Guest Post: Kaitlin Gardner from “An Apple Per Day”

There is nothing worse than getting injured and having to stop running and try something else because if it.My new friend Kaitlin Gardner from An Apple Per Day wrote a guest post for me on staying in shape after an injury. Kaitlin injured her knee on the running trail anAn apple per day Kaitlin Gardnerd was recommended by a friend in her running group to try aqua aerobics. After some research and group classes, Kaitlin has fallen in love with it. She’s a firm believer that if you try it once, you’ll see why she loves it so much!


Stay in Shape after an Injury with Aqua Aerobics

If you think recuperating after an injury means sitting on the sidelines and losing your athletic momentum, you’ve got it all wrong. Aqua aerobics offers a complete exercise program that any athlete, from weekend tennis player to marathon runner, can participate in while recovering after an injury. Best of all, aqua aerobics can help a person sustain cardiovascular fitness levels, in addition to desired muscle tone and body fat composition.

For more ideas on how aqua aerobics can help you stay in shape following an injury or illness, click these links:

In his pioneering book, Daniels Running Formula, Dr. Jack Daniels describes the grace period that occurs when a long-distance runner abstains from running for five days, whether due to injury or other circumstances. Basically, asserts Daniels, there is no measurable effect on a person’s fitness level for five days; after that, fitness levels recede more drastically, and it bottoms out to pre-fitness (sedentary) levels after about 10 weeks of inactivity.

So if you sit around waiting for a shoulder, ankle or neck injury to heal, chances are your fitness level is going to take a hit. But there’s a workaround: aqua aerobics and aqua jogging.

For many athletes, the challenge of remaining fit may be more mental than emotional. We all know people (or may be one of them) who feel terrible after missing just one workout. Now, we know that the body’s muscles and cardio levels do not break down after just a handful of missed workouts, let alone one, as Dr. Daniels’ research has shown. But what about after 10 or 15 missed workouts? While the degree of fitness breakdown may still be barely measurable, how many people can say they don’t feel like a complete couch potato after missing two weeks of working out? Not many. And that’s where aqua aerobics can help.

Aqua Jogging

For serious runners, aqua jogging’s biggest benefit is that deep water running with a buoyancy belt mimics a person’s land-running form nearly identically. Now, combine that with the low- to zero-impact nature of aqua jogging and you have a recipe for staying in shape while recovering from an injury.

Studies have shown that aqua jogging is relatively the same in terms of health benefits as land jogging at low to moderate intensity levels. But to get the same or nearly the same benefits in the pool as you would with a high-intensity run on land, you’ve got to make some adjustments in the pool.

There are several things that you can do to increase the intensity of your pool workout while letting the injured area of your body recuperate. If you have a lower body problem, like an ankle, foot or knee injury, add wrist weights or handheld aqua barbells to your aqua aerobics or aqua jogging routine. This will challenge your heart but allow your lower body to remain protected. Conversely, if it is your upper body that is recovering from an injury, adding ankle weights to you aqua aerobics routine will give the large muscle groups of the legs an extra challenge. For a complete rest to your upper body, rest arms on a foam kickboard or “noodle” and let your lower body do all the work.

Aqua Aerobics

If you have access to a pool and have the necessary equipment to challenge those areas of the body that are not recovering from injury, you can stay in shape during your period of recuperation. With water’s natural resistance properties, muscles will be challenged whether you are doing simple calisthenics, such as leg lifts and arm curls (with or without handheld weights). Don’t forget: use the steps for bicep dips and side of the pool to help stabilize the upper body while doing bent-knee twists for the waistline.

An apple per day Kaitlin Gardner

 

 

 

Kaitlin Gardner started An Apple Per Day to explore her passion for a green living lifestyle, and healthy family living. She and her husband have just moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they enjoy exploring the countryside to discover interesting and out of the way places. She is also learning how to paint watercolors.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Recap: Spectator Edition

I was so upset that I couldn’t run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon because I was in Halifax for work. This was going to be the half marathon that I ran sub 2 hours. Instead, I woke up early in my hotel as if I was running and live streamed STWM and became a distant cheerleader. It was actually the most exciting thing. I swear, I am just made to spectate this race because the last time I registered for STWM, I destroyed A LOT of tendons and ligaments in the bottoms of both of my feet and stood on the sidelines with a sign and cheered on my sister. That race was so fun to watch because it was an Olympic qualifier. It was awesome.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Siobhan McCarthy

This time, I watched on my computer while laying on my hotel bed and waited for the live updates of the splits.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Siobhan McCarthy

