Saturday, April 18, 2015

The post about training hard, my abdomen and Canadian Running

A sunroof selfie from last week. I just like this picture. And the filter almost
eliminated my crow's feet. Almost...

  • Yes, I know. Two weeks. Two weeks since I blogged. This is likely going to be picture heavy because I don't have too much to say. Easter came and went very uneventfully. I had my family over to my house for Good Friday. I made Salmon, Haddock, broccoli and perogy. Guess what I didn't have? My family loves perogy and it was a staple during holidays in my house while growing up. My mother was Polish. I used to make them homemade, but since I no longer eat them, I buy them from a Polish bakery. Such a cheater. They still taste pretty good according to my brother. 
  • We spent Easter Sunday with my in-laws. Julien was spoiled with money. Lots and lots of money. Italians love to hand out cash. He got a basket from the Easter bunny which is never easy to fill because he doesn't like chocolate and very little candy. Just gummies and suckers. There's only so many gummies and suckers you can get a kid. He eats a bit the day he gets it, then forgets about them. So he got a video game and books. He was happy and is still at an age where he doesn't care or notice that his video game was previously enjoyed. Score, and another cheat

My very "optimistic" training schedule for the rest of April.

  • I've mentioned that I am currently training for the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon. Again, one of my favorite races to date. A well organized event and I got to run it with my running mentor Carol. I didn't personal best for the Around the Bay. Not even close. I still haven't looked at my official time. I know it's about 12 minutes slower. I would like to PB for this race. So I am training hard. I'm running 5 days a week including hill repeats, Cycling up the escarpment twice per week, yoga twice per week, and taking two additional classes for lower body strengthening through the week. I'm also doing squats, clam shells, monster walks, negative heel lifts and major stretching daily as per my athletic therapist's instruction. This past week was my first week and I stuck to my schedule except for the additional strengthening classes because acupuncture and physio appointments happened instead. And I know that having such a full schedule could result in burnout. So I'm listening to my body. If I need a rest day, I will rest.
  • Athletic therapy is going well. My AT is knowledgeable at what he does. He treats all the McMaster University athletes and me. I hang out with a bunch of university students who are hoping to one day be Olympic bound. Then there's little ole me. Talk about feeling intimidated. I'm hoping to dazzle them with my quick wit and humor. Hoping for an invite to the next keg night. Back to my therapy. I have to run on the dreadmill, a lot. But that's when he screams direction at me to correct my form. He's a screamer and a toucher. When he yells, I listen. Right now I'm building up my glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves. And I'm leading with my knees instead of my nose like I tend to do. Thank God there are no mirrors in the treadmill area.

Coffee time? I don't even have a 2 pack yet...

  • One of the most asked questions I get via my blogger email, Instagram and Twitter direct message is if I've had skin removal surgery. I've not talked about this in a while so I'll divulge this information once again. I mentioned in my last post that I plan on getting an upper arm lift this coming fall. That is the area that was most noticeably affected by my weight loss. I have areas to tighten and tone, but that will happen in the gym. If I had unlimited funds, I'd get the upper arm lift, a breast lift (not enhancement), and some lipo on my outer thighs and lower abdomen (above c-section scar). The outer thighs and abdomen can be made better in the gym. Of that I am certain. So that is what I will do. It takes hard work to get results and as much as I hate the gym, I have to build up my lower body anyway for running performance. I might as well get some abs while I'm there. So the answer is no. I've not had skin removal surgery. 
  • Right now I am focused on dropping a bit of weight. I want to get leaner before I start to build muscle. Last summer when I went hard in the gym for a couple months I got bulkier. That's not what I want. I want to get rid of the excess fat and then strengthen and build up muscle. I've been chasing ketosis all week. Eating only protein and veggies grown above ground. I check my urine every morning. Nothing. But I did lose 4 pounds from Monday to Friday. So at least the scale is going in the right direction. And I can feel a difference in my clothes. Once I drop 10-15 pounds in total, I'll start with the weights again. Exciting times!!!

One of my last wine times (with Tanya) before going very low carb again.

  • I've not mentioned this yet even though it happened a couple months ago. My best running gal Tanya has moved home. Remember how heart broken I was that she moved to Stockholm? Then I went all the way to Stockholm to run a half marathon with her? Good times! Well she is back and we are reunited. We still need to run, and that will happen soon.  We are going to do some races together. The Meredith Hagan Inspiration Run in Mountsberg Conservation Area on June 20th for one. I've run this race twice. It's mostly trails and a great run. Meredith Hagan was a triathlete who was killed in a cycling accident with a car. The Meredith Hagan Foundation holds this race every year around her birthday to raise money for a local charity. This is near and dear to Tanya's heart because her hubby went to school with Meredith. 
  • So, something exciting happened yesterday. I swung by Coles to pick up a couple copies of Canadian Running Magazine. Because lo and behold, there is an article about me in there. Editor-in-chief Michael Doyle and staff writer (and Twitter buddy) Noel Paine wrote an awesome story about how running has changed my life. LOVED doing this interview. Mostly because I got to talk about something I'm passionate about. Running, running and more running.

Yep, got the cashier to photograph me in the store. I was the only customer there!

