Aug 30, 2012

Back to the Road

Tonight was my first night running since last Thursday. I set my  app incorrectly, everyone else's GPS  said we did 7.9 km but mine registered barely 6 because I had it set on inside running (treadmill) so it was using the accelerometer instead of the GPS...kind of bummed that it didn't record properly, but thrilled that I ran that far after not running for so long.

We did a new to me route that I really liked, except it was so dark coming back through the University Campus and since I am never sure of where I'm going that made me nervous, but thankfully the instructor came back for me so I didn't get lost. This run was a short jaunt through the campus then all residential/commercial neighbourhoods which means curbs, lights, uneven pavement and asphalt - not my favourite terrain...I much prefer trails or gravel so my knees are a little sore tonight, but nothing a hot bath won't fix.

I didn't take a painkiller or antibiotic this afternoon so I could try and run without an upset stomach, although my ears did hurt, the pain was not as bad as it has been so I think the antibiotics are finally working their magic. 

Aug 29, 2012


Thats how I am feeling the last few days!

Between my stomach being upset because of antibiotics, painkillers making me drowsy, waking up in the middle of the night with searing ear pain and dizziness and general nausea and dizziness most of my waking hours and not being able to walk for more than few minutes without the world spinning, let alone run - I feel completely out sorts and know?

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge all the kind comments on my last post and the photos and I have a longer post that was meant to follow that one but it is still ruminating in my vertigo fogged brain but I'll get to it at some point, I promise.

I'm skipping running again tonight but I want to get back to my Clinic tomorrow night. I have two 10Ks scheduled for the Fall and I need to be ready.

That's it from me for now.

Aug 26, 2012

Now and Then

No exercise today at all. My ears are much worse and the swelling and redness is back. I am going to see my family doctor tomorrow. I was in too much pain and too dizzy to walk even. I made a 12 day streak though - will work on beating this week!

Comparing today to Dec 2007.

191 to 250+

Aug 25, 2012

Mount Nemo

Today I went to meet my friend Tina and her dog, Sadie, so we could do a hike at Mount Nemo. This is a nice hike, beautiful scenery, challenging trails climbing over rocks and tree roots in the trail and a lot of uphill. I love it! We ended up doing a not easy 3.5k and worked up quite a sweat. This wasn’t the trail I was thinking of yesterday when I said it was easy!

I didn’t have any vertigo while hiking but my ear kept popping as we were quite high on the escarpment and the popping felt like stabbing in my head.

IMG_1399 sign

This is typical of the terrain.

Up, up and up.

IMG_1381 IMG_1384

Queen of the Escarpment

Looking down on a farm


Tree roots everywhere!

The start of the trail – nice and easy!


Then I came home, showered, went out for groceries, had a nap and got all pretty to have a girls’ night out,  and then just as I was waiting for her to pick me up, she called to cancel. After the hair, the make up, the heels….actually I was very disappointed, I was looking forward to a grown up night out. As the evening wore on I got more disappointed and found myself truly missing having a car for the first time since I’ve not had one (beginning of June). I just wanted to escape. My ear was hurting pretty bad so I knew I shouldn’t run and although I tossed around the idea of a walk, I didn’t feel like going out alone. So, I did something I’ve not done since I was a teenager – I lay on my bed and listened to 80’s love songs.

Going to make myself a quick dinner and then call it an early night I think.

Aug 24, 2012

From Ear to There

I mentioned yesterday that I had earaches and felt off all day and a few days before I had some vertigo while going up and down the Wentworth stairs. Thank you for all your kind messages and concern on those two posts.

Last night, the pain in my ears was so severe that just my hair brushing against them was agony. Crazy, right?

I got very little sleep last night and I was popping Tylenol every three hours and it was not touching the pain. When I finally got up this morning and saw myself in the mirror I almost screamed. My right ear was twice its normal size and red and hot to touch, and the whole side of my face looked swollen and red. It looked like a rubber cartoon ear stuck to the side of my head. The lobe was so swollen that I couldn’t even see the diamond stud I always wear. I couldn’t turn my head because my neck was so stiff and even opening my mouth to talk caused my ears to scream in more pain.