This was also Thomas’ first half marathon and now he was running by himself with Julia, my mum and his mum as his super fans at the race while I took screenshots on my laptop and got super excited when I saw his updates and predicted finish times. I am pretty sure I was more nervous than he was. It’s amazing how 4 hours can go by when you are watching people run. But, not everyone was running. This guys was joggling. Yea, that’s not a typo. He was running AND juggling the half marathon.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Joggler Siobhan McCarthy
I can’t even make that up. He juggled the ENTIRE race without dropping any of his balls in wait for it… 1:20! How insane is that?! Not only is he crazy fast but he is also JUGGLING. I told Thomas he better step up his game for next year. However, he beat the elites to the finish line! Thomas ran his first ever half marathon race in 1:50:48!!

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Siobhan McCarthy
Maybe he didn’t beat the elite half marathon finishers but he did beat the marathoners. HA!  And, it gets better. He ran wearing the Garfield Turner shirt.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Siobhan McCarthy

Fields would be proud. He was my running buddy who would listen to my endless banter on running and actually care even though he was more of a sprinter.

I loved watching this live stream more than I ever thought I would. But, let’s be honest, I really wish I could have made a new PR.

Congrats to all the STWM finishers!

Have you ever cheered your friends on via live stream? 

Do you ever wish you could break a guinness running record?

What’s your next race?

 

Marathon Monday: My World Stopped

Marathon Monday Siobhan McCarthy

This post is clearly late. Last week, my world stopped. I tried to keep up with my running as much as I could but my motivation was at an all time low. A very good friend of mine who I use to train with, was in a motorcycle accident that unfortunately resulted in him passing away. It’s extremely hard to write a post about such an amazing person in my life that is no longer with me. I was fortunate enough to have the most outgoing, positive and motivating friend in and outside of the gym. Fields (Garfield Turner) always had a smile on his face and was genuinely interested in how your day was going and could shut out everyone else around him and just be interested in what you have to say. He had the ability to make you laugh so hard even when you are having the worst day. If Fields couldn’t make my birthday party, he would send someone in his place just so that I had an in person “Happy Birthday” from Fields. I’m truly going to miss my amazing friend.

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Fields was a fellow cheerleader at the worlds level. Cheerleading teams from around the world started wearing yellow, Fields’ favourite colour, to their practices in his memory. As hard as it was to go on social media and see all of his pictures but it was also nice to see all of the teams that Fields has touched and made an impact on and have them share their memories with Fields on various platforms. This YouTube video is my favourite and I’m not surprised that it has 3,500+ views.

If you want to read about the unfortunate accident that Fields was in, you can read about it here.

So, my training didn’t go to plan last week and my October miles might not reach my goal but I’m back at it this week and ready to attack that marathon training plan.

Monday October 6, 2013
2.51 miles — 8:38/mile

I couldn’t even tell you how this run went and it was the only one I did last week.

“The world stops, but the music keeps playing :)”
– Garfield Turner

Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K Recap #TakeMeBackTuesday

Since I switched over my blog to WordPress, my old race recaps didn’t make the move. #TakeMeBackTuesday is where I revisit my old race recaps and post them here.

Next on the list, my first time running Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K! This post was published on April 3, 2011. Since this was my second race ever and I learned a lot from the Inaugural Wine and Dine Disney Half Marathon. I trained smarter, tackled hill training and knew that my nike+ foot pod was a little wonky.


It was such a perfect day for a run! The sun was shining, it was 8 degrees, and the wind came at all the right times during the race. Not so strong to blow me over and just enough to cool me down. Perfect.

I got to my sister’s flat with my race kit waiting for me:

After digging inside to find all of my snacks, I attached my race bibb to myself and got all suited up. Just like Barney Stinson. After a cup of coffee we took our warm up walk over to High Park. This was going to be my dad’s first race too but he popped his knee playing soccer last week and now he is kind of gimpy. But he made an excellent photographers!

On the way to our corrals we took a group shot before the race started. Don’t worry we all took our cell phones so that we wouldn’t get lost like the Wine and Dine race in Disney. Lesson Learned.

Julia, me, and mumsy

Along the way to the corrals, I ended up running into two of my old cheerleading coaches who are also crazy runners. They were there cheering on another cheer coach/runnermama at the gym. I love that! I also ended up seeing them at the 4K mark and then again at the last 200m. It was hearing them yell to me that there were only 200m left that made that killer hill worth sprinting the rest of the way for. Have I told you how much I love the cheer section along the sidelines at races? They are ahh-may-zing! The high fives and the encouragement is just so contagious!

