Monday, 31 December 2012

2012-A Year in Review

So it's December 31st and 2012 is almost over, I thought I would look back at a the year that was 2012.

Event  in 2012
- Bluenose 10K - Halifax
- Ottawa Race Weekend 5K- Ottawa
- National Capital Triathlon Sprint Tri - Ottawa
- The Canadian Triathlon Try-a-Tri - Ottawa
- Army Run Half Marathon - Ottawa
- CIBC Run for the Cure 5K - Ottawa
- Beat Beethoven 8K - Ottawa
- Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon - Orlando FL

Next Race    
- Resolution Run 5K - Ottawa Dec 31, 2012

Best Moments of 2012
- Finishing my first triathlon, The Canadian Triathlon
- Finishing my first timed 10K, The Bluenose
- Finishing my first half marathon, Army Run
- Finishing first in my age group, Beat Beethoven

Worst Moments of 2012
- Getting a DNF on my sprint triathlon, National Capital Triathlon
- Getting injured 2 weeks before my first half marathon, Army Run

Most Inspirational Moment of 2012
- Seeing my Mom at the 20K mark of my first half marathon, I really needed the boost at that stage
- Running with the injured soldiers at the Army Run, I had no reason to complain, if they could do it, so could I
- Watching our friend Stephane compete in the Tremblant Ironman event.  I saw athletes of all shapes and sizes, pro's and age group athletes all participate and at that moment I know I too could do this one day

Best Run of 2012
- Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.
My goal was to have fun and enjoy the run, time did not matter.  I had a great run, for the first time I actually felt like a runner. It was a fabulous event and I really enjoyed running through the Disney parks.

2013 Goals
- Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half  Marathon - to set a new personal best time
- National Capital Triathlon - complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon
- Start training for my first marathon (Disney 2014)

So that was 2012.  I hope you had many memorable moments in 2012 and I look forward to sharing 2013 with you. Happy New Year!

Friday, 28 December 2012

Things I wish I knew 20 years ago

This is not a usual post, it is in response to a blog post by SWIMBIKEMOM about losing her mind.  It stirred up some feelings in me that I wanted to share, so thank you for indulging me this one time.  I will have a regular blog post on Monday.

So I have a confession to make, I am old.  I have been around the block a few times and life has left its marks on my body and my soul.  I look at myself and I feel every one of my years.  Don’t get me wrong, my mental  age is far younger then my physical age, there is no way I tell my body I am that old or it might stop doing all the crazy things I ask it to do.  When I am out with the girls, I really feel old.  They have young kids and are trying to sort out the work/life/training balance thing and I look at them knowingly and smile.  I would run away laughing hysterically but I do not want to frighten them, not yet anyway. 

When we are young we think we can have it all, a career, a husband, 2 or 3 darling kids, maybe a dog and look fabulous at the same time.  Keep dreaming as that is not going to happen, or it sure did not happen to me.  Women of my generation were raised to be superwomen, blame the feminist movement if you must (I don't). No longer was it OK to be at home, we had to work, workout like Jane Fonda, raise perfect kids and bake cookies all while solving some international financial crisis on our lunch hour.  We had to have a perfect home, a perfect marriage and perfect kids; whoever painted that picture was not living my life, that is for sure.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my life but at times I really wondered if I would survive.  So for all my younger athletic friends I will share my secret with you, come closer, I have to whisper. 

Life is not about balance; it’s about surviving, surviving and trying not to lose your mind completely.  If you want balance, buy one of those old fashion scales because that is the only way I know to achieve balance. 

We have to do the best we can or as I put it “fake it till you make it”.  Life does not come with a rule book; we make it up as well go along.  We try to do it all because we think we should but guess what, it never works out the way we want it too and we feel inadequate.  For me these feelings lead to over eating and giving up all my personal time for my children, the PTA, the scouts, the band and everyone else who wanted a piece of me until there was no ME left and a fat, sad depressing shell was looking at me in the mirror and I wondered who the hell she was.  I had slowly lost my mind, my body and my soul and it was time to get it back.  Losing your mind makes some things easier, like the teenage years but really, it’s not worth it.  Here is what I wish someone had told me when I was younger
-           to do the best I could, it would be enough;
-           perfect is only in magazines and not real life;
-          Your kids will love you even if you are not there all the time as long as you are there totally (mind, body and spirit)  some of the time;
-          Real men do dishes, they cleans and go grocery shopping too;
-          Store bought cookies or cookies from a mix are just as good as homemade;
-          Never give all of yourself away to everyone else; you might need yourself one day;
-          Be kind to yourself, forgive yourself and for god sake LOVE yourself, then everyone else will too.

My best piece of advice is to find something you really like to do, whether it be running, triathlons, bootcamp, knitting, reading or scrapbooking and put it in a special place, a place that never gets ignored or given away, some 'me time' so we can keep a bit of our mind, body and soul.  Your kids and husband will understand and appreciate the better person you are because of it.  I had better post this before I change my mind; that is if I can remember where I put the darn thing.

Huge thank you to my hubby and kids for giving me the time to find myself again.  I am much happier now and so are they because of it.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Addict or Athlete

My name is Allyson and I am an exercise addict…..(not)

So we had a speaker at out run clinic on Friday night speaking to us about exercise addiction.  He was an interesting speaker but I am not sure about his comments. If you run and train, you know how easy it is to obsess about your training and to over-train as your event gets closer.   Experts say that exercise addiction is not just another term for over-training syndrome.  Exercise addiction is a chronic loss of perspective of the role of exercise in a full life.  The exercise addict had lost their balance; exercise is overvalued compared to the value of work, friends, family or community.

I am not an exercise addict, I exercise because I want to, I like the way I feel and I like the way it makes my body feel.  I have been known to wake up at 4:30am to get a long run in before work or family events, I have had to cut down social activities to do my training, I work out when I am sick, injured or tired and friends and family have told me I am too involved in exercise.  I love to work out 6 days a week and I get withdrawal like symptoms when I cannot work out.  I even use exercise to improve my mood, I run better when I am mad and I run when I am stressed so I do not eat.  Based on this, I fit the definition of an exercise addict; so do most of my running/triathlete friends.   

I would say I am goal driven, I like to set goals and achieve them…it makes me happy.  I work hard to achieve my goals, I can be single minded in my focus when I get close to an event.  I think anyone who trains for any distance events has these qualities; we need them to keep us on track and to push us for the next goal.  I think it is all about balance; it’s OK to get out of balance for a short time, like before an event but if we stay out of balance for too long we could have a problem.  I know I have felt a little lost in my off season, I like it better when I have a training plan but the off season gives me a chance to re-balance my life.  I know when to work harder and when to take a day off, I know that my family and friends are more important then my workouts and they come first and I know that exercise is an important part of my life but it is not my life. 

