Going public with my goals

I go through varied phases in running where sometimes I need a racing goal and sometimes I don’t. I’ve just come out of a long phase of running with no specific racing goal in mind. As often happens, I just got the “racing bug” again and want to see how fast I really can go if I train with one goal race in mind. So that is what I am doing, and I’m going to do something differently this time: I’m giving myself a goal-time and I’m going to tell people what it is.

For some reason, I haven’t often done this. It is hard to state a goal – to yourself or publicly. It makes it real, and if it’s a hard goal, that can make it stressful. I could just train, and then show up at the start line and say “well, I’ll just see what happens”. In fact I’ve done this a lot. However, this gives my training a bit of a lack of specific purpose, not to mention, it’s hard to know when I should be happy with a race result and when I shouldn’t. For example, I came across a typical log entry from my training log from 2000:

"race - Docks 5km - 17:48 -okay"

“race – Docks 5km – 17:48 -okay”

Was I happy with that result? It’s hard to tell from my entry and I have no idea what I was aiming for.

Here’s one from 2002:

"Scotiabank 1/2 Mar 1:22 - okay - not feeling great"

“Scotiabank 1/2 Mar 1:22 – okay – not feeling great”

Again, I had no goal stated, so I had no idea whether to be satisfied with the result or not.

Fast-forward thirteen years, and the wiser me knows that whether it is in running, my career, my personal life or simply accomplishing daily tasks, I am way more likely to succeed if I have a goal, write it down, and tell it to others.

There are a few reasons for this:

1. Knowing your goal helps you to direct your energy. It is possible to work extremely hard, but if it’s not moving you towards your goal it could be effort wasted.
2. Telling it to others gives people in your life the opportunity to help you towards your goals, or remove obstacles which might stand in your way. If friends and family know and support your running goals, they’re more likely to say “I’ll watch the kids while you get your run in” than “come on, stay and have another beer”.
3. Once your goal is written down, you can’t constantly modify it on the fly or push it to an undefined time in the future. Yes, it brings on a bit of stress and nervous butterflies, but that’s how you improve.
4. You will know when you’ve achieved it. If you have, you can celebrate along with everyone who supported you along the way, and start looking forward to new challenges.

Now the toughest part: potential failure. What if you don’t reach your goal? And everyone knows? I think this is what has held me back from being specific about my goals in the past: fear of failure. It is always a possibility. I think the best thing you can take from failure is to actually recognize that you didn’t reach your goal so that you can re-evaluate and refine either your process (ie. add more speed-work) or your goal itself (ie. time to look at masters’ times rather than PB’s when you were 20!)

The bottom line: if you’re a results-oriented person, having a specific goal, committing to it by sharing it with others and working towards it is a process which will lead you to improve – whether you attain it every time or not.

So here we go:

My goal race is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon. My goal time is 1:21.

Wish me luck!

The training benefits of running with a running stroller

I was motivated to write about this topic because my younger sister has just entered the stage of being able to (needing to?) run with her baby in a running stroller.  Until now, he has been too little, and she has been going to the gym or finding someone to watch him while she runs.  But the time has come, and she has realized as most running moms do, that time is her most valuable resource, and in order to maximize her available time and opportunity to run, it works best to just bring her baby along with her.

(my inspiration for this post – cooling off post-run.  How cute is he??)

As with many stages gone by, I may be romanticizing how great it was to run with my kids in the stroller, but if you’re begrudging not being able to run alone, just remember;  like everything else, it’s just a stage.  Meanwhile, take advantage of the fantastic training opportunities, as running with your baby can add some great spontaneous training benefits to your running routine.  Some examples:

Tempo Runs:  I can recall like it was yesterday one of my earlier stroller runs with my first born.  He was new to it, and generally liked to be held better than being in the stroller.   He fussed a bit at the beginning but at the halfway point he started to FREAK OUT!  There was not much I could do other than sprint home for 20 minutes with a shrieking baby.  This will happen to most stroller runners at some point for some reason or another.  It is not relaxing, but boy it gets your legs moving!  (try to ignore the judging stares of people as you fly by)

Long Runs:  Later on both of my kids found the running stroller relaxing, and if I timed it right I could use it for one of their naps.  However, it was always the case that if I stopped for a prolonged period, they would wake up.  If I wanted them to have a good long nap, I had to keep moving.  This resulted in some unplanned extra-long runs, especially if they fell asleep near the end of the run.  I recall doing loops around blocks in my neighbourhood with a sleeping baby trying to decide whether I’d rather be exhausted from an extra-long run or deal with a cranky under-rested baby.  I usually erred on the side of running longer.  (just make sure to go to the bathroom before you head out as there is no stopping!)

