Running, Races and More Ellipticals

Hiya! Totally loved all your favourite salad combos!!! Wow, some of you are creative. I was surprised by how many of you like fruit in your salad. Mainly because I don’t. Okay, that’s not entirely truthful. I like some fruits in salads, like oranges, peaches, apples. But I can’t do berries. Especially strawberries or raspberries. They belong in yogurt silly :P

Anywho, I almost lost last night’s salad running 5k in 27 minutes this morning. Yup,I actually did it!!

Distance: 5.01 km
Duration: 27:13
Avg Pace: 8:44 min/mi
Avg HR: no idea, my heart rate monitor was crapping out on me again

That run was so. hard. I’m pretty sure I hit my VO2 max. I had to stop and walk for 45 seconds on the last kilometre. I was wheezing and sputtering and basically on the brink of death. Of course, at that very moment, some jackass wearing nothing but shorts and a heart rate chest strap whizzed past me on the trail. I tried to yell obscenities at him, but it came out as a gurgle :P

At first I felt like a failure for having to stop and walk. But then I realized it was actually a success. I wanted to push myself to my limits today. I wanted to see just how fast I could go. I also learned a couple things:

1. I run best when I start out slow and sprint to the end. I tried to set a 9:00 pace for this whole run and it didn’t work for me. No shame in starting slow and pounding it out at the end.

2. I need to work on sustaining high heart rates for longer periods of time. I had to stop on that last kilometre because I was over 180 bpm much longer than I’m used to. I’m going to start doing interval work on the treadmill, to slowly increase my ability to push those higher heart rates.

Once I no longer thought I was going to throw up, my jar of almond butter threw up some oat bran.


1/2 cup dry oat bran cooked with 1 1/2 cups water, 2 tbsp unflavoured soy protein powder, 3 dates, cinnamon. And obviously, whatever was left of the AB. These jar concoctions keep me full for-ever because there’s usually more nut butter than the one tablespoon I typically use. Funny how more calories = fuller longer ;)

Some other highlights of my day included a chilled Luna bar.

I put this in my fridge to keep it from melting in my sauna of an apartment. Holy moly. So good cold! Try it!!

Smoked salmon sandwich (SSS).


Smoked salmon, laughing cow cheese, capers, tomato, spinach. On my trusty reporter’s notebook.


Capers are my new BFF.

Homemade trail mix.


Pecans, roasted almonds, walnuts, roasted soy nuts, cashews, roasted peanuts, dried apricots, dried mulberries, box of raisins meant for children. Lovelovelove having pre-made baggies of trail mix on hand. So easy to throw in my purse when I’m rushing out the door.

I also got a couple great questions in the comments yesterday that I thought deserved a full answers in a post.

Lara wanted to know if I’m training for something specific right now. The answer to that is, yes. Kind of. There’s a 5k race on September 13 I’m thinking of doing purely because it’s being held later in the day, after I get off work. The race I’m technically “training” for is a 10k on September 20. That will be my longest running race distance and I’m really excited about it!

There’s also the CIBC Run For The Cure 5k happening on Oct. 4. This will be a big deal for me, seeing as I’ve walked it several times and I’ve always dreamed of actually running it. My mother had breast cancer when she was 22 (younger than me now!) so this race for the Canadian Breast Cancer Society has always meant a lot to me. Actually running it this year, will be, well, I can’t think of the words at the moment.


Another great question was from April who wanted to know the difference between the arc trainer and other ellipticals. This brought me to my old friend google, who had a lot to say about the matter!

First, I learned that there are three types of ellipticals:

Rear drive elliptical


Front drive elliptical


Center drive elliptical

The rear driven elliptical was first patented by Precor in 2004 and meant to simulate the motion of running and walking without the strain on your joints.

The front driven elliptical was developed shortly after (mostly because the Precor patent made it tough for other companies to copy it). It has the same circular motion as the rear drive, but imitates the stair climber a little more.

The center driven elliptical is the newest. Their most noticeable feature is that it keeps you centered, whereas the other two either have you leaning back or forward slightly.

Now, for the arc trainer, well according to Cybex, they’re a whole other game.