My name is Allyson and I am an athlete....

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Running for Pancakes

The last few weeks have been interesting, Mother Nature is going through menopause I think, it’s been really warm and it’s been really cold, we have had rain, freezing rain and snow.  I have a love/hate relationship with running in the winter.  I love running in the cold crisp conditions, the feeling you get running on a snow packed sidewalk but I hate running on ice and feeling insecure underfoot.   November 22, I went running along the canal with a friend in capri’s and a t-shirt, six days later I ran with a different friend in long tights and all my winter running gear.  Four days later, on Sunday it was raining and freezing rain and I had to cut my run short as I was afraid I would slip.  Yesterday it was +10 and today it feels like -10, this is crazy. 

Generally I do not run outside between Jan and Mar, it’s me and my treadmill. Some runners hate the treadmill, like my husband, but I do not mind it.  It’s warm inside, the footing is secure and I can have a bathroom stop or water break whenever I need it.  I have a  vivid imagination and I pass the time writing movies or TV shows in my head, where I am the beautiful star of the feature and some handsome man is my love interest, sorry Neale.  I also have time to sort out problems and work through stuff that is happening.  I get to argue both sides of the argument, look at the pros and cons and have a complete plan by the time I finish my run.  Poor Neale hates it when I get off the treadmill and say “Honey, I’ve been thinking”, he knows what is coming and I am sure he hides when I finish my run to avoid this.   

Lately I have been having some work problems, owning your own business has its pluses and minuses and November was definitely a minus month.  In the past I would have eaten my stress, drank too much wine and had too many treats.  Now I hop on the treadmill and go for a run and run until my stress is gone and I have formulated a plan.  December is a new month, I have a plan for my business for the New Year and I am happy with the new way I choose to deal with my stress.

Studies show that the average person puts on 10 lbs during the holiday season, yikes!  I have a plan for December so that I end up the month they way I went into it, a loss would be great but holding even will be a victory.  If I want to eat something extra, I find out how much extra running I would need to do to burn it off and then decide if it is worth the effort, if it is, I eat it, if not I do not but I do the run FIRST.  I have a recipe for Gingerbread pancakes that I want to try.  This means a 16K run and when I do that long run, probably Dec 22rd that is what I am making.  Whatever you eat during the holidays, enjoy it, really really enjoy it…you deserve it. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

It's All About Balance

So it’s the first full week of my off season and I am struggling.  I have been training 5-6 days a week for months and now I do not have a plan or a race to plan for and I am worried that I will slide backwards and all my hard work will disappear.  Now the logical part of my brain knows that is a load of crap but the illogical part of me is worried.  I worry that if I am not running 5 times for more than 40K a week my weight will creep back on and I will lose my fitness.   This is worse than a taper week because at the end of it I know I don't have a race to look forward to…now I have…nothing. 

It’s not like I am sitting on the couch and eating bonbons but it feels different and I do not like it.  I like a plan, a sense of purpose and I guess I need a direction to be pointed in.  I am running 3 times a week as a group leader and I have an indoor cycling class once a week starting Monday but it does not feel like it is enough.  I signed up for a half marathon in May as part of Team Diabetes, something I have wanted to do for a long time but May is so far away and it’s too early to start training for it.

Two years ago, I would have been happy to do nothing athletic but not now, now it’s like an addiction and when I do not get my fix, I get crazy.  It’s all about balance and I cannot go too far to one extreme or the other; I need to take these next few months to regain my balance.  I still need a plan but not a training plan, a different plan.  I want to fine tune my running technique, improve my strength and flexibility and loose that last 15 lbs.  Its funny how much I have changed, that fat girl happy to sit on the side lines is gone for good and I do not miss her.  I like the fit girl I have become, the one that follows her dreams, inspires other to follow theirs and who won’t ever give up.   

Monday, 19 November 2012

I Double Dare You

I am a runner, not a racer.  I run for exercise, for fun and for the social aspect of it.  I will never win a race, qualify for the Olympics, probably not Boston either.  I only finished first in my AG once (still can’t believe that happened) but that does not mean I do not like to run hard.   Sure, I love to try to get a personal best time but I have learned that some of my best running experiences are when I ran just for fun and even without my Garmin.

I recently did the Disney Wine and Dine half marathon and on a Facebook group for the event, a bunch of runners were complaining how bad their runs were, how disappointed they were by their times and how they did not like running at night.   I went into the event to have fun, not to get a PB and I had a great run.  I had a run that made me feel like a real runner.  I enjoyed the run, the atmosphere and the crowds and did not care what my Garmin said or what my pace was (for the most part).  Most of the time I could not see my Garmin as I am technologically challenged and could not find the light button and I ran by how I felt, and I felt great.  Now I respect everyone’s right to run for a PB, I do it for some races but there is a time and place to enjoy your running and to me Disney is that place. 

On Friday I was running with the 10K group and one of the runners was not having a good run.  I was telling her that in my opinion out of 100 runs, 10 will be truly excellent, 10 will be really bad and the rest will be OK but they all make us a better runner.  We cannot let the good or the bad runs define us a runners, it’s the consistence of our training and determination to achieve our goals that define us.   If we let time be the only way we define a good or bad race, we are missing the beauty of the run, the sound of our feet hitting the pavement and the measure of our breathing…or in my case the slapping of my feet and the gasping for breath.  Go on, leave your watch or Garmin at home for your next run and just run…I dare you.

The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race; it’s to test the limits of the human heart.
Bill Bowerman

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My Magical Mystery Tour

Disney Wine and Dine 2012 Race Report- grab a coffee, it’s long.

So, do you believe in magic?  Well I do and I had a magical night at Disney.   The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon was the last big run for the year and my first night race so I thought I would need a bit of fairy dust and a fairy godmother to get me to the finish line but in fact my Mizuno’s did just fine.   My t-shirt summed it up ‘Forget the glass slipper, this princess wears running shoes’.

We spent Friday shopping, I was supposed to do a 4K run but opted for a day of shopping, I think it was a harder workout and by the time we reached the Expo at 5pm, I was tired and my feet were sore.   The kit pick-up was easy and I managed to get moved up a coral based on my Army Run time.  They had photo opportunities everywhere and Run Disney sure knows how to provide customer service.   The Expo was in a different building and was huge.  I had fun buying things I never saw before in Canada.  I splurged and bought runner earbuds and some t-shirts, one a triathlon shirt and I was thrilled to find that one.  Another fun find were shoe charms, I bought one for each shoe (have to be balanced right) left shoe says 'powered by fairy dust' and the right shoe says 'I run for wine'.  I bought my finishers t-shirt and hoped I would be able to wear it home, knock on wood (I did wear it home).

