The trouble with racing ‘only’ 5K’s

There are many things I love about racing ‘shorter’ distances like 5K’s, 8K’s and 10K’s. I say ‘shorter’ because it seems everyone these days is training for a marathon or half marathon (not to mention those training for Half and full Ironmans!) These longer races are all amazing events and admirable goals to train for. I’ve been there and I’m sure I’ll come back to one or two. But these days they just require a bit too much time and structured training for my liking. You need to go with the flow of the stage you’re in, and right now my stage is “get everything done super quickly and efficiently and move on to the next thing” – which lends itself well to 5K training and racing.  So, to anyone who asks, I say I’m training for mostly 5K’s. However, I’ve discovered a serious flaw to my plan of “going with the flow” and jumping into 5K’s when they’re convenient. And that is that they never really are completely convenient and they often get re-prioritized! I have no one to blame for this but myself, but after a summer of saying I was racing 5K’s I only ended up starting two and finishing one (my DNF is another story…)

 

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Some non-regretted summer experiences I chose over racing a 5K

It does suit me right now to be flexible and to be able to re-prioritize on the go.  Imagine having to say ‘no’ to a kid’s birthday party (they come up more frequently than you’d think), or a bike ride excursion with kids and friends, an invite to a cottage or a camping weekend with the family, because “Mom’s racing a 5K this weekend”? I truly would not enjoy that – no matter how fast I ended up running. I keep myself fit enough that I could jump into a 5K on any weekend and be either pleasantly surprised (it did happen this Spring) or have a bad race and question my training and racing strategy (see DNF). I never know because my training is never focused on one particular race. Again, this generally suits  my life right now, but after a few missed 5K races for other things that came up (plus my DNF), I realized I wasn’t giving enough respect and commitment to my races because they were “just 5K’s”. For any of my longer distance races in the past – from Half Marathons and up, my weekends were blocked off and my family and social schedules adjusted. Why did I feel I could justify the prioritization for those races just because they’re longer? In fact, I’m one of those people who loudly defends the 5K as not ‘just’ a 5K, as it too is an Olympic event, and you would never say an Olympian runs ‘just’ the 5K. Focusing on going faster over a shorter distance is just as commendable as completing a longer distance.

So, I’ve learned a lesson. If I really do care about the results of a race, I will have to plan for it – regardless of distance. I now have a “season” of fall races penned in (thanks in large part to a new coach who is guiding me) and they are written in my calendar in pen. If a birthday party, a cool excursion or some other fun sounding option comes up, I will still prioritize my race. Plus, it’s only a 5K – it won’t take that long 😉

 

supporting your partner’s sport (even if it isn’t running)

My running friends and I, like most people, are all very busy, most of us with families, careers and other responsibilities. But we make the effort to carve out time for at least our 40-minute run fix. We appreciate an hour to run and and hour and a half is simply indulgent! Of course we’re nothing if not accommodating and flexible, so if we have to squeeze in our runs while our kids are playing soccer or at 5 a.m. before anyone’s up, then we’ll do it.

Some busy people fitting it in

Some busy people fitting it in

That’s the nice thing about running. It so easily fits with being an accommodating and flexible person. Now being sporty people, many of us also married sporty people. Unfortunately, even if their chosen sport was running when we met them (ahem!) most of them now do sports which take up more time and are less accommodating and flexible than running. Of course we love the fact that our guys and gals are jocks and do sports! Of course we value the mental and physical benefits they get from it! Yes, we know they never begrudge our running, so we are equally cheerful and supportive of their sports. A few examples:

After waking up at 5 a.m. to run before a full day of work and then picking up her kids at 6 p.m., my friend replied when I asked if she’d like to hang out and chat, “I can’t. Bill* is going out mountain biking in the trails tonight.” That is her husband’s sport: he wears ski gear and a head-lamp and bikes the trails for hours in the dark and freezing cold after work. So she hurried home to make dinner and get her kids to bed while thinking wonderful thoughts of how nice it was that Bill was getting active.

