I love running!

I love running!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Spring races & Nutrition tweaks

I am back to full training and it feels so good and so tiring at the same time. I am running 3 workouts a week, with one of those workouts included in my long run, while keeping my milage relatively low at around 70 miles per week. I am finding that the half/marathon pace workouts are starting to come back, but my speed still needs a lot of work. I know it will come so I am just plugging away and enjoying the process.  Apart from a bout with the stomach flu and a tough emotional week I have managed to keep my training pretty consistent. I am working on ensuring my easy days truly are easy days and that I am taking the time to recover between sessions. Lot of rolling, attempts at good sleep and proper nutrition are the focus.

Speaking of nutrition, in early February I had a slew of blood taken by the lovely people at Inside Tracker www.insidetracker.com. My intention was to see how well my nutrition is holding up while starting back to training, A baseline of my blood values so to speak. I am hoping that learning more about my blood levels will help me to have less colds/flus and also help me to stay healthy physically and recover well from training. I will be interested to see how increases in training, moreover  racing impacts these values with future testing.

I was happy to learn that in general my current nutrition and supplement use has me on track with optimal levels in most of my blood levels. I have been concerned with ferritin levels in the past but my ferritin levels were optimal with this testing. I had never previously had my Vitamin D levels tested, and living in the PNW I was concerned about these, again these were optimal indicating my daily Vitamin D and Iron supplements are working.

Also of interest to me were areas where I can improve to bring myself to optimum levels. I plan to use food as my primary intervention. The fantastic thing with Inside Tracker is they provide you with food suggestions to help increase levels that aren't optimal. Another great thing with Inside Tracker is they also answered any questions I had when I didn't understand certain levels.

For instance my TIBC was low. I wasn't sure what this meant, but after consultation with the dieticians at Inside Tracker it turns out this isn't of concern as my Ferritin is optimal. Here is what they let me know

 "ferritin is the most important metric for iron metabolism. Since that is optimal, no need to tweak anything related to iron intake. TIBC is a function of iron and TS. Since these measures can change on a daily basis they are less important for overall iron function. Ferritin takes much longer to change. TIBC is in relation to serum iron in the blood, not the stored iron, ferritin. It does not mean that the body cannot use the ferritin stores, but rather has to do with iron before it is stored. But again, since ferritin is optimal, it is not a concern."

I was also low in DHEAS and here is what they said regarding this: 

"DHEAS does decrease with age. The optimal zones are adjusted for age so your result is in relation to where a women your age should expect. Yes, it can be low due to stress. It is not necessarily related to colds; however, stress and high cortisol negatively impact the immune system. WBC may be in the optimal range, but they fluctuate frequently. Cortisol suppresses the immune system which makes you more susceptible to illness. "

This to me means I need to be really focused on recovery both with nutrition and rest to keep my stress levels lower. I also need to be diligent in using yoga or meditation or both to keep my cortisol levels down. I have quite a few outside stressors and I need to manage these as best as I can to optimize my health.  My low DHEAS also can be a reason for my feeling of fatigue often through training. Some of the foods that I will increase in my diet to help my DHEAS levels include fish, avocados and dark chocolate, all foods I enjoy! 

Anthers area I need to improve is my LDL. Again increasing fish intake will help with this as well adding spirulina to my smoothies and increasing my oat and barley intake. 

I am hopeful that by tweaking my diet, improving my sleep, and adding meditation and yoga daily,  I will be able to continue to train at a high level and to recover efficiently. My coach Richard Lee and I have decided that going in to the spring racing season I will be focusing on short races. My longest race will be Bloomsday in May, and that is a 12k. I am starting my racing season with a rust buster this coming Saturday at the West Van Run 5k. I am truly excited to get out there and try and run fast, while getting a sense of where my fitness is at. I am also going to be racing way outside my comfort zone and running a couple of track races this spring. I will return to the longer races in the fall. 

I am really excited to get the race season underway and to see how little changes in my lifestyle impact my racing and training.  A huge thank you to my family, coach Richard Lee, BCEP team mates, Oiselle, Forerunners, New Balance Canada, Nuun, RunGo, Addaday and  Zensah for their continued support. It takes a community! 