Saturday was an odd day since the run was at night.  We went back to the Expo in the morning and then spent the day by the pool relaxing.  It was warm and sunny but it was hard to do nothing while you are at Disney.  I was excited but relaxed, a bit nervous but nothing like before the Army Run.   Eating was interesting but I got through the day without incident.  One big thing about Disney races, you have to be there so early and you have a long wait to start.  I brought my Go Lean Crunch from home and found Greek yogurt on site so I brought my snack to eat at 8pm. At 9pm they asked us to go to our corral, 70 mins before the race start.  The entertainment was great and I had time to talk to other runners and the time passed quickly.

At 10:10 we started with a bang…the bang of fireworks that is.  OK, let’s get this done.  I usually start too fast and get slower as I go but I wanted to stay consistent this time, I was aiming for a 7:00-7:15 min/km pace with walk breaks and photo stops (or a 12 min mile).  We started on the highway and it was dark, I forgot my light so seeing my Garmin was tough but I decided to go by how I felt and not clock watch too much.   I felt great as I started and was enjoying the crowds and the entertainment.  I was surprised at how much running we did on the highway (mile 1-3) but eventually we got to the Animal Kingdom (mile 3-6).  It was nice seeing the park at night and it took your mind off the running.  Back to the highway (mile 6-9) to run to the Disney Hollywood Studios, our next park.  At mile 9 or the 15K mark I hit the wall at the Army Run and I hit it again here, luck for me it was the wall of the Tower of Terror and nothing else.  We were now running through Disney parks to the end and it helped take your mind off the last 4.1 miles, there was so much to see.  The downside was the paths were narrower and there were a lot of walkers so the running was harder and slower.  This was one of the big differences I noticed between running in Canada and the US, or at least the Running Room runners and other runners.  We are taught to signal we are about to take a walk break and move to the side to allow the runners to pass easily, it was easy to spot the RR runners who were doing this during the run and the others were stopping wherever and walking 3-4 abreast and blocking the path, grrrr.

So I never hit the wall, in fact I had a great run. I stuck to my plan; my splits at 5k, 10k, 15k and 21.1k were all between 11:50 and 11:54 mins per mile and my finish time was 1 min off my Army Run time even with all my photo stops along the way. I finally felt like a runner, I felt so good as I finished, all my training and hard work came together and it was truly magical.  Then it was time to party!!! 

After I made it through the finish line and changed, I found Leah and we walked around Epcot, eating and drinking our way around the world.  I was a little bit sore and had a blister on my big toe but felt great.  By 3am I was ready to crash and we headed back to the hotel.  Staying on site is the way to go, they provide transportation to the event and the hotel and it was so easy to get around.   The next day I had a bit of tightness in my quads and my right knee but nothing major and certainly not enough to stop me from shopping some more.   Monday we went to the Magic Kingdom for some rides and to celebrate, it truly is the most magical place on earth!

Run Disney runs a great event, they think of everything. There were tons of water stops on the race, the entertainment was great and the finish line went really smooth, no big lineups or bottlenecks.  Now I am looking forward to 2 months of reduced training before it all starts again and I do another half marathon in early May.  We will be back in Disney January 2014, Neale to run the Goofy and me to do my first marathon, I can't wait to go back! This truly was the most magical way to end my training year!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Waiting to Exhale

Tomorrow I leave for my last big race of the season and my first international destination run.  I registered for this half marathon BEFORE I had run my first one, a leap of faith on my part but it seemed like so much fun.  The Disney Wine and Dine is a half marathon through 3 Disney parks ending at a food and wine expo at Epcot, what’s not to like right? It seemed like a fitting end to my first big training year, like going to Disney World after winning the Superbowl.  In truth, I feel like I am waiting to last bit of business and then I can relax.

Little did I know when I started this training season what I had gotten myself into,  I would run a few races, do a triathlon and have some fun, easy, simple and to the point.  I had signed up for a few races before the year started, a 10K and a sprint triathlon and later added a 5K and a half marathon.  Little did I know that I would also add another triathlon, two 5K’s, an 8K and another half marathon.  My easy simple plan became a monster that continued to grow, getting out of control and pulling me along whether I was ready or not.  I had my highs points, running my first half marathon, and my low points, getting my first DNF on my sprint tri but all in all it’s been a great year.  I pushed my body to its limits and it fought back with a few injuries.  

Looking back, I sure did not know I had it in me; I am surprised at what I achieved and what’s to come. Running Disney is my victory lap, or laps as it is 21.2K long, I am trying to forget that fact.  I trained hard and respect the distance but I want to have fun, soak in the atmosphere and enjoy myself. I will be running thinking about all the fabulous people who helped me get through this year, my husband and sons of course (love you guys) but also the other runners from the Orleans Running Room, Kiza , Stephanie and Barbara especially.  The Facebook friends and bloggers who provided advice and insight and a kick in the pants when needed, you people are the best!  We might race alone but we train together and I could not do it without you!  Next year will be interesting but that can wait, now is my bit of fun and then I have 2 months “off”.  Before you think I will be doing nothing, not the case, 3 runs a week, I am a group leader for the 10K clinic and an indoor cycle class for cardio and 2 strength training sessions to help my core.  Hardly a holiday but less intense then training season and more fun and relaxed. 

I learned a lot about myself this year, I am stronger than I thought and I can achieve more and work harder than I ever thought.  I learned that failure does not have to define you and its part of the journey to success.  I learned I LOVE being a cheerleader for others, I love helping other achieve their goals and inspiring them to dream big.  I learned to love running, something I never thought would happen and I learned to love my body but I can learn to love a little bit less of it too.  Anyway before the soft music swells up and I need the Kleenex I had better go and pack…the race report will follow next week….BYE!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Follow the Leader

So the follower becomes a leader, sort of.  I agreed to be a group leader for the 10K clinic at the local Running Room.  I took the clinic twice and before I moved up to the half marathon clinic but before I moved up I told Stephanie I would love to help out in a future clinic.  The timing is perfect; it will keep me running 3 times a week after my Disney Half Marathon.  I start training with K2J in January so this is my last chance and I jumped at it.  I wanted to do this as a thank you to the group leaders who supported me over the last 2 years, without them it would not have possible to achieve my goals, they have been amazing.  Stephanie is another big reason I agreed to do this, she is one of the biggest reason I love running now.  She is one of those individuals who loves running and shares it with everyone and her enthusiastic attitude is infectious. I hope I can do justice to this and help share the love of running with others.

Last night was our first run, it was great and I had fun connecting with a new group of runners.  The ladies I was running with are new to the 10K clinic, one moving up from the 5K clinic, another is looking to run with a group for motivation the other has not run in a few years and wants to re-ignite her fitness routine.  I love being part of their journey; it should be a fun few months.  I have a support group as well, Losing it in Ottawa is a Facebook group I belong too, we support each other, offer encouragement, support and words of wisdom to each other.  They help keep me accountable and inspired and it is great to follow their journey.  We all need support and encouragement, not just in fitness but in life generally. 

