Best.running.advice.ever.

I started running in my mid thirties, had been running for several years and was increasing frequency, mileage and multiplying races. But my knee hurt. The pain wouldn’t go away and it was limiting something I loved.

While complaining one day to my brother in law, he asked me….

Have you thought about orthodics ?

In all honesty, I wasn’t even sure what they were. I was thinking thick, plastic, ugly, stiff, brown insoles that you put in your shoe and have to wear all the time. How could I wear something like that in dress shoes ? Much less run in something like that ?

But he assured me, you could get orthodics to wear only when you run. I was skeptical. Seriously ? They can have that big of an impact ? So after dragging my feet a bit (no pun intended), I got a recommendation from my primary care doctor for a podiatrist. I made an appointment. My running life has never been the same since.

Firstly, he did a full exam. Running barefoot on the treadmill. Looking at my feet on a mirror. Clinical exam. Made prints. Etc.

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Then made me a pair of orthodics.

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I would run with them, and he would adjust them if needed. Shin a bit tight ?  Some knee niggles ? He adjusted until all was 99,9% perfect. They do use over time, so I have just had my third pair made, in about 5 years.

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You can see they are not the same height, as the thickness and kind of material compensates for a slight difference in leg length :
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They are also not identical, as one is adjusted for the shin pain I have (for example).

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I will be fore ever grateful to my running BIL who asked… “Have you thought about orthodics ?”

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I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, Erika at MCM Mama runs and Patty at My no guilt life for Tuesdays on the run where today’s topic is best running advice.

tuesdays

 

Have you ever thought about orthodics ?

What is the best running advice you have ever received ?

Leaden legs & 3 highlights

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It was a good week for workouts despite leaden legs. I ran 3 days this week and had 2 days of full body workouts.  The biggest run of the week was Sunday, where I had mile repeats on the plan. I am going to be away next weekend for a wedding, so I have had to switch some weekends around. Last week I did 8 x 1 mile repeats and nailed them all. This weekend I had 10 x 1 miles repeats and only one came in on time, and one came close. The objective was to run them in 10:15 and most came in between 10:25 and 10:50. I felt I was running really fast, but just could not hit the time. My legs felt so heavy. Oh well, that happens.

Here are some pictures from my run, knowing I run by these places all the time, but I thought it might be more interesting than my typical lake picture :

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The Paris zoo is about 2 miles from my house :

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The Vincennes castle is about 3 miles from my house :

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And these rowboats are about a mile from my house. If you want a major upper body workout you can rent one, but hurry up, they will be putting them away for the season soon :

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When I looked back at this week’s pictures, I noticed that I wore the same shirt all week (though rest assured, it was laundered). It is one of my favorite long sleeve shirts. Fall is in the air !

Highlight #1 : The best.discovery.ever of the week, is the revamping of the walkways in my park. They are widening them, leveling them and resurfacing them. Before it was rocky, uneven and relatively narrow.

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Highlight #2 : I changed my orthodics. It had been almost 18 months and with all the running I have done, it was time for an update. I ran with them 3 times and 1) I have absolutely no knee pain and 2) I have absolutely no shin pain. I have one (minor) niggle so I will go back and have him tweak. I also had the podiatrist give me a foot and lower leg massage. He worked out some killer knots in my shins. #painfulbutworthit

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Seriously, my podiatrist is the best.

Highlight #3 : My hubby and I had a date night. With the craziness of back to school and back to work, we haven’t had much time to connect. So yummy :

Avocado and crab with a citrus fruit sauce :

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Grilled salmon and green beens (cooked in a ton of butter) with red pepper sauce :

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I hadn’t had alcohol in 5 weeks due to my carb cycling program, but I allowed myself 2 glasses on my date. #noguilt #worthit

If you missed it, check out my La Parisienne recap :

Race recap

And that is a wrap !

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Tell me one thing about your week! Do you wear the same clothes over and over ?  Do you wear orthodics ?

WeeklyWrap

 

 

La Parisienne : 2016 edition

La Parisienne is a race for women that was inaugurated 20 years ago in Paris. I have been running it for the past 6 years with my colleagues, and this year was no different. Well, I guess that isn’t quite right. The terrorist activity we have had in France affected several things. But I’ll get to that.

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One of my favorite parts of the whole race, and any Parisian race for that matter, is taking the subway to the start. Runners get on at every station and the excitement builds the closer you get.