One of my favourite action shots is of Julia. I mean look at this beauty:

Why can’t I get pictures like that?! Instead I get the ones where I am attempting to drink water:

It looks normal, right? Well, this is where I didn’t smush my cup in half to easily drink water and I ended up splashing my entire face with water. Look at the guy holding the cup of water at the far right- he’s laughing at me. And just so you know I’m not lying, here I am wiping the water off my face and hoping my make-up didn’t melt and give me raccoon eyes:

And yes, that guy on the far right is still laughing at me. Awesome! I’ll show him with this action shot of me with my eyes closed:

After crossing the hilly hilly finish line– I mean seriously, who puts a huge incline at the last 400m mark? That was just mean! I got my medal and hat; took out my cell to figure out where my fam jam was happening.

We even had enough time to escort mumsy to her first start line to begin her 5K!

Her ipod was loaded with some awesome tunes and she was ready to rock it. Lucky for her, it was warm enough for her to loose her jacket!

After the first km we caught this beauty of a picture. Look how happy she is:

 And then on the last 400m we got an action shot of her going up the dreaded incline:

I was so proud to cheer her on crossing the finish line.

It was an awesome day for a run and we got the finishers picture that we were all excited for- Me and Julia with our 8K medals, and Nancy Love with her 5K:

On our walk leaving High Park, we decided that we had our Harry hats on and should take a picture with those as well:

Post race we went back to Julia’s and made a big pancake breakfast with eggs, bacon, chocolate milk, and coffee. It was deeelicious!

And the something sparkly I said I would wear for Tin? Well, I made a sequin tie but it was hard to see in the pictures:

The only downside to my run was my nike+ sensor. The first problem: it fell off my shoe walking to the corrals. Luckily mumsy’s good eyes found it in under a minute of when I said I lost it. She knew it must have been when I leaped up onto the curb– do mother’s really know everything?! The second: the senor thought I ran 1.67 km farther than I actually did during the race. I noticed this at Disney as well.

After going back to Julia’s and seeing her Garmin 405CX in full action– I knew I needed one. I tried it on and it even fit my tiny wrist. A Cinderella Story?! I would say, yes.

 I may have gone to Costco after the race to buy one:

More on that story later!

Stats of the Run

Distance: 8K
Time: 41:02
Age Category Place: 15/261
Gender Place: 84/1129

A personal best! Well, I knew that going in because it was my first 8K race ever. I think I will be making the Harry Race a yearly event. I literally loved everything about it!

Marathon Monday: Training Plan Revised

Marathon Monday Siobhan McCarthy

 

Last week, my outdoor training got back to where it left off. Because I have been travelling for work, I have been running on hotel treadmills and outdoor runs just weren’t happening anymore. I love the idea of running in new places but to be honest, it also scares me. Not knowing your surroundings or what the environment is like from a local perspective can be terrifying on a trip. I know, I have to get over this fear. And I will.

Tuesday September 30, 2014
2 easy miles — No watch

I never leave my house without my watch anymore. I have become dependent on my watch. Always checking my pace and how much farther I have to run. Instead, I just ran to ran. It wasn’t planned. My watch battery died and instead of waiting for it to partly charge, I just left the house and went on my route that I knew was 2 miles. Whenever I leave my watch at home, I loose my competitive side and sometimes I feel like I run faster than with a watch.

Wednesday October 1, 2014
2 miles — 8:28/mile

The day I changed my training plan. I knew it wasn’t smart to keep up with the training plan that I was using before I knew I had to back out of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I just wasn’t keeping up with my miles with all my work travel. So instead of possibly getting injured, I revised my plan. I’m building from the ground up. Without a race in sight, I have the luxury to switch up my game plan.

Thursday October 2, 2014
Zip lines, suspension bridges and a 40 ft repel.

Today, I survived 8 zip lines, 2 suspension bridges and a 40 ft repel @longpointecoadv! #tooshortonthestump #zipzip #ecoadventures

My running rest day turned into a day of zip lining, repels and suspension bridges! I will post more on this one once the pro photos are sent to me. I honestly thought I would be more scared but I guess once you do the CN Tower Edgewalk, hanging off trees on a harness isn’t so bad!

Friday October 3, 2014
3.62 miles — 9:16/mile 

This was my “long” run. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was starting from the ground up. I’m taking easy runs easy, long runs at a long run pace and building up my mileage.