This week I was selected to be a Sweat Pink Ambassador (SPA) as well.  SPA’s encourage and support others to be fit and healthy and achieve their goals.  Sometime next year I hope to plan a Sweat Pink event, something in my community to inspire my fitness friends and the community and I look forward to sharing that with you.  

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Going the Distance

Beat Beethoven

This is a run I wanted to do for the last 2 years but the timing was never right, it was not right this year but I was determined to do it anyway and make it work.  It was a cold windy morning when about 150 of us brave souls started the 8k run.  The theory of the run is to run 8K in less than 50 mins or the time it takes to play Beethoven’s 5th twice.  I really did not think I had a chance to beating Beethoven but who cared; I wanted to have a good run and test the legs out before Disney.  I was running with Darryl, a friend through a client and he is a faster runner then me.  I had been increasing running my distance without stopping for walk breaks and had hoped to do the first 4k nonstop and then take walk breaks.  It turns out Darryl had other plans and we kept running, and running and running, the whole 8K nonstop.  This was a first for me and so was the time, 8K in 49:50.  We managed to beat Beethoven, finishing before the 50 mins, I was so happy. 

Disney Wine and Dine

This was the long distance week in my half marathon training, an 18K run and a weekly total of 43K.  I was happy that I managed to do all the runs and survive; I feel like I got to the top of the mountain and am ready to descend.  Next week is almost a long a distance but with a 6 week training schedule you do not get the luxury of a 2 week taper, I get 5 days. 

I have noticed I am getting faster and stronger when I run which is nice.  I was a consistent 6:30/km runner and it had dropped to about 6:16/k, getting closer to me goal of a 30 min 5K and a 60 min 10K. I hurt less after my long runs and feel better after them, the tired grumpiness is gone and the runner high is there instead.  I feel better knowing that I can run the long distances, feel strong and finish strong.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Shooting for the Moon

So I like to plan, I like to make plans, I like to plan things, it helps me stay focused and in control.  I also believe that if you do not put things out into the universe they can never come true and that dreams and plans need to be shared.  I am also smart enough to believe that announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.   I have learned that it is OK to make plans but you have to flexible as well and be willing to readjust as you go along, keep your eyes open for opportunities that might present themselves and not lose yourself to your plan.  Some of the best things in my life where not planned, I threw caution to the wind and trusted my gut.  Sometimes you have a dream and the universe provides in way you cannot understand but it was just what you needed at the time, you just have to recognize it when it comes your way. 

In June,  I was a week into my triathlon training and did not know what to do, I was lost and did not know how to find my way to the finish line.  I was waiting in my dermatologist’s office and he was running late so I picked up a magazine to pass the time.  I found an article about Triathlons and how to train for a sprint triathlon, a six week plan to get you to the finish line.  The Universe sent me a lifeline and I grabbed onto it with both hands. I tore the training schedule from the magazine, something I would usually never do and took it home to adapt it to my schedule.  The training program was prepared by K2J Fitness a local Ottawa coaching service for runners and tri-athletes. 

Fast forward to last Friday when I had a meeting with Judy Andrew Piel, one of the coaches from K2J Fitness about coaching me towards my 50th birthday goal.  The universe put her into my life and I was smart enough recognize the potential.   I have 27 month until I turn 50 and as I blogged before, I hope to complete and Ironman triathlon that year if I can, God and my body willing.  It was a great meeting and she said I have enough time to train if we started in January 2013 and was willing to work hard.  The working hard I can control for the most part, Judy can handle the plan and the rest of the stuff I am giving up to the universe and God.  It is not an easy task but one I am looking forward to with many milestones along the way, at least 2 Olympic triathlons, 2 half Ironman triathlons, 2 marathons and whatever other events Judy adds along the way.   In 2013 she wants me to run a spring half marathon and do a 2 day, 200k cycle ride called the Rideau Lakes Tour and that is just to start.  I will share a much of this journey as I can but some bits I will share after I complete them and I hope you understand.   As much as I dream big and push myself to do better, parts of this journey scare the pants off me (2 marathons, oh my) and I will need your support as I make my way, it should be fun and I hope you share this journey with me.  

Friday, 12 October 2012

Why I run

On Monday I am hosting a motivational talk by Mark Sutcliffe, he is a runner, publisher and author of the book "Why I Run". He is also a big source of motivation to me in my running.  Neale brought a copy of the book home in May 2011 having met Mark at the Ottawa race weekend expo. He said I should read it and I thought, why would I want to read a book about running, I am not a runner.  At that point I was running 5K's and really did not like running, I just did it to stay in shape.  One rainy Friday afternoon in August, we were having a series of rolling thunderstorms and I turned my computer off.  I was looking for something to do and 'the book' was on the couch so I picked it up.  I noticed the forward was by Malcolm Gladwell and I like his stuff so I thought I would read that.  Then I read the introduction and could totally relate to his wife and her life where running was the priority.  I keep reading and at some point the thunderstorm stopped but I did not care, I was totally engrossed in the book.  I think we had scramble eggs that night for dinner as I read the book straight through, cover to cover, I could not put it down.  It sounds cliche, but I laughed and I cried, I was so caught up in the stories and as it ended I was sad it was finished.  The next day I marched into the Running Room and signed up for the next 10K clinic and the Resolution run on Dec 31.  I was so motivated and ready to conquer 2 long held dreams, to do an Olympic distance triathlon and to run a half marathon.

Fast forward a year and I did run a half marathon, I dipped my toe into the triathlon pool and am looking forward to next year when I attempt an Olympic distance triathlon.  We get motivation from many sources as runners and triathletes, magazines, books, websites, other blogs and they all help us achieve our goals.  Another source of motivation is my local running club where I have had fabulous clinic leaders and group leaders, I have had the opportunity to run with some great people and have made some new friends.  I have had runners stay behind with me on those Sundays I was having a bad run and I have stayed behind with others to motivate them when they were having a bad day.  These runners have all helped me get to the start and more importantly finish line of my races and when thing did not go as planned, they were there to pick me up and tell me it's OK.   One of the runners turned 50 this year, she ran the Boston marathon, did a 50K race and just recently a 50 mile race.  She is a beacon to me showing me that I too can be fabulous and fit as I too approach 50 and I can do whatever I put my mind too.

Back to the title of this blog entry...Why I Run.

I run to stay in shape, so that the weight I lost never comes back.

I run to get me away from my desk and to stop my clients from driving me totally crazy.

I run to show my kids that you can do anything if you decide to, work hard and dream big.

I run so that I will stay healthy and grow old with my wonderful husband, so we can continue to have new adventures together.