When I was meeting with friends at the track the other day, one of them mentioned in a concerned tone, “I think Tom* might be taking up the triathlon. I got home from work and the T.V. was on cartoons for the kids and I found his bike set up on the trainer.” Of course at the mention of triathlon there was a silent hush followed by sympathetic words of support – we all knew what this meant: three sports. But of course, we were all happy for her and her sporty husband.

a suspicious clue of spousal triathlon training

a suspicious clue of spousal triathlon training

As for myself, my husband paddle-boards (yes, even in winter.) And to improve his paddle-boarding he lifts weights and swims. He may as well be a triathlete. There are the weekend 5-hour paddles supported by weekday evening gym and pool sessions. On a typical weekend morning, I’ll get up early for a long run and as soon as I get back I take over with the kids while he heads off to paddle in the lake for the next 2-5 hours. And the whole time I’m thinking how nice it is to be married to someone who values his physical and mental well-being.

Just a little quirky

Just a little quirky

I have one friend who, I won’t lie, I envy slightly. As we met for our run last Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. I asked her what a typical distance her swimmer husband would train in a day. She replied, “Well, today he swam 5K”. I said, “You mean he’s going to swim 5K”. No. He was in the pool at 5 a.m. so she could head out for her run at 7:30. Again, we’re all happy, if slightly jealous of her.

The point is, regardless of your sport or your partner’s sport, it’s good to be supportive and happy for them, and grateful that they’re not just sitting down watching T.V. all day. So they may not all be runners, which is obviously the perfect ideal. At least they’re not golfers!

* Names have been changed to protect against judgement of non-runners

The Do’s and Don’ts of multi-tasking for busy runners

Like most runners, I have many obligations which I have to fit around my daily runs. I try to run in the early mornings so that I’m not taking from any other bucket, but that doesn’t seem to stop my unending need to multi-task in order to cram everything into my days. Through trial and error I’ve learned which tasks can be combined, and which cannot. I will share my list with you so that you too can be an efficient runner and don’t make the same errors I have in trying to combine the wrong activities.

Activities: Eating and showering.
Scenario: You’ve come in from a long run and need nourishment asap. You also have to be out the door to an event in 15 minutes. No time to re-fuel and shower, so why not combine them?
Result: Soggy food mixed with soap and hot water.
Status: Multi-tasking Don’t

Activities: Making dinner and doing squats and lunges.
Scenario: Everyone’s hungry but you haven’t done your strength training yet.
Result: Dinner is on time and you have thighs of steel.
Status: Multi-tasking Do

lunges in the kitchen

lunges in the kitchen

Activities: Blow-drying hair and talking on the phone.
Scenario: You’ve just taken over an hour of time to yourself by running and showering, and are about to head out to your next activity, but you owe a call to your friend/sister/aunt.
Result: One-way yelling conversation because you can’t hear and your hair ends up frizzy anyway because you couldn’t hold the brush and hairdryer and phone at the same time.
Status: Multi-tasking Don’t (you’ll have to text her from your event)

Activities: Going for a run and catching up with a friend.
Scenario: You’ve missed the last five group get-togethers with your girlfriends and you failed on catching up over the phone because you had to blow-dry your hair, so you schedule a run-chat date.
Result: Your run flies by and you have great one-on-one chatting time with your bud.
Status: Multi-tasking Do

running and bonding

running and bonding

Activities: Looking after kids and getting work done on a computer.
Scenario: The kids have a PA day but you have a deadline and think you may be able to get some work done while kids entertain themselves.
Result: You can’t focus because of shouting, unsupervised arts ‘n crafts has left you with a two-hour clean-up job and everyone’s climbing the walls.
Status: Multi-tasking Don’t

outcome after unsupervised arts 'n crafts

outcome after unsupervised arts ‘n crafts

Activities: Looking after kids and getting a workout in.
Scenario: You slept through your 5 a.m. alarm, it’s the same PA day and you have kids with you all day. This is the easiest one! Take them to a pool and sneak in some 30 second pool-run sprints, take them to a gym and do burpees while they throw balls, take them to an indoor court and play “chase” while doing wind-sprints.
Result: Kids are happy and tired out and you got some high-intensity cross-training in.
Status: Multi-tasking Do

running out all our beans in a contained space

running out all our beans in a contained space

With some creativity and an open mind, combining your to-do list really can allow you to fit everything in. Just make sure you get the combinations right – it can be either Win-Win or a giant fail!

Back to a schedule

I’m writing this on the last official day of summer vacation. Tomorrow my two kids are back to school and with that comes predictable schedules and routines. Although I’ve enjoyed and made the most of our unstructured time together this summer, my running is definitely ready for some re-commitment and a healthy dose of planning and structure.