Saturday October 4, 2014
2.27 miles — 8:58/mile

I ran in the dark. I am scared of running alone at night so I went with a friend. In the Kara Goucher book that I just read, she mentioned that you should go running at night at least once per month because there is a completely different feel to running at night they you just don’t get when you run in the morning. So, I did it. The temperature dropped at night and it was cold. My lungs had to adjust to the temperature and I tripped twice while running. I actually liked running in the dark and I’m going to do it again. With a friend, bright clothes and a blinking light.

Weekly Miles: 9.89
October Miles: 7.89

Happy Running!

From First Steps to Marathons

When I started running, I just ran. Once I decided that I wanted my first race to be a half marathon, I picked up Runner’s World and quickly decided to subscribe to it. I starting learning everything there was to know to about running.

harry's spring run off toronto

I just finished reading Kara Goucher’s Running for Women book and I am positive that if I read this book before running my first half marathon at Disney, I wouldn’t have spent my post race throwing up on a tree Mexico.  For me, the nutrition section would have been the most useful chapter when I started running. Fuelling your body properly is incredibly important. When it came to recovery, pre-workout and post-workout meals – I was clueless. Seriously clueless. Electrolytes, anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory foods were not in my vocabulary.

kara gocher's rundning for women from first steps to marathons

Running for life. When I started running, it was because I wanted a new physical activity to be involved in. I knew I wouldn’t be a competitive cheerleader forever and I needed something to be involved in when I stopped. I didn’t know how much I would love running. After crossing that first half marathon finish line I said I was never going to do it again. The next day, I was ready for more. Running is now my lifestyle. I love following the running lives of Shalane and Kara. They look flawless at the starting lines, push themselves to reach new goals during their races and cross that finish line looking like they gave it all they got.

Shalane Flanagan Kara Goucher Running

Kara’s book is just what I imagined. Inspirational and informative. With tips on strength training, staying injury free and most importantly- how to balance running with your lifestyle to ensure that you keep a healthy relationship with running. Taking breaks, listening to your body and keeping your body healthy are all important lessons that Kara learnt along her journey and shares in this book.

This book is titled “for women” but honestly, it’s for all runners at all levels. Even the pregnancy and new motherhood section  is still useful if you have female running friends that you could give advice to.

“All top international athletes wake up in the morning feeling tired and go to bed feeling very tired.”
– Brendan Foster, British distance runner and former world record holder

Kara’s book is filled with quotes that she loves. I love this one because it humanizes elite athletes. The balancing act of sport, family and friends occurs for everyone. Some days, they are just harder to get through than others.

Happy Running!

Note: I was not sent this book for a review. All opinions are my own.

Running while travelling for the NFL

September brought new adventures for me. I started working for the NFL and absolutely love it.

NFL on Campus

 

I get to travel across Canada and bring the football spirit to life on university campuses. It also means, I’m running on treadmills in hotel gyms and trying to eat as healthy as possible while on the road. Healthy eating on the road is pretty simple for me. I’m use to travelling so I know that oatmeal over a greasy breakfast is better for you. Going to the grocery store and making your own lunches ensures that you are eating all your fruits and veggies. And then at dinner, I can eat whatever I want because I know I fuelled myself properly throughout the day.

As for the hotel gyms, I’m lucky. Give me a treadmill and some free weights and I am a happy camper. At one location, the hotel didn’t have a gym so I resorted to using the Nike Training Club app and did workouts in my room. If you were under my room at the hotel, I’m sorry for the loud jumping noises above you.

This new opportunity has been a blast! My Instagram has videos and photos from all of our stops so far! But to be honest, my marathon training has slipped with my lifestyle change. I haven’t been keeping up with my schedule and I have been running when I can and at odd times. My running pattern has changed and I don’t think it’s just because I am travelling, but also because I can’t run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as I will be travelling for work. So my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon has been put on the back burner.

Find Yourself. Go Run. Running Inspiration Quotes

It’s now OCTOBER and it’s time for a new month with new GOALS!

  1. Just because my lifestyle changes, doesn’t mean my running plans have to. I will stick to my schedule. This month I will run 50 miles. Realistic. That’s the way to be.
  2. I will use my running journal. When I track my runs and keep on top of my progress, I run more. My running journal has always been my blog and I need to make more time to track running habits.
  3. I’ve been pretty good at reading more lately. In August, I made a goal of reading one book a month and so far, I am right on track! I am keeping with this goal!
  4. Keep in touch. Since I have been travelling so much, I have been able to visit friends in cities that I hardly ever get to see. I’m going to continue to send little notes just to say hello to friends that I haven’t stayed in connection with. I try to send one note a day.

Here’s to new adventures!

Happy running, friends!