I run because I LIKE to run, finally I can say I AM A RUNNER.

Friday, 5 October 2012

What's next

So I finished the Army Run, what's next?  For me, my next race is the Disney Wine and Dine on Nov 10th.  It's a half marathon that starts at 10pm and we run through the Animal Kingdom and Epcot.  Once I am done, about 12:30am Sunday for me, we go to a food and drink expo at Epcot.  I am not sure how much wining and dining I will be doing at 12:30 am and the start time is my usual bed time but it should be fun.  I have my silver sparkle skirt and my new T-shirt and am planning to take lots of photos along the route.

I trained for 14 weeks for the Army Run so how do I train for a half in 6 weeks?  I bookmarked a site I found on the Bluenose site last May, a guy who lives in Halifax and does personalized running programs, Greg Wieczorek from Project PB.

Now I am not the greatest runner but I can follow a program when given one so I emailed Greg to see if he could help.  Within days a six week training program landed in my email inbox, just the plan to get me to Disney.  I like the program, a tempo run, a speed run, a long run and 2 easy runs, 5 runs a week and 2 days for cross training or resting (guess which I will be doing).

My first run back was the CIBC Run for the Cure in memory of my aunt Jeanne.  Jeanne died 16 years ago from breast cancer and I do this run every year in her memory.  I have run it in the sun and I have run it in the rain and cold and this year the rain did  not keep me or the other runners away.  It is a fun run, no timer, no stress, just a run to remember those who have passed and celebrate those who survive.  It is so nice to see the pink t-shirts of the survivors grow in number each year, it means we are making progress, slowly but moving forward just the same.

I feel that way about my running as well, I move forward, slowly but making progress along the way.  This week I am making progress on my new training program and staying within my Weight Watcher points, making small steps to the bigger step at a time.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Army Run

So if you have followed my blog you know how I got to this point, me and my big mouth.  I 'suggested' to a friend who was in a running rut that we set a big goal... Why don't we set a big goal, I said, lets run a half marathon in the fall of 2012, we don't have to run all of it, maybe half and we can walk the rest. My friend had to stop training due to injury which I was totally cool with and here I was, running with an old friend, Jane, who I have known since we moved back to Ottawa and a new friend Barbara.  All week I was worried about two things, would I be able to run and the weather.  On our 20K run, I was injured and the two week taper turned into a 2 run/11 day rest taper but I got the all clear to run so then it was all about the weather.  It rained cats and dogs Friday, I was helping with kit pickup and was soaked after my 4 week shift.  Saturday was iffy but Sunday was a sunny cool day, a bit on the windy side but much better then rain.

We trained to run a 2:30 pace and for race day we started at a 2:20 pace and by the 8K mark, I knew that was too fast for me and the girls ran on without me.  I had some muscle tightness in my hip flexor at the start but by that point it had worked itself out, now it was lack of conditioning that was my downfall.  The lack of running in the last 2 weeks was not my friend, I was not rested, I was rusty.  I kept going....and going and then I heard the cadets in front of me.  I had helped my sons' cadet squadron get a cheer station at the race, they were outside the Governor Generals residence so I got to pass them twice, just knowing they were there made me keep moving.  I had dropped from a 6:40 pace to a 7:00 per k pace at this point but felt reasonably good.  After I passed them the second time, I hit the wall and was suffering.

I had 5k left to go, not so bad you would think, yeah right.  Kiza told us this would be the hard part of the race so be ready for it, she was right. This is where the mental games start and the devil on your shoulder can't keep its mouth shout....why are you here...your to old to be doing this....your too fat to be doing this...there is no way you can finish...and so on.  At this point the iPod got turned on louder to drown out the voice and I focused on staying upright, not slouching and to take small steps.  I had Stephanie in my head again, "shorten your stride" and my mantra became 'short, short short' and as in the past, it helped.  By the time I got to Pretoria Bridge I was really sore and tired.  My pace had dropped to 8:00 mpk but I was too tired to care at  this point.  Suddenly I saw my Mom there with her camera, ready to cheer me on.  I was  so happy to see her, I gave her a quick hug and left to do the last few km.  At this point my mantra become 'just keep moving forward'.  Suddenly the iPod started to play one of the songs I had added at the last moment, Journey's-Don't Stop Believing.  It was just what I needed to bring me home, don't stop believing...ever ...because you are stronger then you think and you can achieve more then you ever imagine if you are willing to try.

So the official time was 2:34:07, a bit slower then I had hoped for but it does not matter, I had done it and no one could take it away from me.  This summer I had many highs, the Bluenose, my first completed triathlon and this half marathon and some lows, my DNF but all in all it was a great summer of training and racing.  I learned a lot about myself, what I am capable of and what I need to work on.  I learned I LOVE doing triathlons, I love being a cheer leader for others and I hate letting myself down.

I had planned on taking the photo of Fat Ally with me to throw into the canal on my race, a symbolic way of saying she was never coming back this new Ally was here to stay but I forgot it.  When I got home I took that photo off the fridge and tore it into tiny pieces and threw it in the garbage, not quite as dramatic but equally as satisfying.  So now I get a week off and then it is on to the next race and this one is all about the FUN, the Disney Wine and Dine.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The New Normal

Conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.
The usual, average, or typical state or condition.

This is the dictionary definition of normal but to me normal is a range not a static place, it is fluid and moves, it evolves and adapts.  NBC has a new show this fall called “The New Normal” about a single Mom who becomes a surrogate for married gay couple.  Now I am not sure that fit the standard definition of normal, it is probably on the far extreme of the normal continuum but it shows how much our normal can change.  20 years ago, a married gay couple was definitely not the norm but it is now standard place in society.  Society continues to evolve, to accept changes and redefine normal and I am glad that is the case.

Three years ago my normal was being inactive, over weight and unhappy.  This summer my new normal was working out 6 days a week, 9 workouts a week.  In three years I went from one end of the normal continuum to the other and evolved as a person and an athlete.  I do not think either extreme is healthy, too little or too much, finding the balance is that hard part.  We can push our normal and make it grow but if you push it too far it will snap back to a more comfortable place…whether you are ready for it or not.  Sunday my body decided enough was enough; it did not like this new normal and told me so in no uncertain terms. 

I was smart enough to listen and spent the week trying to define my new normal, a more balanced normal.  Yes I still have goals and will push for more challenges but I will do it in a more balanced fashion. Normal continues to evolve…for society and for me.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

10 questions

So this has been going around the running blog sites and I thought it would be fun to do, 10 questions about me and running so here goes

1. Best run ever – first time I ran 16K, actually 16.5.  I felt great, the nutrition was right, the weather was  great, the people were perfect and it was a day I felt like a runner.

