New year, same dilemma

Another fabulous week. Looks like my fears that we would return to the seasonal cold in Ottawa were, for now at least, misplaced. The weather in Ottawa this past week has been nothing short of fantastic.

Winter has not yet left, though. It is like the proverbial B-movie villain, you only think it’s dead and then it comes back. In fact, we’re under a winter storm warning and supposed to be getting 15 cm today. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the tease of spring while preparing for the enemy’s return.

I have to admit that Sunday’s run was a tad frustrating. My grumpiness began when my Garmin took seemingly forever to get a signal. The slower pace groups left before mine and we had to pass them on the narrow downtown sidewalks as we started. To avoid the bulk of the crowds coming to the Rideau Canal for the last weekend of Winterlude, made all the worse by the fact the NCC finally clued into the warm weather and closed the skateway, we ran mostly on the Gatineau side of the river. Normally, I like running on the Gatineau side, particularly when we turn right off the Portage Bridge towards the Museum of Civilization.

Sunday, we turned left. Since the sidewalk on the river side of Rue Laurier was not cleared, it was a two part crossing at Laurier and  Maisonneuve and the traffic signals are set to ridiculously long intervals in Gatineau. I swear the crosswalk buttons are there just to make you feel like you’re doing something because they certainly didn’t speed up the signals. The frequent intersections meant several unscheduled stops. I think our last 10 minute interval was the only uninterrupted one.

Another problem was speed. This one is my fault. With the frequent waits for walk lights at intersections, the slower pace groups would catch up. Not wanting the groups to get mixed up, I would start off at the intersection a little fast and then once we had gained some distance slow them down to their expected pace. As I slowed them down after the last intersection, I noticed one of my pace group trying to pass me. I warned her to slow down. At that point we were going near our tempo pace of 5:50 min/km, way, way too fast for an LSD run.

Instead of taking my advice, she complained we were going to slow. I honestly believed the oxygen wasn’t getting to her brain. Her posture was that of an 80 year old man and her breathing was that of a pack-a-day smoker, but as my father would say, “You can’t tell a Heinz pickle nuthin'”.

Maybe she legitimately belonged in the faster pace group? “What’s your best time for a 5 or 10K?”

“I did a 10K in 42 minutes.”


“5 years ago.”

Slow down.

After some back and forth, I just relented, reminded her if she gets injured there’s no refunds and let her get ahead. We caught up to her before finishing our 7th km.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s runs were much better. Tuesday we had a 3K tempo run after our clinic talk. Our clinic talk was about clothes this week. Unfortunately, the crowd was down because it was reading week at the universities so many of the students who are in the clinic weren’t there. The clothing talk is a rather important one for this particular clinic. In the sixteen weeks between the start and end of our clinic, we will train through pretty much anything God can throw at us. We start in winter, train through spring and by the time Ottawa Race Weekend comes, the weather will be summer-like. In all the years I’ve been going to ORW, first as part of Christian’s cheering section/post-race gin dispenser and now as a participant, race day weather is almost always mid-twenties in base temperature with humidity. Last year, the temperature jumped ten degrees in as many minutes before gun time for my first 5K.

The extremes of hot and cold are easy to dress for. It’s the middle temps that are difficult. I’ve tended to overdress for the more mild temperatures. It’s not such a big deal for the shorter distances, although Wednesday was warm enough I shed my gloves mid-run, but it can be a problem for the long runs. Either way, the new habit of bringing a change of clothes to the Running Room comes in handy. As I wrote last week, changing prevents you from cooling down too fast and properly regulate your body temp.

Wednesday we had a 4K tempo run. It was also Ash Wednesday. Like a good Catholic, I went to mass and got ashes on my forehead. I had to explain a few times on the walk home what the “stuff” on my forehead was. Oddly enough, the first time was at the Bridgehead coffee shop a mere two blocks from the Cathedral. By the time we finished the run, any semblance of the sign of the cross on my ashen forehead was gone in favour of a big blackish grey smudge.