I went right away to the Walk In Clinic and as soon as the doctor saw me  he said I had “swimmer’s ear”.  Then he did his exam to confirm it. Swimmer’s ear is normally caused by lake water, pool water or ocean water getting in the ear and causing an infection because of the bacteria in the water. I haven’t been swimming.

He said in the last 10 years or so they have also seen many cases of athletes who wear headphones while working out get swimmer’s ear because sweat drips in their ears and is trapped and pushed further into the ear canal by the ear buds. Yes, that would be me, folks. I thought I was imagining it when I felt sweat dripping into my ears, but apparently not.

The good thing is, this is fairly easy to treat. Antibiotics, drops and in my case some pain killers because I was feeling both stabbing and throbbing simultaneously. He said there is a marginally higher concern because I also have diabetes and this condition in uncontrolled diabetics can take a long time to heal and the infection could spread. Since my diabetes is very well controlled (A1C between 0.06 and 0.07), its not really a huge worry but he wants me to go back in a week just to check the infection is gone, or back in two days if it gets worse or does not dramatically improve. He said not to run, climb stairs, roller blade, bike, drive or do anything requiring balance for the next 48 hours as the drops can also cause some vertigo until the inflammation goes down.

Well I can tell you as soon I left that office, I took one of the painkillers and antibiotics and did the drops when I got home. Within 40 minutes my ear was back to it’s normal size, although still red and hot, the pain has diminished to a minor pulsing and I was able to turn my head and talk without pain.

Today is my tenth day of no rest and my original plan was to walk to the stairs, go down, and alternate running/walking 1k at a time to the 3k mark and back and then up the stairs and walk home. Since that wasn’t a good idea today, I went for a walk with my friend Guenther to Albion Falls which is at the other end of the Escarpment Trail that I have been doing the last week. We did a 5km out and back but spent the first 20 min or so just walking around looking at the falls from various angles.

The trail is 8.5km from end to end and I have it in my head that I want to walk it starting from the bottom of the stairs to the falls and back.


Tomorrow the plan is to go hiking at Mount Nemo and although it has a little bit of rough terrain, its mostly easy paths so I think I’ll be ok.

Aug 23, 2012

Trials and Trails

I woke up this morning with two earaches and a sore throat. Not good. I popped some Tylenol, put warm cloths on my ears and went back to sleep for a few hours. I felt better when I woke up but not great. My neck and head ache and although my ears are better, they really hurt when I swallow.

I also developed blisters on the inside heel of my foot, at the bottom of my foot, isn’t that a weird place? I think they are from my orthotics so I’m going to give them a break for the next couple of days and let the blisters heal.

Today was my Running Room Clinic class – I am not sure who thought it was a good idea to put the practice and the clinic back to back for the 10k clinic…but that’s how it is. We were scheduled to run 6k on a trail behind McMaster University. I love, love, love, these trails.

I ran a trail last night as well and I think because it was a trail I was able to run so far without my knees/calves hurting. I don’t think I would have been able to go that far on asphalt or concrete. I didn’t write anything about last night’s run because I was exhausted when I got home and all I wanted was a hot shower, something to eat and bed. But as a quick recap, the run was good, I felt strong and I actually ran past the point I was supposed to turn around and didn’t realise it until one of the other runners told me. I did 10/1 the entire way and did not need any extra walk breaks. I won’t say it was easy but I felt better than I did the night before and it didn’t seem as hard as I was expecting it to be. My only mistake was to not do a cool down walk at the end like I normally do, I was getting a ride home and I didn’t want to keep the driver waiting, so I ran right to the store and stopped and just did a few minutes of stretching.

Anyway, back to tonight’s run. Thursday nights are my favourite because I get to run with someone, as in alongside, not just at the back of a group. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, it makes the run go quicker and Melissa is so inspiring that I always feel so much better after running with her.

The run itself did not go so well. We walked probably 1/3 of it. It just seemed hard. Both Melissa and I were having trouble with calf pain and being able to keep a steady pace. The trail was beautiful though and the weather was nice. In the end we did 5.55km including warm up. We did a cool down walk but it’s not in the Nike+ data.