Throughout the long days of summer we were relaxed about bed times and I often let my kids play outside until their usual school bedtime. The result was that everyone would sleep in (including me). If I got myself into a sleep deprived hole, there was no recovery and little enjoyment for anyone. During the day, my kids and I would decide on a whim whether to hop on our bikes to go to the pool, meet up with friends at a park, hit an amusement park, or just run some un-rushed errands together. We reconnected with old friends and family, and prioritized activities which everyone could do together, like hiking, windsurfing, cycling, swimming or just hanging out together. Running seemed to become a little less of a priority to me and it was a little harder to make sure all of my workouts and long runs stayed on schedule.

Here are some things I prioritized over running:

Bumper cars
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Catching butterflies
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Late night circus show
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Tubing
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Windsurfing
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Paddling
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Exploring
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I was aware this was happening, but instead of fighting it I decided to go with the flow. Yes, running routines thrive under structure, and I’m sure the elites don’t let loose-ended days and spontaneity get in the way of their training. But I’m old enough to appreciate the fleeting nature of summer, and my kids are young enough that I know this phase together will not last much longer. So I ran as much and as hard as I could without imposing my schedule on others and without losing the free-flowing nature of summer.

Now we’re back to reality with schedules, bed-times, wake-up times, planned activities, and responsibilities. For this to work with my running I must cling to a tightly imposed schedule – and I do. I actually don’t mind it at all – it’s the only way to make it all work. So I welcome fall and the return to structured activities, but I do not regret for a second the training I missed throughout the summer.

Back to basics

When I started running in high school I didn’t own much gear. The running market was not geared at all towards high school girls. I would wear a pair of running shoes and that’s about the only running-specific gear I had. I wore cotton sweatpants, a cotton t-shirt and if it was cool a sweatshirt. Often I wore a baseball cap backwards (because I thought I looked dumb in a ponytail.) In the summer I would go for runs wearing boys’ boxer shorts. Sometimes I think back to those times when gear didn’t matter with a sense of nostalgia. What I remember most however, is how little I worried about pace per mile or even exact times or distances. Often I would just look at the kitchen clock before heading out and then again when I returned and I’d have a rough calculation of the amount of time I’d spent running. At some point I must have gotten a digital watch, as I started training and knew I had to go for 30 or 40 minute runs. But I never knew my pace or translated my time into distance. I ran for the allotted time at the pace I felt comfortable.

My high-school running look

My high-school running look

I continued to train this way throughout my university years and beyond. At some point I stopped wearing boys’ boxer shorts and a hat on backwards to run, but I never had more than a digital watch. That’s probably because they didn’t make GPS watches then, but I was pretty relaxed about letting my body dictate my pace. Tempos, fartleks, long runs and easy runs were all done based on perceived effort and I estimated my distance covered based on time. With this type of training I achieved Personal Best times in the 1500 m, 5K, 10K, Marathon and Ironman.

A few years ago I was given a GPS watch which allowed me to monitor my exact pace and distance as I ran. What a different experience. I stopped trusting my body and instead allowed my watch to tell me whether I should speed up, slow down, stop or keep going. Sometimes this gave me a boost in confidence, but other times it was an added stress: was I slowing down? How much did I have to pick-it up on the downhill to average my reduced pace from the uphill? exactly how many more kilometers did I have to go at this pace? how many more loops around the block so I could stop at an even 10K instead of 9.78K? But the knowledge was addictive. Continual feedback kept me informed of exactly how I was doing on every single kilometer and uploading my results on the computer was satisfying. Suddenly I was looking down at my watch all the time just to make sure I was on track. Then one day the battery wasn’t charged and I went for a run with my old digital standby. I felt relieved. I wasn’t letting my watch dictate my pace – I just ran as I felt. I haven’t worn my GPS watch since.

My GPS watch on one of its last days with me

My GPS watch on one of its last days with me

The other day I went for a run without even using my digital watch. Imagine! I vaguely knew the route I would take, although I adjusted it a few times on the go. As I ran my mind wandered as I alternately daydreamed and worked out problems in my head. Suddenly I found myself at the end of my run. I had no recollection of which route I’d taken and had no idea how long I’d been running for. All I know is that I ran somewhere between five and eight kilometers. It was like I headed out for a run, fell asleep, woke up and was done!

My old staple which I may or may not even look at when running

My old staple which I may or may not even look at when running

I’m back to where I started in high school as a runner, just trusting my body and mind and going by feel. When it’s time to push myself, I push myself and when it’s time to recover and run slowly, I do that. The exact measurements don’t matter to me and my race performances haven’t suffered. If anything I’m running stronger as I’m a little more in-tune with my body. I don’t think I’ll go back to cotton sweatpants though. Some changes are for the better.

