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.