Strength work:  Really anytime you’re pushing that thing it’s working your arms.  I have tried many different techniques to avoid working my arms too much, but it always ends up being a good upper body workout whether you like it or not.    If you really want to maximize the strength benefits, find a good hill and do some repeats – just remember to hold on tight and keep that leash on your arm for the downhill part – you don’t need to incorporate sprint training into this workout day.

Fartleks:  This type of run happens quite a lot with a baby who is not asleep.  Here is a typical stroller fartlek run:  Start running with your baby.  Baby kicks a shoe  out of stroller.  Stop to pick it up.  Start running again.  Baby needs help getting his snack out of the container.  Stop to help him.  Start running again.  Baby’s hat has fallen over his eyes and he can’t fix it.  Stop to readjust it.  Start running again.  Baby’s drink has fallen just out of reach.  Stop and retrieve it for him.  Start running again.  This cycle can repeat itself endlessly for your entire run.  Just remember to run as fast as you can between stops and you’ll get some great random intervals of work and recovery.

So enjoy this phase and the training benefits it brings.  It’s like having a little coach there with you all the time.  Just be open minded and flexible about the prescribed workout for the day – you never know what the coach has up his sleeve!

Tapering (or… I Am Slowly Going Crazy)

I know – I’ve been looking forward to tapering for a while now.  Especially during freezing cold long runs and icy intervals.  However, I like to complain, so here are some things which have me going a bit bonkers in preparation for my upcoming marathon this weekend:

  • Not having a big challenge ahead in my runs makes it harder (for me) to “get up” for them.  For some reason I can get excited and focused if I have a tough 10 miler scheduled.  If I’m just putting in 5 miles I find it really hard to stay motivated to even go out.
  • I’m supposed to start feeling good and fresh for having taken down the mileage, but I started my first taper week (last week) in utter exhaustion which was unexplainable based on my reduced training.  I really should start adding things like “rushed from work to take two kids to the doctor on orders of daycare because of an unexplained rash which turned out to be dry skin – made it home 3 hours later and husband was away on business so had a glass of wine to calm myself down after I’d finally gotten everyone to bed” to my training log to give a fuller picture. Too much effort though.
  • I’m hyper aware of every little niggly injury or pain, and in fact they seem to be getting worse.  I am familiar with this phenomenon, and I even warn people I coach about it – I’m not sure of the real scientific reasoning, but I’ve always believed it has to do with your body finally having the energy to address the injuries and so they’re getting better.  How to account for my sudden lower-back pain and tightness though???  I know – lifting kids into and out of things who really should be doing it themselves, but I’m always in a rush.  Still, why right now???
  • Questioning and second-guessing my fitness.  I have to go back and read my logs to remind myself that I’ve done the work.

(Yes, I’m still that old-school with my logs)

  • I use running as more than a means to a racing goal – it is my everyday therapy.  Without the same amount of “me time” (because let’s be honest – I’m not waking up at 5 a.m. to replace running with anything else) I’m way more irritable, jumpy and way less zen about pretty much everything.
  • I feel fat.  There, I said it.  I know I need to build up my carbohydrate stores and that my muscles store two grams of water for every gram of carbohydrate.  I will rely desperately on these stores at mile 20 or so of the marathon.  However right now, as I eat as much as usual and burn off less than half, I feel like a blob.  A globby blob.
  • See?  Crazy.  Three more days.  Then I can see if this has all paid off.  And you can bet that the week after the race I won’t feel like running a step and I won’t have all of these weird psychologies at play.  Good Grief – bring it on and release me from this torture!!!

Top 10 (ish) Reasons to Love Running in the Snow (or Sleet)

“HURRAY!” I thought to myself last night as the snow started to pile up.  Another chance to take advantage of the great benefits of running in the snow.

1.  You burn more calories side-stepping and leaping over monster ice water trenches (like the one below)

2.  You burn even more calories trying to maintain core body temps once you don’t make it over one of these three-footers

3.  Cross training!  A great chance to work on your lateral stabilizing muscles while trying to maintain upright balance

4.  A chance to have the weather compliment your melancholy running playlist.  “Let Down” by Radiohead just doesn’t feel right on a bright sunny day

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Z_NvVMUcG8]

5.  Mental Toughness.  This is a hard one to plan into your everyday training schedule, but when the weather offers it – jump at the training opportunity!  Just think how easy the last few kilometers of your race will seem in dry shoes and even footing (unless you’re racing the Chilly Half this weekend…. Good on ya rockstars!)

Chilly Half Marathon and 10K

6.  Bragging rights.  Seriously.  Your colleagues will respect you.  They won’t roll their eyes and call you crazy behind your back.

7.  You can still drink hot chocolate instead of sports drink after your runs.  Which is a huge benefit because for some reason Baileys never works as well with orange Gatorade.