With my colleagues we usually meet near the start line, so that we can be in one of the first few waves. This year, with implementation of security controls (they need to make sure there are no bombs…how reassuring is that), we could no longer do that. There was only one way you could get to the start line. So we planned to meet at a different spot, at 8:30. I got off the subway early and decided to walk a bit for my warm up.

I didn’t get far because I ran into this : Security controls.

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I had to wait in line to go through security, where they were patting down everyone (did I mention there were 30 000 runners ??) and checking bags. Once I was through security, I didn’t want to leave the secured area to meet my colleagues because I didn’t want to have to come back through security a second time. So I walked around the expo village, used the rest rooms, sat and watched the people as they were coming through security, in front of the Ecole Militaire. I actually enjoyed this because so many runners were in costume. There were a lot of strict rules on what you could do for costumes….need to be sure you couldn’t hide an explosive device underneath. Yes, unfortunately this is the new reality for big events like this in France.

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My colleagues finally made it through and we headed towards the start line. I should be specific… we tried to head to the start line. There were hoards of runner. Hoards.

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And we waited. And waited. They let runners off in waves of 1000 to 2 000 every 7 minutes. So we slowly made our way to the start line. And waited.

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We usually start in the 3rd, 4th or 5th waves…. this time we were in the 17th wave. Ugh. I hate to sound negative, but we were so used to being in the first waves that this wait was a killer. We were just standing there, doing nothing,

Finally, after waiting one hour for my colleagues and 2 hours to race, we were off. Remember I mentioned recently that I was so excited to run down the Champs Elysees ?

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Yeah, well that didn’t happen. At the last minute  – for security reasons – they changed the course route. I was very disappointed. You can tell on the map below that the course doesn’t go down the Champs Elysees, it goes down one side of the river and up the other.

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Finally, I loved the race route. Running in strait lines was actually great. There were so many runners that the turns and corners would have been a nightmare.

While I spent the entire 6,6km weaving in and around people, I finished respectably in 38:08. I’ll take it considering it was my fifth time running this week and I was at a very slow jog for almost the first half of the race.

And it started and finished at the Eiffel Tower, which is always so great.

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What I liked :

  • Security, even if a bit long, was very well organized and well marked. It felt safe. I felt safe. It was much better organized than in the past.
  • The strait course route, much to my surprise. (Even the hill that was 500 m from the end).
  • The ambiance. Probably at least half of the runners are sponsored by their work place, so seeing people with their colleagues is always fun and there are huge groups of women. There are also many bands playing along the route.

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  • My company really does a great job organizing everything for us. There were 60 of us and between all the logistics, inviting us to lunch with our families, getting us t shirts, paying the entrance fee, it is always great.
  • The expo. While I don’t spend time looking around there are many booths and sponsors. It is a lot less ”running” related, and more ”well being” related.
  • The distance. A short race is fun.
  • Running around the Eiffel tower ? Yeah, no explanation needed.
  • Loved this year’s medal.

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What I didn’t like : 

  • So.many.people.
  • So.many.walkers. A lot of the participants are not runners but do the race as a social event with girlfriends or colleagues. But so many people walk the whole course and there are portions where there is a strait line of 5 or 6 women across the road. And because 1) I am representing my company and wearing their logo and 2) this race is a huge first for so many women, I don’t say anything.

Would I do it again ? Probably not in these conditions. Several times I caught myself thinking that I just was not enjoying myself. 6,6 km of weaving, the 3 hour wait + crowds just didn’t do it for me.

Would I recommend it ?  Do not race this if you are looking to PR. Run it if you are looking for a good time with other women.

 

I placed in the top 10%, so not too shabby, but it goes to show how slow going it was… I usually place around 50-90%.

I am linking up with Marcia at Marcia’s Healthy Slice, Erika at MCM Mama runs and Patty at My no guilt life for Tuesdays on the run.

tuesdays

Do you like huge races ? Are there a lot of walkers in the races you do ?

Weekly wrap : ALL the FITNESS

We are slowly settling back into a routine. Five days of school. Five day work week. I actually really thrive on routine, and even if I loved the summer, I do so much better with structure. The routine has allowed me to better anticipate my runs, as well as the full body workouts that are paired with my carb cycling.