Running while hurdling the small obstacle of having kids

Most runners I know are resilient, optimistic people who don’t back away from a challenge. Whether they became this way because they are runners, or became runners because of these traits, I’m not sure. What I do know is that although we may like to complain the odd time (like in training through this winter – OH MY GOD!), we very rarely allow an obstacle to prevent us from running long-term. This includes the “obstacle” of having kids. Yes, they make it less convenient, but if you manage your expectations and your energy, it is entirely possible to keep up your running regimen with small people in the house. Being a competitive runner, mom of a four and six-year old and a business owner, I consider myself to be in the trenches of trying to make it all work. If you have small kids and are considering taking up running, or are a runner and are considering having kids, here are a few gleanings I’ve gained and will share so that you can be prepared when the time comes.

1. Always leave yourself a tiny bit of energy after every workout for your post-workout workout. It is not wise to run yourself into a comatose pulp, as I learned last Saturday. I had just come in from a 20 mile run in deep snow and freezing winds to two kids who had been sitting inside for the past three hours and needed fresh air and exercise. So instead of spending the rest of the day napping and reading, I spent an hour on the toboggan hill and then another two at the outdoor skating rink. While this may sound exhausting, you’ll soon find it is less tiresome than pretending to nap while WWIII erupts around you. Suck it up and go and your post-workout-workout beer will be even better deserved.

Trying to tire them out post 20-miler so we can all finally nap!

Trying to tire them out post 20-miler so we can all finally nap!

2. Don’t be surprised when your kids get all competitive and throw your “running speak” back at you. My six-year old challenged me to a skating race the other day. I was cruising along beside him when suddenly he took off for the finish catching me off guard. “Mum, I sat and kicked”. Of course. Next time I’ll remember to box him in going around the last turn.

One kicking for the finish while the other two don't know they're racing

One kicking for the finish (the other two may not know they’re in a race)

3. Be prepared to have to buy a lot of food. This applies if you’re a runner or if you have kids, so if you are in both situations you just go through a LOT of food. Somehow I’m still shocked when I notice we’ve gone through the two loaves of bread, two litres of milk and bunch of bananas I bought three days ago. Sometimes it’s just survival of the fittest. Running makes you hungry, and there are times when you’ll have to sneak the last granola bar and hide it from your kids. Just remember that they have a keen sense of smell – like hyenas, really – so don’t talk too closely to them when you’ve just finished it or all hell will break loose.

Down to our last 4 boxes of granola bars - time to go shopping!

Down to our last 4 boxes of granola bars – time to go shopping!

4. You should invest in a heavy duty washing machine. I’ve blogged about the laundry requirements of winter runners before, and if you add kids to the equation it is almost impossible to keep up. If you’re in potty-training mode, god help you. You’ll just have to get used to the piles sitting around your house. Try to think of them as modern art so as not to feel constantly behind.

Will somebody PLEASE fold this?

Will somebody PLEASE fold this?

5. Try your hardest to coordinate sleep schedules. This is a must for me. I love my sleep. I try (with varied success) to get everyone to bed early. Warning: kids who go to be early wake up early. Therefore so will you. If they go to bed late they may sleep in, so if that works for your schedule and you can sleep in as well, great. But if your kids don’t go to bed until 10 p.m. and you have a 5 a.m. run scheduled you will be short-changed. I have no idea what happens when they turn into teenagers. Stay tuned – I’ll blog about that in ten years.

If this is happening at 9 pm, you're probably not going to be asleep by 9:30.

If this is happening at 9 pm, you’re probably not going to be asleep by 9:30.

None of these things are game-stoppers in terms of preventing you from running. They are just small additional obstacles, but you’re a runner – you love a challenge. If you manage your expectations properly, running and having small kids can be a delightful combination. Good luck and enjoy!

