bluenose Marathon these past couple of months I really started to notice that they were near the end of their life. The tread looks good from the surface, but below it, the midsole has worn down considerably, leading to a fairly noticeable underpronation.

For a brief moment, in the days leading up to the Bluenose, I considered running in my trainers (gasp!) because I didn’t think I would have a good run if I wore these and it was just too close to the race to get a new pair of shoes and break them in. I knew deep down though, that they could come through for me one more time. So I strapped them on, relishing in the comfort that comes with a pair of shoes that has, over time, conformed to the exact shape of my foot and I ran the best race of my life.

Finished the 2013 Bluenose Marathon 10K a full 10 minutes faster than last year!

Finished the 2013 Bluenose Marathon 10k a full 10 minutes faster than last year and 2 minutes faster than all of my training runs!

Now it’s time to say goodbye to my faithful friends and send them off to running shoe heaven. Hopefully I will be able to find a pair of Nikes that I love half as much as my Lunarglide 2’s (they’re actually on the Lunarglide 4 now!) and if they could be pink… well that would just be the perfect way to pay homage to the shoes that took me from out-of-breath-after-30-seconds to 10k’s.

The one about popularity…

This will probably come as no surprise (or maybe it will?) but the most popular entry in this blog is a product review for a certain pair of “Weight Loss Pants”. I use quotes because I am referring to them figuratively and not literally, since they don’t actually do that.

If you’ve forgotten about that series of posts or want to refresh your memory you can find them here and here.

Every time I check the most common search terms that people use when they stumble into my world through the Google machine it’s overwhelmingly that of “Zaggora Hot Pants Review” and I find that any time those damn things go on sale there is a big surge of searching.

This morning I checked my email and there was a Groupon message declaring “Up to 59% Off Weight-Loss HotPants” in the title and I knew there was going to be another jump in searches and decided to bump the topic back up to the top. On a side note, it does make me somewhat happy that people are doing their research before they go ahead and buy something.

For anyone who may be finding this post through post-purchase research, take note:

  • Wearing a pair of noisy shorts 24/7 will not change your body composition.
  • The only way you can do that is through hard work, dedication, balanced nutrition and exercise.
  • Don’t let a gimmicky pair of pants take the credit for all that hard work.

Seriously people, I’ve said it before and I will keep saying it… it doesn’t do this company any benefit for you to actually lose weight. You would then not be buying their stuff and they would go bankrupt (see: weight loss pill industry).

You will lose a ton of water (the pants make you sweat like the dickens because they’re uncomfortably hot – AND NOISY) which you will then have to replace and when you don’t see results you will just work harder until you do then say it was the pants that did it. No, you could have done it in a pair of LuLus because you’re awesome.

If their marketing was true and you could lose 2 pant sizes every week just by wearing the shorts you would eventually waste away. If you want to buy them just to have a pair of knee length running shorts (I do like that about them) I can get behind that, but don’t  buy into the advertising.

/end rant

The one with my results…

Tomorrow will be a week since the Blue Nose Marathon so I figured I might as well catch you all up on how I did!

I could not have asked for a better day to run this 5K. It was a tad on the warm side but luckily I wasn’t going all that far. Keeping the course in mind I had set a goal time for myself of 35:00. Again, slow, but I am a tortoise and proud of it. We started running just after the marathon runners which was a little intimidating because they were SO in it to win and I was like, “Yay 5K! Go me!” haha

My bib and shirt!

We all got warmed up with a little pre race Zumba which was fun, and a different way of warming up. I quite enjoyed it except I almost killed the girl next to me when I stepped on her foot. Oops!

Then we were off! I will say that one thing I didn’t like was that there was no order when they lined everyone up at the start. There were nordic walkers and walkers at the front which made it very challenging to try and get out of the pack.

I spent a lot of time (and energy) dodging around walkers, fighting to get myself to a point where I could set a steady pace and stay in it. Every time I tried I would catch up to a pack of walkers that were walking three across or had nordic poles that I had to try and get around.

I had a chance to make up some of my time when I had the most energy at the start of the race but that took a lot of my time.

Regardless, I managed to get myself behind someone who ran about as fast as me and just settled in. The hill getting up to the top of the Citadel was unreal. I won’t lie, it was downright hard. What surprised me though was that it wasn’t the hardest part. I got up the super steep hill thinking to myself ‘Wow, that wasn’t so bad’ but then had to tackle to really long gradual hills and I found those far more draining on my energy. I pushed through though!

Once I got to the top of Citadel Hill and I knew that all that was left was downhill, a flat section, and a slight uphill to the finish I got a little excited/emotional. It was a beautiful view from way up there, I could see the entire city – so impressive. I really had to hold myself back when I actually said to myself, “The hardest part of this is over. You’re going to finish strong.” That was at the 3K flag.