Friday, April 3, 2015

The post about The Bay, a TV show and taking the plunge

My highlight of the Around the Bay expo? Meeting this superstar.

  • Lots to catch up on because I left the blog for a period of time again. You know, life. I'll touch on the 3 main things that have happened over the past nine days. I ran the Around the Bay 30K last Sunday. This was my 3rd year running it. My 2nd time doing the full distance. Awesome experience as always. I'm not a pain free runner as yet. Or maybe ever. But more about that in a bit.
  • See the gentleman in the photo above? That's Eric Gillis. He ran the Men's Marathon for Team Canada the past two Olympics. What an awesome experience meeting him. He's from my dad's hometown of Anigonish, Nova Scotia. We talked Antigonish for a while and running of course. I don't give a hoot about stars, but when I see elite runners, I get all star struck.
  • So The Bay. Always an awesome experience. This year was different though. They had to take the hill on Valley Inn Road out because of construction for the Pan Am Games. CN is building another track. That hill is a real challenge. Big and right near the end. But, it's part of The Bay. Any personal bests from this year may not be repeated next year. I met up with a Twitter friend and her friend and we started the race together. Such a rush meeting someone you only communicate with on-line. Karen is real!!!!
  • So we started the race together, but we didn't finish together. I ran with Karen for 22K. We kept a good pace and if I could have kept that pace up, I would have PB'd for sure. But, my toes cramped at 15K. I felt the tingles start at 5K. Tingling leads to numbness which leads to cramping which leads to the extreme pain. Sucks to be me. But not really. I'm running so I am thankful. When we finished the last hill on North Shore Boulevard, I sent her on her own. I had to start walking out the cramps if I was going to finish.
  • The last 8K consisted of me walking for a few hundred meters before I could run for a kilometer or so. All in all I walked about 2K. I did not beat my time from last year. Not even close. But I finished. And that was my goal. 

Post race wine time with my medal and race shirt.

  • Next up, the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon on June 7th. I love this event. Super well organized and you get VQA wine in your swag bag. Nuff said. The medal and shirts are awesome too. I've lots of work to do in the next couple of months to prepare. I'm hoping to "personal best" for this race. 
  • I started working with an Athletic Therapist in physio and he has done a complete gait and running analysis on me. No surprise that I have to build up my glutes, hips and hamstrings/thighs. I've 8 exercises I have to do everyday to build up the muscle in these areas. Most notably, squats, squats and more squats. At least I'll end up with an awesome ass. And he found out that my right side is much weaker than my left side and my left leg is shorter than my right leg. That says a lot about my running form right there. I'm pumped to work with him. He's confident he can make me a much more efficient runner. And the longer I can run without tiring, the longer it will take for my toes to cramp. I've known that all along. 
  • I'm still getting acupuncture for the Morton's Neuroma. It can't hurt and I'm still hopeful it will help. I'm still attending Intramuscular Stimulation Therapy for my chronic hamstring pain. That has helped immensely. Like night and day. My hamstring used to ache when I would be sitting for long periods of time. It hasn't for a few weeks now. It doesn't hurt, but it grosses me out and can be uncomfortably achy. Needles in the muscles/nerves that are then manipulated to make them contract is no joke yo...

Photos from the Marilyn Denis Show. 

  • This past Wednesday I was given an awesome opportunity to be a guest on the Marilyn Denis show. It was her Extreme Weight Loss episode and I was thrilled to be a part of it and talk about my experiences with Dr. Poon, Paleo and running. And I got a mini make over. It's always fun to get dressed up to look like I never do in real life. They always want to put me in a dress or skirt and I have knee scars from falling so much:-)
  • The show focused on me and two other amazing women who lost a lot of weight. We each did it a different way, all maintaining 2+ years out. So much fun and it was incredible to meet all the people who were a part of this. The episode is on-line. You can give it a gander if you feel so inclined.
  • If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know about my post weight loss scars. Physical and emotional. I struggle with self esteem, but I also have loose skin. My arms are the bane of my existence. When I was morbidly obese, my arms were huge. Like bigger than any one who may have been the same size as me. At my heaviest, in my 20's, I was easily 330 pounds. That means I'm half my original size. I have a pretty decent abdomen and my butt and outer thighs could use work, but a lot of that can be corrected in the gym. Something I'm going to get serious about now. Especially since tightening/strengthening those areas will help with my running. 
  • But my arms make me super self conscious. I'd never wear short sleeves or sleeveless tops in public. And I'd love to do that one day. I made the decision a while ago that I would be having an upper arm lift to correct this area. I'm going to start the process with some consultations. I'd like to have the surgery this fall after I complete training for a "to be determined" fall race. If I run a half in September, I've a couple months hiatus for healing before I have to start training for The Bay again. 
  • This is very exciting for me. Confidence is hard for me to come by. And being able to wear singlets while running? A dream come true. And those cute little summer dresses. I've already lost my boobs to weight loss, I can totally rock those dresses if I have the arms for it!

Flashback Friday to when I was on the Steven and Chris Show back in February
2013 (2 left pics). Who did it better? My fave outfit is the black dress. It's
still in my closet. I haven't worn it since...