As a result, the week was FULL of fitness related activities :

  • Monday at the gym : 20 minutes of intervals on the elliptical + 6K (40 minutes) on the treadmill
  • Tuesday at home and outside : Full body workout (10 ‘ warm up + 30′ squats + 30’ run with intervals). The weather was gorgeous, even if the sun is rising later and setting earlier.

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  • Wednesday : OFF
  • Thursday outside : Intervals. I felt speedy !
  • Friday : Off because my weekend was going to be crazy
  • Saturday : 8 x 1 mile repeats were on my training plan. However, my GPS watch REFUSED. FLAT OUT REFUSED to pick up a signal Saturday morning. Luckily I know my route well enough to have a mile measured out. But that would have meant running 8 times back and forth over the same stretch of road. Boring. So I estimated the distance of another portion of the road based on my time. So I ran back and forth over these portions. Eight times. If you include warm up, cool down, and walk in between = 18 – 20 KM estimated. I felt really good about it because I hit all my repeats very close to my 10:15 objective (or under) and my last one was 9:45. It was absolutely perfect running weather.

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I had to stay focused mentally because I was so xx!!$!! about my watch, but I got it done. I then went to the gym and did some heavy lifting for my upper body. Then came home and planked.

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  • Sunday : 6,6km La Parisienne race + 3,5 K walk. Recap to follow this week !

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That was over 27 miles of running, spread over 5 days. That is a heck of a lot of running for me, but I am feeling strong, fast and no niggles to report.

And that’s a wrap.

I am linking up with Holly and Tricia at Hoho runs and Misssippipiddlin for their Weekly Wrap.

Tell me one thing about your week ! Do you like to get back into a routine after summer ? 

WeeklyWrap

Cleaning up my diet

I am linking up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run, Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, and Mar at Mar on the Run for this week’s Friday Five, which is a food related topic.

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I fully enjoyed the summer. Without one ounce of guilt for the wine with dinner, the ice cream, the before dinner appetizers, dessert at restaurants, tried ALL the food in Greece…. I indulged, was eating too much, and seriously loved every minute of it.

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Well, loved everything except the resulting bloat and poor digestion.

I finished vacation August 15th and knew the next few weeks would mean less work travel, more routine with back to school and with marathon training. So, I figured there was never going to be a better time to clean up my diet.

Firstly, let me just say that I can not ”do a diet”. I know there is no short term fix, magical pill, or overnight solution. I also eat very healthy in general. But I felt I needed a reset, so cleaning up my diet is about weeding out those (too frequent) indulgences, eating whole foods, cutting out everything processed and eating a bit less. Yeah, that pretty much sums up what I have been doing.

So mid August I started and have been fully dedicated to a 6 week carb cycling program (which I will talk about a later date, once finished), but in short, it is associating what you eat with the kind of workout you do that day.

5 things about my adventure so far :

  • I focus on what I CAN have. The summer fruit  and veggies season is still in full swing. Nectarines, melon, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, broccoli, spinach, lean protein, eggs, sweet potato, nuts…. I have not once felt deprived.

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  • I plan ahead. I do not necessarily plan my meals, but I buy a ton of fruit and veggies on the weekend, and also make big meals so I will have left overs all week. I bring a bag of nuts to work with me.
  • It is a great learning experience. I log everything in My Fitness Pal. I was never a big fan of the app but surprisingly, I have learned a ton about macros and balancing my food intake. It also details the macros in your meals.

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  • It is not 100% clean. I am using 85% dark chocolate and Diet Coke as my 2 guilty pleasures.
  • I have avoided all gluten, dairy, alcohol, pre packaged foods and my downfall… ice cream.

 

The result ? Whatever I am doing is working.  While I haven’t weighed myself (I am not a fan of the scale), I can confirm that I have lost major belly fat and back fat. All my pants, skirts, dresses and tops fit so much better. Nothing is snug.

No bloat.

I am eating less, but I have found I can actually survive and function very well on less food.

I can not say it has affected my energy or sleep because I already had a ton of energy, and never really have sleeping issues, but my mind is so much clearer.

And my workouts have felt stronger. This summer I was having some niggles with the change of routine, but now that I have had 4 weeks of discipline, adding in some new workouts in addition to my marathon training, I physically feel AMAZING.

So, for the moment, I will stop there as my 6 week adventure is not finished, but so far, so good.

What do you do to clean up your diet ?

Ever tried carb cycling ?