Admittedly, I didn’t finish as strong as I would have liked to. I made a stupid mistake on the downhill section. I thought I could pick up some of the time I lost on the uphill by speeding my jog up to a run. The problem being that I didn’t really slow back down when I got to the flat section and by the time I hit the uphill to the finish I was toast. My body rebelled against me and just came to a complete stop. I had to walk for about 30 seconds but I did NOT want to walk across the finish line.

This is where it gets kind of funny. I needed to run again but my lungs were burning and my legs hurt and I just wanted to be done. So I resorted to drastic measures and said to myself, “Dinosaurs are chasing you. You’d better run.” For some ridiculous reason that worked and I scrounged up every tiny bit of energy I had left and sprinted to the finish line. My finish line photos are simply horrendous. I look TERRIBLE! lol

I finished though (within a minute and a half of my goal!) and that’s what matters. Now, I just want to get a bit faster!

Blue Nose Marathon 5K Results 
Goal time: 0:35:00
Finish time: 0:36:17.1
663rd place out of 1414 runners
179th out of 298 women 20-29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next race: Support the Troops Navy 10K – 19 August 2012

The one about countdowns…

I have to admit, I’m feeling a little stressed.

My life has been sort of a whirlwind the past couple of weeks (hence the lack of posts) because I am currently on my internship for school. It has kept me very busy and mentally exhausted so although I have a lot of ideas for Fatty that have brewed, I haven’t had the energy to sit down and write them.

One thing that hasn’t faltered (maybe a little) has been my workouts. I have made that a top priority. My job starts at 8am so it means I have to get up and go to the gym earlier than I was before and I really only have an hour once I’m there. My gym doesn’t open until 5:30 and I have to leave my house by 7:30 in order to get to work on time. So I’m somewhat restricted in what I can get done.

I have had plenty of time to focus on my strength training but my cardio has suffered. I have taken to doing some cardio after I get home from work but I seem to lack some of the enthusiasm that I have in the mornings. This wouldn’t be an issue except that the Bluenose Marathon is THIS WEEKEND.

Being realistic, I called a changed my registration from the 10K to the 5K because I haven’t ran a solid 5K in … two months? Before I started my internship I had been doing sprint training and was only doing endurance cardio once a week and usually on a bike (more kilometres, less time). That has sort of left me in a precarious situation because I feel like I am going into this under trained.

Anyone who runs halfs and marathons is likely rolling their eyes at my pathetic fears of delivering a weak 5K but running is not a strength of mine at the best of times. I am built for strength, not speed. I just don’t want to be disappointed with my results.

I’m going to try and get a couple of 5Ks in this week, then take Saturday off completely to rest up for Sunday morning. Wish me luck, I’ll let you know how it goes!

The one with the shins…

I feel like I have been neglecting my blogging duties. I find this most troublesome.

When I realized today that it had been more than a week since my last post I wondered what on earth happened that threw off my schedule so much?! The answer, of course, is life. I’m coming into the home stretch of school, roughly four weeks left before I go on my internship. I’m trying to prep for the real world that will be on the other side, keeping up with volunteer commitments and of course leaving plenty of time for my training.

I was recently given the opportunity to write an article for an upcoming issue of OptiMYz Magazine. It was very exciting, especially once I learned that I would be interviewing an incredibly inspiring marathon runner/triathlete that lives in my city. I met her for coffee and we chatted for an hour, it was awesome. I definitely asked questions far beyond the realm of the article but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when there was a wealth of knowledge sitting right there in front of me. I won’t go into many more details because I don’t want to spoil the article. (It’ll be in the May/June edition – Goodlife members get the mag for free so there’s no excuse not to read it :P)

Before the interview my running had been less than stellar. Fine, less than existent. My running had been going… okay… back in January/February but I let weights take over and let the cardio fall by the wayside, my own fault. Part of the reason I typically avoid running is that I always get shin splints. I could jog to catch the light at a crosswalk and get them. I dream about running and wake up with sore shins.

Prior to suffering a knee injury in 2007 I had never even heard of shin splints, let alone had them. I’m unsure if perhaps the months of being injured followed by months of recovery had altered my gait or if my shins just decided to hate me but once I started running again it was awful.

When I started looking up causes/preventions there seemed to be a general assumption that if you get shin splints you don’t have strong calves or you’re a beginner. Neither of those things really apply to me. Some people said ‘oh they just go away after a few minutes!’ except they don’t. I’ve had them during and after every single run since 2007.

I finally cracked and saw the doctor. Which, for me, is huge because I hate to complain about my ailments. The doctor sent me to physio, the physio said get new shoes. Got new, expensive, not-supposed-to-lead-to-shin-splits quality footwear and still got shin splints. I then saw a pedorthist (which I still credit for being one of the best things I have ever done!) who discovered that I have one leg that is longer than the other, which may have been the root cause for my knee problems, hip problems and *gasp* shin splints! I got amazing orthotics which have made my knee stronger than ever and corrected the issues with my hip but I’m still getting shin splints!