RUNNING WITH FRIENDS << Marathon Monday >>

 

Marathon Monday Siobhan McCarthy

I always get asked what running club I am with and when I say “I’m not,” people are shocked. I like running on my own. I like running my own pace and not making people feel like I am slowing them down by not keeping up. If I’m next to you on a treadmill, I guess we can technically say that we are running “together. But the only time I ran with someone was when my mum was training for a 5K and I would go on runs with her. I know that I should be running with other people. It’s good to run with people faster than you so that you push yourself and it’s good to run with people slower than you so that you can really do easy runs.

I branched out. Sometimes I don’t run solo anymore.

Running with Friends Siobhan McCarthy

 

It helps me to keep up my pace even when I want to slow down. I push myself even harder if it’s a hill day but if it’s a long run, so long señor, I’m on my own. I have made it up to running 5 miles with a partner in crime. That’s a big step for me and I like it!

I’ve been really happy with my training lately. Ever since I officially registered for STWM, I am more motivated than ever to crush my half marathon PR. Last week I totalled 18 miles. 2 out of 3 of those runs were focused on easy running and I think that helped with my 11 mile long run with a 9:47/mile pace. I’m feeling stronger. With 76 days until race day, I know it’s going to be a good one.

Next week I want to focus on foam rolling and stretching. I stretch for about 10-15 minutes after every run but I don’t give myself a really great stretch other than that. I think my muscles need it. They are not so happy with me today after yesterday’s long run.

Oh yea and how about that weight training for injury prevention? I need to get back on that.

To my Canadian friends, happy holiday Monday!

Weekly Miles: 18 
August Miles: 11

Finding My Training Paces

It’s hard to know what your perfect training paces should be. I know I want to  I want to PR my next half marathon. My current PR is 2:02:09 and ideally I would love to break the 1:45 so I went to the Runner’s World race time predicator to determine what my half marathon finish time might be based on my 8K Harry’s Spring Run Off finish time.

RW gave me a prediction of 1:56:09. I’m taking it. It’s not my goal of a 1:45 but it’s my back up goals of running a sub 2 hour and a PR. It’s all about smart training and injury prevention. I have to remember that I haven’t been focused just on running the last while so I can’t expect to cross the finish line and magically take off 17 minutes from my PR.

I looked up picking a goal time and how to figure out what pace my tempo runs should be. Thanks to Dave Khuels for this beauty of an article I found out that my tempo runs should be 8:37.

And speed work? I’m taking that one like the Kenyans. When you go hard, GO HARD. And when it’s easy, actually take it easy. Some days the pace of easy will be different depending on how your body feels. So it can be more beneficial to actually listen to your body instead of going off of a certain pace. But because I have am terrible at letting my body run easy, I figured out my pace. My easy runs should be at a 10:26 pace.

Yesterday I tried to do 2 easy miles.Garmin watch easy run siobhan mccarthy

9:57/mile. Well, it is close! I’m also trying to figure out if I am pushing myself enough at the paces that I have set for my tempo. It’s time to experiment and trust the process.

Happy Long Weekend!!

Hot & Sweaty July Miles Make New August Goals

July training has been hot, sweaty and full of faster miles. I ran less but it helped fuel my muscles to have productive runs. Even on days where I turned my alarm clock off in my sleep on a hot long run morning. I got up and ran those 11 miles anyway.

It was stinkin’ hot. I stopped for water at my hair salon at the 5 mile mark and just kept going. It felt amazing. I didn’t hit my target pace but I smiled and said, “I did it!” Sometimes you just have to find your strong.

Long Run Heat Siobhan McCarthy

 

With my new goal of running a speedy half marathon in the fall, my August running goal is to have one long run a week, one hill run, one tempo, and one EASY run and a good stretch/weight day.

Easy runs are the hardest. I just can’t seem to slow it down and I have to. These are the runs that are just as important as the fast runs. They recover your muscles and have less of a chance for injury. So why don’t I take them seriously?! Mainly because it feels pointless which I know isn’t true.

What else is hard for me? Reading. My bookshelf is full of books that I really want to read but I never make time for it anymore. When I finally decide to pick up my book, it’s usually when I am already exhausted and ready for bed. Then my eyes droop and it’s lights out for me. My new goal: read at least one book a month for the rest of the year. It’s realistic. One book in thirty days? Completely doable.

 

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At the one book a month rate, I’m covered until March 2015.

My Bloglovin’ page has a new address because of my switch over to wordpress. I know, it’s annoying but you will have to follow this one:

Bloglovin' Icon Siobhan McCarthy

 

Sorry, friends! Now I’m off to update my August training plan!

Happy Running!