Out for a tempo during my long run with Coach Rich

Enjoying the sunshine and scenery of Jericho Park on a gorgeous day

Post snowy run with the New Balance crew

Showing off our favourite New Balance Shoes

snowy trail runs have been more often than usual this year

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A new year and I'm back up and running...

So I've neglected this blog since being injured in September. Perhaps as the injury lingered for 12 weeks and I didn't have a lot to report on in the running front, and I didn't feel motivated to share all the joys of cross training (elliptical, cyber arc, pool and bike workouts just don't seem as fun to me).  Now, however, I am back up and running and excited for the new year. It's been about 8 weeks since 
I started my walk/run program and I am now back up to running every day. Last week I started back to a full workout schedule. Every time I start back I realize how much I missed running, while simultaneously recognizing how much running fitness I have lost and that running is not easy!

I plan to take the next month to continue to build some fitness while continuing to focus on the little things, or the foundation if you will. I have been diligently rolling every day and performing my physio activation exercises before every run (thanks to Addaday Canada for taking me on as a rep, their tools are extremely helpful with pre run and post run recovery). I have also been getting massage and visiting my physio as frequently as needed. I have started back with strength training that involves more than just body weight exercises and am working at getting in at least one yoga class per week. I signed up for online yoga (@jasyoga) as it enables me to do quick yoga sessions when I can't get out to class. I am scheduling all these workouts as if they were a run to ensure I get them done, as in the past, these were always the first to go if I was busy, I am now giving them as much priority as a run.

I am also being proactive with my nutrition going forward. This piece of the puzzle is one I feel will make a big difference in my training. Generally I eat well and maintain a healthy diet, however I do have a sweet tooth. Moreover, during parts of my training blocks I often feel run down or tired, or get  sick, or have difficulty with sleep.  I have decided to partner with Inside Tracker after reading many other athletes positive experiences with this company to help me get on top of my nutrition, and hopefully get on top of these issues. A rep from Inside Tracker (www.insidetracker.com) will be drawing some blood from me next week and they will be analyzing it to determine where I am being successful with my nutrition and will pinpoint areas I can improve on. I look forward to seeing the results and implementing their suggestions in to my diet in hopes that this will keep me stronger and healthier going forward. As a masters runner I really feel that I need to be on top of all aspects of my health even more so than when I was younger. I feel that right now is a great time to get a base level of where I am at nutritionally as I am just building up workouts and milage and am not into peak training and racing season yet. I plan to repeat the tests throughout my training cycle to see how my nutrition tweaks make a difference with my training and racing. I do believe they will make a big difference.

As for my training and racing plans going forward, I plan to follow the guidance of my amazing coach Richard Lee who knows when to push me. There is a possibility I will be lining up at a half marathon in about 12 days. It is a local, yet very competitive event. If I decide to run it will be to test were I am at in my fitness and to get a hard training session in, as I am not race ready with only a couple of weeks of workouts under my belt.  I love getting out to race and it is never easy to toe the line with a big question mark as to pace, but it's a great opportunity to get back out there, see a ton of my running friends and to push myself. After that I will be making some decisions as to what I want to focus on in the Spring for racing. I might try hitting the track at some point, getting really out of my comfort zone! I will also be planning some road races. I will definitely not be doing a marathon this spring as I want to give my body plenty of time to get used to running again before putting myself through a marathon training cycle.

Thank as always to my amazing sponsors Oiselle, Nuun Hydration, Zensah Compression, Forerunners Vancouver, New Balance Canada, Addaday Canada and RunGo app.

Thank to Inside Tracker for helping me get on top of my Nutrition.

Thanks to all my friends and family who support me through the highs and lows and to my coach Richard Lee for all his support.
 Yes there have been some chilly days in Vancouver this training season :) Beautiful though!

 Running in Poco with my training partner Kirsten Lee

 First run back with the BCEP crew

 warm, sunny family vacation days make for great recovery 

 showing off some of my new training shoes courtesy of Forerunners and New Balance

Enjoying being back out there