Cybex says it’s not even an elliptical, claiming it also burns more calories (which I always think is hooey, but a lot of people say they get higher heart rates on it). It has a “reverse arc” motion, that is supposed to simulate more natural movement, often compared to cross-country skiing. It’s also supposed to be easier on the knees, and you can adjust the height, changing how high your knees come up.

You can read more here:


So there you have it! To be honest, I never even noticed all these differences before!! Looking at this, I realize I love my Reebok Body Trec so much because it’s a front driven machine. For whatever reason, the rear drive ones just bug my knees. But now that I know I can adjust my knee height on the Cybex, I may give it another go (longer than two minutes this time? :P )


Phew. This was a long post. I think I’m subconsciously putting off packing. Time to get to it! Lator gators!!

Posted on August 24, 2009, in Fun, Health, Workouts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I usually don’t like fruit in my salad either… I can handle mandarin oranges sometimes but that’s about it. I hate picking out the dried fruit that comes in many restaurant salads. My order is usually already complicated enough without asking to nix the fruit too!

  2. I love fruit in my salad! And I love just plain old fruit salad LOL!

    Is that regular bread I see on your sandwich? No pita?

    I am actually pretty used to training in a higher HR zone now. I would go around the track and run from x to x keeping my HR in the 170s. It was basically interval training and I think that is why I find running so comfortable now at a lower HR.

    I think 27 minutes is so awesome!

  3. your vomiting oat bran looks seriously amazing. mmmmm!

    since i had a bit of catching up to do, my fave salad combos are usually what i call junk salads – everything i have on hand. the ingredients may sound weird, but they almost always work out!

    thanks for the elliptical info – once the winter starts, i will jumping on that thing much more often. have a good night!

  4. You are a genius, my friend…I tried the whole chilled Luna bar thing, and it blew my mind :) Delish :)
    OMG so excited about your 10k too…!

  5. Awesome speedy run! Love the oatbran in the jar too, so delicious!

  6. Way to go with that run!! That’s awesome! The Run for the Cure sounds like such a great cause!

    I had no idea there were so many elliptical machines – learn something new every day :)

  7. Ok so i’ve tried the arc trainer before and looked like a complete retard on it because when I tried to change the level it flew back down to level 1! And there are 100 levels?! Holy moly!! I need a lesson lol.

  8. so many different ellipticals! to be honest, i don’t really like any of them all that much. but i do use them to give my knee a rest now and again. your overflowing jar of oat bran is killing me! so epic. NICE on the 5k lady! that is a quick pace. mmm i had salmon and capers last night~such a good combo. i also love capers in chicken picatta. i love the fact that you are running for a cause! that is so great. and you will also rock that 10k. xo!

  9. Awesome run! 180 BPM?! Yikes. I think my chest would explode! What’s your resting heart rate out of curiosity??..

    I keep most of my bars in the fridge- so good! I really don’t like capers… My mom is obsessed with them and they find their way into everything she makes…*shudders*

    • thegreatbalancingact

      Haha Ellie, my resting heart rate is about 55 bpm. But I try not to get wrapped up in it too much because it varies so much person to person. I know a high heart rate for me might not be the same for someone even of similar fitness. I just like to keep an eye on it to make sure I’m working hard enough (or not pushing it too hard!)

  10. “I tried to yell obscenities at him, but it came out as a gurgle” – hahahahahah. Sorry, this made me laugh a lot. Don’t know if it was meant to…
    The AB jar throw up also made me laugh. Girl, you got me giggling today. CONGRATS on the mega fast run. Sometimes it feels good to push yourself super hard! Go you!

  11. So… It turns out drinking too much rum with old friends last night was just the boost my training needed!


    Distance: 40.35 km
    Duration: 1:23:50
    Max Speed: 57.2 km/h
    Avg: 29.0 km/h !!! – A new plateau!

    Max HR: 195 bpm
    Avg HR: 165 bpm
    1098 Calories / 40% fat.

  12. thanks for the elliptical 411! i think the rear drive is the one i usually work out on. btw, sandwich looks sooo good! i love capers, so salty and delicious :)

  13. Thanks for answering my question, and thanks for the elliptical lesson! I always wonder if what I use is actually called an elliptical (I’ve heard so many different names for it!). Now I know it is a rear-elliptical ;)
    Those overflowing oats look so good! I have a Nutella jar I am trying to use up to preprae for my first bowl of jar-oats! :)

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