Yes, it’s Lent again. This year’s dilemma for a Lenten fast is pretty much the same as last year’s. Most of the junk food that I gave up when I began my weight loss journey last year has not been re-incorporated in my eating habits. What has returned is taken so infrequently that it would not be a sacrifice to give it up, thus negating the point. Example: chicken wings and pizza. I’ve had each these exactly twice since reaching my target weight. Giving them up for 40 days would be no sacrifice. I no longer crave these items. Like last year, I’m going with more behavioural sacrifices.

Speaking of food, I’ve been experimenting with a couple of sides that I subjected to friends this weekend. The main was salmon fillets crusted with a cajun spice rub Vicky’s parents sent back with her for me as a Christmas present (BTW, thanks Bernice and Claude!).  First experiment, kale. I’m not fussy on raw kale, but when I made the rigatoni dish a couple of weeks ago, I noticed how easy it was to cook in a frying pan. I’ve been flash frying it in olive oil, garlic, chili pepper flakes, and oregano. It literally takes five minutes and is delicious. We all know those leafy greens are good for us.

Another thing I did was roasted fennel. I halved a fennel bulb and chopped into half inch strips. I brushed some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roasted it along with some eggplant for 40 minutes at 400F.  The roasting brings out a black liquorice taste that is quite good, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like black liquorice.

Still enjoying the Greco workouts 3 to 4 times a week. I’m typically going Monday and Friday at 7 am for the regular Lean and Fit workouts and Tuesday and Thursday at 8 am for the Extreme Lean workouts. This week’s workouts were killer. Tuesday’s included super high box jumps, with the bench stacked to about my mid-thigh. I felt like Spiderman every time I landed the jump going up and was scared shitless jumping down. Just hoped it didn’t aggravate the right shin muscles. I still don’t have the full mobility back, but it only bothers me when I’m twisting it some unnatural way to get a post-workout stretch on. Might be time for a massage.

Also noticed my right forearm isn’t as strong as left one. Please hold the masturbation jokes. I’ve already heard them. Hurt like hell doing a squat row yesterday morning with a kettle bell in each hand. I could only manage the 8kg bells. This morning for the regular Lean and Fit, we did the one bell/two hands version of the same exercise. I was back to using a heavier bell, but still felt it in the arm when I was done. Hope I haven’t worked my way into an injury.

Whatever the problem is, I’ll figure it out and adapt my training to compensate. No station stops. This train only goes forward.



6 responses

  1. Try not to worry so much about the odd runner who doesn’t stick to pace. This is the time during the half training schedule that if unconditioned or new to this training distance the mileage and too fast running (and hills) will catch up with someone for sure – but we are not their parent 😉 off pace for a fraction of the overall run is unlikely to be a big deal – for the whole run ? Well yes.

    Your own training schedule sounds pretty packed. Maybe hole back on the bells and plyo until you have zero pain? Lots you can do for metabolic work out without box jumps and complex kbell exercises 🙂 hoping you stay injury free!!!

    1. Thanks. The increasing length of the Sunday runs seems to be knocking the piss out of her already. As for the arm, a friend suggested I tag along to visit her RMT this weekend. I figure, what the heck.

  2. […] back with a vengeance to the Ottawa region. We not only got the winter storm that was called for in last week’s post, but another one is raging while I write this a week later. In between, wind, wind, and more wind. […]

  3. […] across the Alexandra Bridge to Gatineau and back to Ottawa across the Portage Bridge. Unlike the last time we ran in Gatineau, there were no intersections with 5 minute waits between walk […]

  4. You are a very intelligent individual!

  5. […] run training got interesting on Sunday. I hate this route. All the problems with it I mentioned about it on the previous post were once again manifest. Too many traffic lights which are seemingly longer on the Gatineau side. The pace groups bunch up […]

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