In the continuance of "no rest days", tomorrow I am going to go for a long walk - no running - and stretch my calves and quads.

Aug 22, 2012

Short and Sweet

Running Room 10k Clinic Practice

Walk - 0.75 km
Run - 7.28 km

Aug 21, 2012

And on the seventh day…

7.4 km total.

Tonight was hard. My legs felt like lead weights even during the first interval. Going down the stairs was hard, there were a lot of people running up and down, these are narrow stairs and made of steel so when people run you have stop and go right against the railing to let them pass and the stairs shake. Several times I felt dizzy going down.

From the stairs I went to the Escarpment Trail and ran in to the 2km mark, turned around and ran back to the stairs.  Running from 2km to 4km was better because its a gradual downhill incline and I thought my legs had finally worked themselves out.

The stairs were even more busy going up and I had to stop at every major landing, about 40 steps because I was getting vertigo and at one point I thought I was going to fall over.  By the time I got to the top, my legs were jelly and I had to sit on the bench for about 5 minutes.

I still wasn`t feeling well and I wondered if my blood sugar was low so I walked to Tim Horton`s which was closer than home and got a small chocolate milk and then walked home very slowly so my pace is all over the place for this workout.

Tomorrow night is the practice run at my running clinic and we`re supposed to do 7k. Wish me luck because if my legs are anything like tonight, it`s going to suck.



Streetlights were on before 8pm.


This trail is marked every 500m.


Aug 20, 2012

Running and the Universe

I am slow, clumsy and have no sense of direction. If I were a pessimist I would think the Universe is trying to tell me I can't be a runner. These three things definitely make running harder, but I am stubborn persistent, and don't like to be told what I can and can't do especially by something as capricious as the Universe.

Tonight I set out from home to run down the Jolley Cut again. I figured it would be about 5.5 km there and back and I would run a little bit past home to make up to 7 km.  I got down to the bottom and followed my 10/1 all the way from the start to all the way  back up, which meant I only stopped once on the way back up - go me! It was definitely easier than when I did it on Friday night with Guenther.

On the way back from the trail, my stomach started hurting so I stopped at Tim Horton's to use the washroom.  I turned off my app accidentally instead of pausing it :( No problem, I would just start a new run when I started back out again.

As I came out of Tim Horton's I tripped on the step at the door (this is the clumsy part!) and turned my foot. Thankfully not seriously, but I coudn't run on it, so I ended up walking the little more than 1 km home. Although I didn't do what I planned - run 6.0 km - I have still gone out 6 days in a row now which is pretty much an all time record and tomorrow is a new day! Today's total km = 5.79 km 

Walk - 0.5 km warm up
Run - 3.88 km (10/1)
Walk - 1.37 km cool down after turning my foot

This is a view of the path on the Jolley Cut trail. It was a gorgeous night for a run, cool  breeze, blue skies and lots of wispy clouds and sunshine.

Aug 19, 2012

Sunday’s Child

I am proud of this week. I decided to take a page from Norma’s book and have no rest days this week. I  missed Tuesday because I was out with friends and didn’t get home until after 10 pm and since I get up at 5 am it was time for bed when I got home.


Mon-Fri I walk 4km almost every day on my lunch hour but its not strenuous or  sweat inducing as I have to go back to work so although it’s activity, I don’t count it as weight-loss activity, it’s more of a stress-break and to stretch my legs after sitting for so long. I don’t use my Nike app to record those walks.

I’m going to continue this coming week with doing something; running, walking and/or the Wentworth Stairs every day. I want this coming week to top last week.

I never used to use my Nike+ to count walking, or warm up or cool down or the stairs because it screws up the average pace, but now I don’t care, I like seeing the accumulation of the kilometers and see that I am  going further.

The only two complaints I have about Nike+ is that it doesn’t have an interval timer (I was saying to my friend Melissa the other night that if there was a learn to run or coaching program in the app then I would just use that as my timer, just pick the 10/1 weeks and repeat) and it doesn’t differentiate between biking, running and walking – which other apps do, like Adidas MiCoach and Endomondo, and others I can’t recall right now. Nike is elitist for runners only!!! It’s a bit annoying as most people don’t start out running 5k non stop, you know?