Resolutions

‘Tis the season to take a look at ourselves and decide what we’d like to change or improve for the coming year. I have many many areas where I can improve, but I think it’s wise to choose resolutions which are realistic and measurable. Here are some things which I plan to do but are not resolutions: set business and running goals and work towards them based on yearly, monthly and weekly plans. These are not resolutions; these are goals, and I how I move forward in life. (for the record, my current running goal is to run the Around The Bay 30K in a personal best time of under 1:57:30).
To me, resolutions are about making a decision to change something. My resolution this year is to work on an area which I know has been part of my character for a long time. This is my absolute lack of culinary diversity.
I was reminded of this trait a while ago when a friend was recounting a time when I happened to be living in a tent in the Yukon (1996 to be exact), and she happened to be tree-planting a few hundred kilometers south of me, and came to visit me on one of her breaks. She somehow found my tent after a day or two of travel (this was before we all had cell phones or even email) and asked:”Do you have anything to eat?” I produced from my tent what had been sustaining me for weeks: puffed rice cereal and canned beans. Granted, that is not what I would find appetizing these days, but the premise is the same. I find the few ingredients which I know I like and think will work for me, and I don’t branch out.
I was reminded of this again recently when my mother was feeding dinner to my kids. She served them their dinner and they looked at their plate and said “what is that?” My mother stared at them and then gave me a funny look and said “potatoes.” Right, I guess I’ve forgotten to include potatoes in my rotation.

unrecognizable food item for my kids

unrecognizable food item to my kids


What I would like to do most is broaden my vegetable repertoire. Here is a list of the vegetables I regularly buy, prepare, eat and feed my family: carrots, broccoli, cucumber, cauliflower, mushrooms, yellow pepper, onion, celery, snow-peas and sometimes frozen spinach. Nothing else – ever. The other day while grocery shopping my son wanted to buy a Chinese cabbage. Strange, I thought, but maybe it would break me out of my rut. So I bought it thinking if I had it I would eat it. But the poor sad cabbage sat in my fridge looking more and more wilted until my husband finally threw it in the green bin (lucky raccoons).
Chinese cabbage in fresher times

Chinese cabbage in fresher times


I’m sure there are other vegetables out there which I can create into some sort of dish which breaks me out of my rut. I have heard of a popular thing out there called kale. I’ve never tried it, as I don’t even know what it looks like, but it will factor into my resolution. Also: parsnips, bok choy, eggplant, zucchini, lettuce (I know, I know), tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, squash, rutabaga (I don’t know what this looks like either, but it sounds exotic). I’m sure I’m missing some vegetables, but that’s pretty much all I can think of and I think it’s a good start. I’ve already come a long way from puffed-rice and canned beans. Onward to 2014!

Learning to love winter thanks to some great role models

I’ll be the first to say that as a dedicated runner who likes to train to compete at my best, the winter months have not typically been my favourite. Everything from tempo runs to long runs to intervals are just that much more difficult and uncomfortable when you’re struggling with icy footing, multiple layers of clothing, frostbitten skin that you forgot to cover and numb fingers which can’t press the buttons on your watch. However, I realize, it being only December, that we’re in for a fairly long winter, and if I don’t learn to love the snow and ice I’m destined for some frustrating months ahead. So I’ve decided to re-frame my attitude. Instead of pining for warm summer days or wishing I lived in California, I am going to enjoy this – even if it kills me! To start, I am taking a lesson from my family members.

My husband’s sport is water based. Here is a shot of him in his ideal conditions:

Hawaiian ocean in the summer

Hawaiian Ocean in the summer

This is what his playground looks like these days:

Lake Ontario in December

Lake Ontario in December

But he doesn’t complain. He goes out and enjoys his sport.

Getting in and out can be a bit tricky, but after that it's a breeze!

getting in and out are the tricky parts

Then there are my kids. To them, winter is “the most fun season of the year” (that is actually a direct quote from my 6 year-old yesterday).

Walking to school is never boring. There is always a new adventure in scaling various snowbanks.

walking to school via snowbanks instead of shoveled sidewalks

walking to school via snowbanks instead of shoveled sidewalks

And now their weekends are spent doing this:

skating outdoors

skating outdoors

And this:

tobogganning!

tobogganning!

Obviously my family members have no problem getting out and enjoying themselves in this weather, so I am determined to have as much fun as anyone. It’s all about how you look at it.

So this will be my playground for the next few months, and I will appreciate the beauty and stillness, I won’t worry about my pace or times, and I’ll reap the benefits of stronger legs for bounding through snow.

My snowy running trail

My snowy running trail

Here’s to playing outside this winter!

My time saving superpower

I often recall a friend of mine in University telling me that she always ran between classes on campus. Yes, she was a runner, but that wasn’t why she did it. “Why would you walk?” she asked, “Don’t you want to get there sooner?” Good point. I found myself following the same train of logic whenever I drove (I mean really, I still do not understand people who drive the speed limit – aren’t you trying to get somewhere??) but I hadn’t yet applied it to my transportation by foot.