2. Three words that describe my running  slow, awkward, work in progress

3. My go-to running outfit is – Capri’s and a t-shirt, sunglasses and iPod

4. Quirky habit while running  - eating a CLIF bar on long runs

5. Morning, midday, evening – morning, get it done and out of the way

6. I won’t run outside when it’s – snow or ice, basically January to March

7.  Worst injury—and how I got over it: collapse metatarsal arch, one year of pain and treatment.  I was having IT band problems and I changed my running style from heel striking to mid foot overnight and my foot was not strong enough.

8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when – I reach a new longest distance done

9. Next race is -  Sept 23rd, Army Run

10. Potential running goal for 2013 – Half Marathon May 2013, Boilermaker Run July 2013

Monday, 3 September 2012

Happy New Year- sort of

I love back to school time, for me it is like New Years all over again.  Even as a kid, I loved going back to school, I’m crazy, I know.  It’s like a fresh sheet of paper; yours to write on so why not make it count.  We all make New Year resolutions and how many times do we accomplish them?  It’s time for a do over, something you wanted to do this year and never got too, you still have time to get it done.  You want to start something new; it’s the perfect time as there are classes starting for everything. If you want to run an event next spring or do a triathlon, it’s also time to get started.  I have learned that anything worth doing takes time; we do not accomplish things over night so starting months in advance is a good plan…and so is making a plan. 

In this world of blogs and web sites, there are lots of resources to help us achieve our goals, whatever they are.  There is someone out there doing what you are doing, having the same problems and looking to connect with others…you just have to reach out and look for them.  I am in several Facebook groups, for scrapbooking, running, triathlons and losing weight and I follow several blogs, I love reading them and following their experiences.   Whatever you want to do, if you can dream it you can achieve it and there is someone there to help you get there.  For me it is to lose 25 more pounds, the extra five that crept back on since 2010 and 20 new ones and this time I know I can do it.   So Happy New Year…in September.

Blogs and websites I love…there are more but you get the idea.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Delayed Gratification

Well I can finally say it...I am a Triathlete!  Ok, it was 4 weeks later then I expected but there was no bike failure, no excuses, not much practice and  no expectations.  I was a lot less nervous this time, actually quite relaxed, what was going to be would be and I know I was not in total control.  Last time I trained for 6 weeks and it did not matter, this time I had not swam in 4 weeks and only had 1 short bike ride and 1 brick workout so I was not as prepared but what the heck, I was doing to give it my all.

The swim was not pleasant, there were lots of weeds and I felt a bit panicky, but I decided to get the heck out of these as quickly as possible.  The bike leg was my downfall last time, I keep my emotions under control and kept telling myself it was just a nice Saturday bike ride.  Since I have an 18K run tomorrow, I did not want to push it so I kept it to a comfortable pace and started out.  I passed quite a few bikers in my event and since we has our names on out bids, I decided to be a cheerleader to those I passed.  I think the first biker was surprised when I passed her, called her by name and told her she looked wonderful.  For most of the participants, this was their first experience at Triathlons and I wanted to make it special.  I kept this up as I rode from the Lauier bridge to Carleton University.  I do not know if it helped them but it sure made me feel good.   Once I hit Carleton, the end was in sight and I focused on actually finishing the bike leg.  I was so happy when I crossed the dismount line and realized that next was the run and I knew I could do that.  The run was not as comfortable as I wanted, I felt like I was going really slow but in fact I was running a quite a good pace.  As I passed people on the run, I encouraged them on, told them they were doing awesome and generally trying to enjoy the run despite how I felt.  One young boy was running with his Dad by his side, his Dad was not participating but he told me that since his son came to each of his Tri's he was going to be there for him.  When I entered the track, I actually felt quite ill but there was no way I was stopping now, 100 m to go and I was done.  The sense of relief was overwhelming, I had completed my first Triathlon!

I enjoyed today so much more then before, not just the finishing but the whole event.  I was less focused on my result and was more focused on having fun and I did.  I guess once again the universe was teaching me a few lessons, and hopefully I learned them and will not have to repeat them in the future.  Focus less on the destination and more on the journey because even if you fail, you still had an amazing experience.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Extreme Makeover- Life Edition

I have a confession to make, I love watching EM- Weight Loss Edition.  I love to see these people transform their lives by losing a huge amount of weight over a year and changing their life.   We do not become overweight in a year and the thought that you can make a decision to change your life so drastically is amazing.  It also helps to remind me that even though I did not lose hundreds of pounds, I too made that decision, lost a lot of weight and regained my life, a happier, healthier life. 

The decision to start was in a way the easy part, one photo that showed me what the world saw and I refused too.  

I had no idea that day, June 1, 2009, that I would be starting one of the hardest things I would ever do and the most rewarding.  On May 30, 2010, I was 70 lbs lighter and walking a half marathon for the first time, both unthinkable a year before.  

I remember every km of that first half marathon, I cried the whole last km, tears of joy that I had done it!  

Looking forward a year seems like such a long period of time but it goes by in a flash and if you do not pay attention you will blink and miss it.  Fast forward 2 more years, the weight is still gone, well except for a few pounds (about 5) and I am training to run my first half marathon.  I have done several 5K and 10K races, even an 8K race in a kilt, I have run in +40 and -30, in the sun, in the rain, the snow and the hail.

Running is not natural to me, I have to work at it daily, commit to it and get it done, no excuses.  When we make a big decision, making it is can be the easy part, showing up; every day is the hard part.  There is no easy pill, no fairy God-mother that can do the km and hard work for us, it’s all up to’s our life.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

I am an IRONMAN wannabe

On Sunday we went to Mt Tremblant to watch our friend Stephane participate in his 3rd Ironman event.  An Ironman is a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and then after all that a 42.2km run.  I have to admit, I have gone on the record stating I WOULD never do one of these crazy things.  Just like I said I would never run a half marathon (doing one in Sept) or a marathon (Oct 2013- Toronto).  Well pass the ketchup because once again I am going to eat my words. I have decided my 50th birthday challenge would be one of these crazy things, god help me.

It was so inspiring to watch and see athletes of all sizes and shapes compete in this event.  The swim starts at 7am and it was quite a sight to see 2300 Age Group athletes all attack the swim with enthusiastic gusto. It is quite the production with divers to make sure no one goes underwater, kayaks, boats and lifeguards on surf boards all making sure they stay safe and finish.  The comes the long bike portion of the event.  Around noon we settled in to wait for Stephane on his second loop.  The elite athletes and faster age group athletes were finishing their second loop and there were still others starting their second loop.  I have been there, watching others finish as you are just starting out, it must be hard but they all had a smile on their face.  These athletes will not win, that is not their goal, its a race against themselves, will they survive and complete this enormous task.  I stayed out until I saw the last of them start the second loop, cheering them on as loud as I could.  I know one day, I will be there, slowly making my through the day, taking advantage of the 17 hours allotted for the event.   Finally you get to the run portion, I have yet to run a marathon and I can hardly imagine running one after doing the other stuff.  We saw Stephane as he started the run and he was smiling and looking good.   Most of those who start finish, some due not...some do not make the cut-offs for the swim and bike legs, others have mechanical problems and for some it was just not their day and their bodies gave up.  They all had the courage to dream, to train and to try their hardest,it is not something you start on a lark and figure you can do with little work.  This is a hard core event and when you cross the finish line and they say "You are an Ironman" you know you truly are.