Today I walked about 3km to and from my friends' house to borrow their car so I could do my monthly Costco run and while I was there, another friend called to ask me if I wanted to borrow her car to do my errands. I am so blessed and fortunate to have these people in my life. 

While I was out I stopped at Value Village (thrift store for my American readers) to get some black pants for work. The ones I have now are size 16s and 18s and falling off me. I have some size 14 pants but they are not dressy enough for interviews and I have size 14 capris, also not suitable for interviews. I have an interview tomorrow and I think I will have to wear my pencil skirt with my jacket because I didn’t find any pants that fit properly. Size 14s fit around the waist but were way too baggy in the butt/hips/thighs and size 12s were way too small in the waist but fit ok everywhere else. I hate being in between sizes. I just bought size 14s and 16s in the Spring thinking they would fit til next year because I lose so slowly, I don’t need new clothes every few months. But now the 16s are too big and most of the 14s are a little baggy which doesn’t bother me unless I want to ‘dress to impress’.

Then tonight I went with Guenther to Hamilton Beach and did a total of 7km.

  • Walk – 0.5 km warm up
  • Run – 5.5 km (10/1)
  • Walk – 1 km cool down

Tomorrow I’m aiming for a total run of 6 km plus warm up/cool down. My Running Clinic group will be at 7 km on Thursday so I’d like to be as close as possible to that.


IMG_1330 IMG_1333
IMG_1335 IMG_1332

Aug 18, 2012

Saturday’s Run/Walk/Stair Climb

Actually it was more like…

  • Run 1 km
  • Walk 0.5 km
  • Run 0.5 km
  • Down the Wentworth Stairs
  • Walk 1 km
  • Run 1 km
  • Up the Wentworth Stairs
  • Walk 1 km

My legs were still really tired and heavy feeling from the last few days so I decided that although I did want to do something today, I didn’t want to run 5k or more again.

My GPS cut out at the top of the stairs so the route map and the km count is a little off.


Other random pics from my little outing.

IMG_1327[1] IMG_1311[1]

IMG_1320[1] IMG_1322[1]

IMG_1308[1] IMG_1325[1]

Aug 17, 2012

Productive Friday

I took a vacation day today so I could focus on job hunting. I ended up applying for 18 jobs througout the day. I met my friend Angela and her daughters for lunch and then came home and cleaned the kitchen top to bottom, including steaming the floor and inside the lower kitchen cabinets.

Then I caught up on True Blood. I am loving, loving this season. I'm dying to find out if Bill is really a Lilith-lover or if  he's got some scheme up his sleeve. seems odd that neither Eric nor Bill can "sense" Sookie's danger anymore this season...or its a convenient plot device.

Then I went for a 6k run with my friend Guenther. I knew I wouldn't go out on my own (despite me telling myself I would!) so I went with him on his 'hill run'. A 3k loop around our neighbourhood then down the Jolley Cut to St. Josephs Drive then back up the Jolley Cut to his house. It was a good work out for me and the best I've felt running in the last month or so. It was hard, especially coming back up the cut but it was doable. I ran the first 3k without stopping which is also something I haven't done lately and then took two walking breaks coming up the cut and about a two minute walking break at the top of the hill to get my breath back.

Tomorrow I would like to conquer the Wentworth stairs again. 

I've noticed that I've been having GERD attacks again more frequently and the only thing I can attribute it to is dairy, so tomorrow I am back off dairy again (except for cream in my one coffee a day) to see if that's the culprit.

Aug 16, 2012

Power Day

Today was my 10k clinic night and we were again to run 6k, but despite being promised a flat route, it was actually all downhill one way and mostly uphill on the way back. So Melissa and I ran 5.25k and walked the last 1k back up the steepest part of the hill. We're working our way back up after not having done a lot of running the last few weeks. It was good to have someone to run with though because the instructor didn't have to come back for us quite as often as he did for me last night.

Then Melissa and I decided to conquer the Wentworth Stairs. We drove to my apartment building and walked over to the stairs, about an 8 minute walk, then went all the way down 498 stairs and then came all the way back up 498 stairs, then walked home.