Now it is a different story. A few too many speeding tickets have led me to restrain myself behind the wheel. However, I always seem to be in a rush and am fitting in one last thing before I head out the door. The result of this is that when I am “walking” somewhere, I always want to get there faster, so I often find my fast walk turning into a run. It doesn’t matter that I’m wearing street clothes and carrying a purse. I’m comfortable running, and I would rather not be late, so I run. I know it may look strange, but I now wonder why more people don’t do it. I mean, if you’re a runner, you have this superpower of being able to get places more quickly. The only problem is that it becomes addictive. Once I’ve made it to a certain destination in, say, ten minutes, I will only ever give myself ten minutes to get there. So if I’ve run there once, I will always have to run if I want to be on time. I am not sure why I do this to myself – I just cannot seem to give myself a time buffer. So I am now destined to run to my dentist and hair appointments, run to pick up my kids from school, run to the restaurant to meet my friends, etc…

Since I am now an expert, I will share with you a few tricks to running in your street clothes.

Depending on the distance, footwear can really be a factor. I don’t recommend running more than a few blocks in heels (I’ve done it while pushing a stroller and although it may garner sympathetic looks from passers-by, it can also induce painful toes).

I would kick butt in this race

I would kick butt in this race

If you have a hand-bag, make sure it is closed. Knapsacks are the best, but purses are fine. Just make sure the strap is crossed over your shoulder.

Keep your pace conservative. All out sprinting will invoke suspicious looks. A gentle jog is really all you need to get you to your destination up to 50% faster.

Make sure you’re wearing deodorant or have some on hand. You may not think of it when going for a normal run, but it is crucial for when you run in street clothes.

If your destination is far away, take walking breaks. Stop and compose yourself every now and then – you don’t want to look like a disheveled sweaty mess.

Make sure you stop and walk at least fifty meters from your destination. Catch your breath, straighten your clothes, then breeze in the door gracefully. No one will be any the wiser and you will have used your running superpowers to save yourself your most precious resource: time.

Rachel McAdams - showing how it's done

Rachel McAdams – showing how it’s done

Do you speak in miles or kilometers?

I recently realized that I have a first language when it comes to understanding running, and I’m very weak in my second language. My first language is in miles and my weaker language is in kilometers.

I developed as a runner with a sense of pace and what various distances meant (in terms of runs and weekly mileage) at University. While there, we all spoke the same language: Miles. We talked about pace in minutes per mile and we tallied up our daily and weekly mileage in miles. Over those four years and beyond, I only ever thought in those terms and understood inherently what each number represented. I liken it to understanding temperature in Celsius as opposed to Fahrenheit. If you tell me it’s 14C out and I need to run 8 miles at 7:30/mile pace, I get it. If you tell me it’s 57F and I need to run 12 km at 4:39/km I have to enter all the calculations online and do the conversions (which I just did) in order to understand.

Normally I don’t have a problem with not being bilingual in my running. I’ve become fairly good at doing conversions in my head so that I can understand people who are speaking in kilometers. However, recently I miscalculated. You see my coach provides my training schedule in kilometers. Every day I read what I’m supposed to do in kilometers, I go out and run it in miles, and then I report back in kilometers. You’d think I’d adapt, and so would I, but I always tend to revert back to my first language. The other day I had a long run to do of max 24 kilometers. No problem. Quick calculations in my head: 6 x 4 = 24, 8 x 3 = 24, 6 x 3 = 18 ; therefore I should run 18 miles. (I actually have no idea how I came up with 18 miles when it should have been 15 – it was Saturday morning – give me a break!)

On top of my miscalculation, my GPS watch (which by the way, also records my distance in miles) was not linking up because it was raining, so I set out on an estimation of distance. At about what I figured was 11 miles, I thought to myself, “wow, 7 miles to go. I’m usually so close to home at this point!” But I was feeling good, so off I set on another 7 mile loop. It was in the middle of this loop that it dawned on me (when you’re running for 2+ hours you have time to think about simple math problems): “24 kilometers is only 15 miles!” By that point I was committed however. In reviewing my route it turned out that I actually ran 19 miles (30.5 kilometers, for the record).

They say the best time to learn a new language is when you’re young, which unfortunately I am no longer. I may pick up on running in kilometers one day, but for now I think I’d rather brush up on my math.