I was watching a You Tube video about the US Ironman Championship and the ending spoke to went something like this.  Life is like a dash and the dash is going to be on your headstone.  It's going to be from the day you were born until the day that you die and that is what people are going to know about you.  I was thinking to myself that you have such a limited time to go out and do as many amazing things as possible, so make the most out of that's your life. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

It’s a Guy Thing

Don’t get me wrong, I love my running guys, but why is it that guys always start at the end and not work their way up to it in a sensible manner.  My hubby, Neale ran as his first race a half marathon, same with my son Stephen.  At least Neale trained for it, Stephen hardly at all and they did an awesome job.  Even my running buddy Roy went from couch potato to 10K runner in a single bound.  I, on the other hand, started with walking, and then progressed to 5K and then a year later 10K and now after 9 months running 10Ks to my first half marathon.  Same with my Triathlon, I started with a sprint Tri, a shorter distance then the standard Olympic Tri I aim to do next year.  Not Neale, he wants to do the Olympic distance Triathlon with me.  This from a man who cannot swim 20 yard let alone 1.5K.  Is it confidence, bravo or machismo that makes them dive right in with that do or die attitude.  As they say, different strokes for different folks, I will be happy to be the turtle and slowly make my way along and who knows, I might end up ahead of them one day.  

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Words I Hate

A mid week post, I must have something to rant about.  I have been reading some new blogs and have been on some new Facebook group pages which I love.  Reading other peoples blogs are so inspiring and humbling, and Facebook groups are awesome.  I was having an exchange with one FB group member and she said she was just doing a Try-a-Tri next year when I asked what distance she was doing .  I heard myself telling her what everyone said to me all summer when I said the exact same thing...there is no such thing as just or only..I also say I only run 10K and not marathons like my husband.  We all do the best we can and should be proud of what we accomplished or hope to accomplish.  In 2009 I weighted over 220lbs and if anyone told me I would be training for my first half marathon and doing Triathlons I would have laughed in their face, loudly.

Another word I hate is DNF-did not finish... OK it is 3 words but you get my drift. I read a post by one blogger how her husband asked her for a divorce and she realized she did not want a DNF for her marriage.  Another blogger had a post about what she says when people ask her how many marathons she ran, she got a DNF for her second one.  We all get DNF's in our life, it's how we deal with them that counts.  The first blogger and her husband are working it out, he does not want a DNF either, the second blogger went on to run 3 more marathons.   I got a DNF  in 1987 when I failed Statistics and did not get my university degree but went back in 2005 and finally passed it and got my degree.  I got a DNF in my first Triathlon but I am going to be there to try again...and again and again if I need to.

Everything we do is important and deserves to be treated as such so I have decided that 'just' and 'only' belong in the dictionary and not my vocabulary and DNF really means Did Not Fail...because I had the courage to start.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

This girl just wants to have fun

Well it was back to running training this week, the half marathon is getting closer so it's more miles on my legs, less on my wheels, anyway the bike was in the shop being fixed until Thursday.  I made up my LSD run on Monday, 14K and ran a quick wet 5K tempo on Tuesday. Yes I said wet, after a dry hot July, the first full  week of August was wet with 4 straight days of rain.  Today, Saturday, I joined a group of five other ladies for our 16K run, this would be the first time I did this distance and I was happy to get it over with.  Last Saturday I ran in sun and 40C temps and today it was overcast and 19C, it was a welcome change.

It was a fun group to run with, I had a great time and it reminded my what I love about my running clinic and how much I missed it. I did all my Tri training on my own and quite a few of my runs in the last few weeks were solo and I missed the fun of running with a group.  Since I do not have a traditional job, I do not get the daily interaction of colleagues and most of my human contact is on Facebook or by text.  In the 2 + hours it took us to run the 16K, we shared our week, running adventures, summer holiday plans and traded running advice.  I found out another runner writes 2 blogs and went to a convention for Bloggers, who knew there was such a thing.  I heard about the Graffiti Me 5K Run the day before the Army Run (still thinking about it) and a few of the ladies were doing it as a warm up to the half the next day.  Before I knew it we had run 16.5K and I survived, my longest distance to date and more important enjoyed it.  Today reminded me why I started to run in the first place and I thank my fabulous running buddies for that.  I now feel energized for the next 6 weeks of running...

Monday, 6 August 2012

If at first you don't succeed try a Tri again

So I attempted my first Triathlon this Saturday, it was a hot humid day and I was very worried I would not be able to complete it.  As it turns out, I was was fine, my bike was not.  My rear tired blew not once but twice and I got a DNF (did not finish) for the race.  The heat was a factor but so was faulty tires that are currently being replaced by the bike store I bought it from three weeks ago.  After 8 weeks of training it was a bit of a bummer but I did the best I could under the circumstances.  I did the swim and first leg of the bike on pace and  I did the run almost on pace, one min slower due to extra water stops.  I want to give a huge shout out to Bruce who rescued me not once but twice and gave me my first and second ride on a motorcycle, the guy from Pecco's bike shop who fixed my first flat and the kids and their hoes who sprayed me down twice and made the run bearable.  It was about 40C with humidex when I did the run at noon on Saturday, really really hot.  I will attempt a Triathlon again on Sept 1st, I will not give up until I succeed and I am totally hooked.

After a day off I got right back to training for my half marathon and my next tri with a 14K run today.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Never Give Up-When You Believe

By this time next week, I will have finished my first sprint triathlon, fingers crossed.  This has been a long hard 7 weeks, I am looking forward to it being done.  I have learned that you train to race, not race to train and race day is totally different.  Check you ego and expectations at the door, do the best you can and aim to finish, anything else is a bonus.  This is especially true for your first race at a new event or distance, whatever you do will be a PB so don't worry and have fun.    I am a recreational runner and triathlete (I hope) and that is good enough for me. I might never qualify for Boston or Kona, I might never finish first in my age group, I might even finish last (and probably will next week) and that is OK. As long as I enjoy the journey and my body can handle the training, I will keep going, slowly going forward to new events, new distances, new goals... I will never give up because I believe.