We're going to do it again next week. Partly we are training for the CN Tower Climb in October, which is 1741 stairs, over three times what we did tonight!

Aug 15, 2012

10k Clinic Practice Run - Take 1

My 10k Clinic started last week but I wasn't able to make it or make it this past Sunday so today was my first run with the group. It was scheduled to be 6k, I ended up running just about 5 and then walked in the last 1k. I was very, very, very nervous about this clinic. 

I think I've mentioned before that I run very S-L-O-W-L-Y and I was not sure that joining the 10k clinic was the right move for me, but I was encouraged by my friend Melissa and my Learn to Run Instructor, Carol, to try it. They both said I don't have to be fast, I just have to keep going. So I decided to give it a shot and Melissa joining with me was icing on the cake.

I needn't have worried. I *was* the slowest and at one point I thought the Learn To Run runners were going to pass me, and they may have if they had continued in the same direction as me, but they turned shortly before actually catching up to me.  But the instructor, Dan, was very nice and made sure I didn't get lost (as well as being slow, I have zero sense of direction) and he ran the last km with me and I did not feel the least bit ridiculous for being so slow.  On our way back we saw a deer!

Tomorrow night we are doing 6k again and I think I will be better able to do the whole 6k. Tonight's route had a couple of long hills, and tomorrow night is a flat route through Dundas to see some of the Cactus Festival Parade. I think that will be fun! Its hard to tell in this picture, but the front and back of my tee shirt were soaked, the sun was very hot. Before the clinic I had walked 2k from the bus stop to the Running Room store so I got some good exercise in today.

Leigh, Ron (a Running Room employee) and Monica (another woman in my 10k) clinic have me just about convinced to do the Cactus Festival 5k this coming Sunday. I had pretty much decided to sit it out, mostly because of transportation issues but both Leigh and Monica are doing the race and have offered to give me rides so I'm leaning towards doing it now. I do like doing races with people I know, even though we don't run together during the race, it is a nice sense of cameraderie.

Aug 13, 2012

Pounding the Pavement

pound the pavement

  1. (idiom) To travel on foot; to walk or run.
    The joggers pounded the pavement for several miles each day.

  2. (idiom) To campaign diligently; to seek something, such as business, employment, or answers.
    After a brief and unsuccessful search, he decided it was time to start pounding the pavement.

Funnily enough this idiom fits both my situations today.

Firstly, today was another craptastic day in the saga of my work situation and I was irrationally angry at the situation and had to fight myself all day not to blow up at the people involved or burst into tears of frustration.

I had a great text conversation with my friend Melissa today that pulled me out of my own head and gave me some much needed motivation and inspiration.

When the day was over, as I sat on the subway, then the train, then the bus on my way home, I told myself to go for a run when I got home. I kept telling myself, "As soon as you get home, get changed and go. Try the new shoes with the orthotics. Just do it. Don't think about it. Just do it." I must have repeated it a thousand times but it worked. As soon as I got home, I said hello to Liam, changed into my running kit and new shoes with orthotics and off I went. It was cloudy and drizzling off and on and so humid, but I don’t mind the rain so I kept going. I should have taken water though, the humidity was horrible and I was sweating just from my warm up walk.

There’s a reason the chiropodist said to start slow with the shoes. An easy 2-3 k the first time he said, don’t push it.

I managed 2.63k  plus another 1k warm up and 1k cool down walk before my feet and calves were just too sore to continue and I hadn’t run at all since last Sunday morning. I’m sure its the orthotics that were causing the pain. Good things I noticed about the orthotics though, I was landing more naturally mid-sole and my right foot did not turn out at all the way it usually does. I would say the downside was that I didn’t feel any spring or bounce in my step and the soles of my shoes felt hard rather than cushy like I’m used to.

IMG_1298[1] IMG_1297[1]
Nike Stats Post-Run “glow”. Running is not an attractive look for me!
IMG_1287[1] IMG_1285[1]

Pictures from my mountaintop

Skies threatening to open up

Secondly, I am still job hunting, so if any of you, my lovely followers, are recruiters for the Hamilton / Toronto area or you know a recruiter, please contact me to exchange info.