I’m at a loss at this point. I can’t enjoy running if every time I do it I want to rip my shins off five minutes in. There’s got to be something else I can do, someone else I can see for a different opinion, to try and rectify this problem. Have any of you ever suffered with this annoying curse?

Product Review – Zaggora Hot Pants (the finale!)

It’s been two weeks, time to see the results of the Zaggora Hot Pants test!

To bring you up to speed in case you missed the last post on this topic (though you can read it here) the company that sells these shorts claims they will slim you down by two pant sizes in just two weeks. The only thing you need to do is exercise in the shorts for 30 minutes a day, three times a week. Easy, right?

I tried to do one better and I did my entire hour and a half workout in the pants for 3-4 days both weeks. I figured that the extra time wouldn’t hurt the results. On the Zaggora website they also say that wearing the shorts for every day tasks such as housework, laundry, and sleeping would also enhance the magic so, in the spirit of trying everything they say, I did that too. I’m surprised I could sleep considering how loud the shorts are but I managed to do it! 😛

I’m a size 10 (US) so if the shorts worked the way they said I should be able to fit into an 8, right? Also, I took measurements before I started wearing them. My hips were 42″ and thighs 25.3″.

Time for the big reveal… after two weeks of wearing the noisiest pants in history during my runs, while I slept, and while I did dishes I lost a grand total of… *drum roll*

NOTHING! 

Yup, that’s right. I’m exactly the same size now as I was when I started this product review. All in all I’d say that the Zaggora Hot Pants did not live up to the hype. They did make me sweat more but what I lost in water I was replenishing because I drink a lot of fluids every day. I went above and beyond their “requirements”, was still eating healthy meals, and drinking more than enough water so their claims that someone who can eat burgers for lunch every day and still lose two sizes by wearing a pair of shorts? False. My guess is it’s either a placebo effect or they are using results from people who drastically change their eating habits for the better when they start wearing them.

(This is the reason “results not typical” disclaimers exist.)

Be on the lookout for the next product review soon where we’ll nibble on the (far less noisy) Enerjive quinoa snack crisps!

The one where I strap on some sneakers…

I have officially signed up for the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon 2012, Goodlife Fitness 10K. (It took a lot for me to not sign up for the Bens Smart 5K. Mostly, because it’s sponsored by bread.) I’ve done a lot of runs before but this will be the first time I have made an effort to race against my own time. I’m thinking at this point that I maybe should have gone for the 5K but I want to challenge myself. At the same time though I would rather have a really good 5K run then struggle through a 10K cursing my decision the whole way. Bah!
I guess there’s nothing to say I won’t be able to do the 10K as long as I work for it! And work it will take because running is a weakness for me. I don’t like it, and I don’t think I’m very good at it. I always have to push myself to run when I would much rather be in a weight room. I just need to do it though and I think that knowing I have something coming up in the spring will give me the drive to do so.

Ideally I’d like to work my way up and run a different race each year. Start with the 10K this year then next year do the half marathon and marathon. Running a 42.2K marathon is an incredibly daunting goal that will take a massive amount of dedication and determination but I know if it’s something I decide to do I can do it.

Normally I do my running indoors. I have a treadmill in my apartment and I use a treadmill when I go to the gym but I think for the purposes of training for this race I need to get outside. Running outside has such a different dynamic but I feel ready for it. Starting my foray into outdoor running in the middle of winter probably isn’t the greatest idea but hey, you burn more calories in the cold! 😛

My initial goal is to start getting up early and going for a run rather than the late night treadmill action I normally have on the go. I think it will be refreshing to kick off my day with some fresh air and exercise! I’ll keep you posted.

Are you available and near Halifax on Victoria Day weekend? If so, I’ll race you. http://www.bluenosemarathon.com/en/

It feels a bit like spring out there!

I just went for the most amazing run! 😀

It’s quite mild, almost spring-like, today so I knew I wanted to get out for a bit. I bundled myself up (though admittedly ended up peeling back some layers it was so warm at one point!) and set out. Last couple of times I have been out it has been dark so I took advantage of the daylight to choose a different path.

I went through a small park and wooded area which made things interesting having to run over rocks and up grassy hills, then merged back onto the road. The path I chose had a lot more hills than I had been anticipating but there were as many down as there were up so I got a chance to take a breather and build some momentum every now and then.

I was out for about 45 minutes including a 5 minute warm up and cool down and had to make myself come in since I was starting to get damp and chilly (it’s about 3°C/37°F). It made for a fantastic afternoon, I’m now full of energy and ready to take on the evening!