"When You Believe" Music & Lyrics by Ken Ward

It's a long road and we each must find our way
set our fears aside and take a chance
and so it goes, in every generation
it's the strong that rise above their circumstance

When you believe in your mind and in your heart
it's there and then you start to set your course
When you believe you hold on forever,
to the dream that sets you free and makes you soar
Eventually, you will your destiny, when you believe

And when the odds say you will fall, 
but you face that uncertainty
With unrelenting will so strong, 
you go where you've never gone
and in that moment a hero dawns, when you believe

Monday, 16 July 2012

Sleepless in the Summer

It's been a hot and humid summer, as my son put it -Satan called and wants his weather back.  Usually I love the heat and sun of the summer after our long cold winters but not this summer, now it means I have to get up at what a friend calls the crack of stupid to do my daily training.  I know it might be hot on race day so I do some of my workouts in the evening but my long slow run, cycle and my brick workouts, I try to do in the early morning.  Getting up at 5:30am so I can get something to eat before I head out to train is not my idea of fun.  Generally I am a morning person but I like to enjoy my coffee and ease into my day not rushing to lace up my shoes so I can get an hour+ workout done before it gets hot.  

This lack of sleep is effecting my productivity at work, which is a bad thing when you work for yourself.  My daily routine now includes an afternoon nap, no longer a nice treat but a daily necessity to survive my training schedule and life in general.  In three weeks I can cut back my training and hopefully get back to a more normal sleeping schedule, I really hope so as I am tired of being sleepless in the summer.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Run Neale Run

So on Sunday I was not running, I was watching others run and had a great time.  Neale was running the Boilermaker run in Utica NY, a 15K race and I was standing on the side lines cheering the runners on.  We did not know there was a 5K event but I embraced my job as official photographer and got to the finish line at 7am.  There was already a crowd to watch the 5k runners and it was not long before they showed up.  It's interesting watching people run, you see people running with ease and other struggling but they all have a story, a reason for running and a joy of running that is infectious.  I saw young kids and seniors all running together, mothers and sons, brothers, team mates and friends.  Some wore costumes and almost all wore a smile, it was fun.

Then came the wheelchair athletes, zooming by at great speed, some in custom chairs and a few in regular wheelchairs, that must have been a tough 15K race with all the hills on the course. Finally the elite 15K runner came by.  They are a sight to be seen, so graceful and elegant, I feel like an elephant when I run and they look like a gazelle. By this time it was quite hot and the runners where feeling it as they neared the finish line.  Some struggled by and some sprinted to the finish, determined to get a PB at all costs.  The crowd was there to cheer these athletes on, looking for their loved one or friend in the crowd, ready to cheer extra loud for them.  I was watching for Neale, camera in hand and managed to spot his bright orange hat as he turned the last corner, a big smile on his face.  He finished with a good time and felt good, a successful run for him.

After the run the party started, the run is sponsored by a local brewery and the beer flowed like water.  There was food, beer and music and 14000 happy runners and their families all ready to have a good time. Ottawa really needs to have a run like this, it was such a good time.  We are looking forward to going back next year and this time I will be ready to run the 15K and earn my finishers pin and beer...lots of beer.

"Watching the world's best compete fires you up to achieve your own feats of greatness. When it comes to running, participation and spectating go hand in hand." 
-Kara Goucher

Saturday, 30 June 2012

What does't kill you makes you stronger

So I am 5 weeks from my first triathlon and 12 weeks from my first half marathon and things are starting to hurt.  I am working out 6 days a week, twice a day most days.  Between the swimming, cycling, running and circuit training my body is taking quite a pounding.  I have bruises place I have never had them before, sitting down is an exercise in  torture and my feet look like a medical experiment with blisters, sore spots and damaged toe nails.  Gone are the days I had a nice pedicure and pretty feet, my feet in sandals are not a pretty sight.  We workout to make ourselves stronger and for our health, or so they tell us, but right now I have my doubts.  I am surprised that I am still going and I will admit, I will be happy on Aug 5th when I know I only have to run 4-5 days a week and this crazy workout schedule can stop.  I look at the elite athletes, these runners and triathletes and wonder how they manage to do this every day for years and keep going.  Right now I am happy to finish each day and know I am one day closer to my goal, I did sign up for this so now I have to suck it up and as Nike says JUST DO IT!

"Some of the greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible."
Doug Larsen

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Climb

So I have set a grueling training program for myself, between the triathlon and the half marathon I am working out seven days a week.  I know I cannot keep this up forever but I am hoping I can do so for the next six weeks.  I now feel confident I can at least finish my triathlon, a big step forward, but it will not be pretty. Ottawa gets really hot in the summer and usually I train inside on the really hot days but now I find myself outside, just in case it is 40C on race day.

Motivation is the key right now, keeping motivated that is.  It is hard to stay motivated and on target every day, I have good days and bad days but I am sticking with it for now.  Tonight as I write this I am  totally wiped out, nothing left to give, once again wondering why I do this to myself.  I search for motivation online in the form of cute signs and on You Tube in motivational videos made by others but nothing quite nailed it. Then I can across a song that spoke to that place in my heart that knows why I do it.

The Climb
I can almost see it
That dream I am dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head saying
"You'll never make it"

Every step I am taking
Every move I am make feels
Lost with no direction
My faith is shaking

But I gotta keep trying
Gotta keep my head held high

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna to make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I am going to have to lose

Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

This has not been a good week for me, too much to do, not enough time, to many demands and not enough sleep.  I have also let something creep back into my life I thought I had gotten rid of...FEAR.  FEAR, that four letter word that has ruined more dreams then it deserves to.  Along with its buddies, I can't and I'll fail, fear has been a terrible trio in my life.  They led me down the path to being overweight and a life of self doubt and unfinished dreams.  Three years ago I thought I put then away, in a place far, far away but they found their way back to the surface and are back with a vengeance.

I am always scared when I move up to a new running distance but I know I am ready and have faith in the new RR program.  I am always scared when I step on the scales and see extra pounds creep back on as I worked so hard to get them off but I know what to do to get them off again.  This is not that case right now and I am afraid.  For the first time in a long time I am afraid I might not finish an event, my triathlon and those 5 extra pounds that crept back on are stubbornly not coming off again.   

I can give in to fear and those 5 pounds will become 10 or more and I can give up, stop training, not risk failure and not do my triathlon.  I have struggled with this all week but a little voice in my head keep saying "What would you do if you knew you could not fail". All week the voice in my head keep getting louder and louder and yesterday I finally heard it, I mean really heard it and understood.  I have been here before and did not fail and I could do it again, and again, and again if needed.  One day at a time, one ride/swim/run at a time, one pound at a time, I can do it.  Like my new Nike T-shirt says "Every damn day, just do it!"

Tomorrow I head out for my 7K long run and start my new training and eating plan and I will succeed, I will feel the fear and do it anyway.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Nelson Mandela