8.  Ummm…. Free showers from every car that passes you?

9.  Ok, I’m struggling here…

10.  Please don’t ask me if I ran today.  I will now return to feeling sorry for myself for having to train in this and cursing the weather.  Thanks for indulging me.

Playing at Running

One of the things I like about tapering is the letting go of my strict regime of miles and intensity – where every run is planned out and has a distinct purpose, and where there is definitely no running in between formal “run sessions”.  I actually remember a time in my “olden days” of training when I could do miles of hard intervals, but couldn’t run for a bus without hobbling as I needed 15 minutes of specific warming-up to get my tired, achy body going (I was in the best shape of my life – ha!)

With two weeks to go until my marathon, I’ve taken all mileage pressure off and will do one mini-interval workout and a small tempo or two before race day.  I know that less is more at this point.  Which leads me to what I can actually do with my running fitness when I’m not exhausted from running!

On the weekend I decided to run around the indoor track and do various drills and strides just to shake things up while my son played soccer on the infield.  Soccer was a bust for him (a bit shy) so I suggested he run with me which he LOVED and so did I!  I don’t even know how many laps we did because I wasn’t counting – we were just having fun.

Other ways I “play” at running:

  • leave my watch at home and disregard pace and distance
  • make a running date with a new (or pregnant!) runner purely for the conversation and let them dictate pace and distance
  • “run” with my kids.  This could turn into anything, really, but if I’m wearing running shoes and tell myself it’s my “run” I’m way less likely to feel begrudged by having to look up from my magazine and move my butt off the park bench when I’m called into action

In university we used to play at running in other ways.  One of the most famous was the Beer Mile .  Chug a beer, run a lap (400 m) x 4.  I became quite good and somehow still own the women’s world record.  And NO, that’s not how I play now.  I’m retired from that.  At least until I have to re-set a winning record – it’s been safe for over 15 years.

There was also an event called “the naked run”.  Nothing more to comment on about that and sorry – no pictures.

Bottom line: after all the time you’ve put into training, it’s good to enjoy your fitness and find ways to have fun with it other than just proving yourself in a race.  And if you just can’t quell your competitive instincts, fine – win on the dance floor.  We’ve all been there!

Have fun 🙂

Running and Pregnancy

This post is timely for me.  NO!  I’m not pregnant.  But my younger sister and two of my good running friends are.  Very.  My sister is due in a week (Yay! can’t wait) and my friends are both due end of March/early April (also very excited).  And since they are all runners, I thought I’d check in to see how they’ve been making the transition from breezy, gazelle-like runs to increasingly awkward and sometimes humiliating waddles (I know – I’ve been there).

Although I’ve run through two pregnancies, I somehow don’t remember many details (protection mechanism?) so I am profiling these experiences.  One thing I do remember though is that there was very little literature out there on how much or how hard to run.  I sort of went by feel, but erred on the side of caution.  I now think I probably could have pushed it a bit more, especially after seeing Paula Radcliffe’s example!

She ran 14 miles a day and at five months replaced her second daily run with a cross-training session.  Ok, a bit (!) extreme.

Here is a good article on running and pregnancy Running and Pregnancy by Alex Hutchinson. 

Synopsis: running up to 90% max heart rate is fine.  Above that, of the pregnant women who went to their max, 1/3 had some fetal reaction (slower heart rate and blood flow) for a short period of time, but no long-lasting effects.

So basically girls, run as much and as hard as you feel is comfortable.  I assure you, over 90% of your heart rate will NOT feel comfortable, so you’re safe.  (If you’re a Norwegian Olympic cross-country skier, maybe tone it down a bit for the next few months).

So here are our Real Life Subjects to give us some insight into their experiences: (PS: how cute are those bellies??)

Lizzy B at 33 weeks – first pregnancy

Airlie at 37 weeks – first pregnancy

Suzy G at 34 weeks – third pregnancy, fourth kid!  (this is not her actual stroller, but how I picture her running)

Airlie                                                                                                                     

I’ve been running fairly regularly throughout my pregnancy with no troubles or injuries thus far. Of course, I’ve slowed down A LOT and I don’t go nearly the distance.  I’m now 37 weeks and I might have a c-section at 39 weeks.  I’m hoping to “run” (and I just that term very loosely) up to the end.  My question is, what is the recommended or average recovery time post c-section if all goes well?  (RW: six weeks) And do you think recovery will be faster/easier since I’m in fairly good shape, or does that not make a difference? (RW: definitely helps recovery to be in good shape – see Suzy G below)

This is me at 37 weeks heading out for a “wee jog” (above).  My husband says that I’m not a normal human and that neither are my sisters because we’re all runners that do crazy things like get up at 4:30 in the morning to do intervals in -15 degrees, and go for runs at 37 weeks at -15 with a very sore rib from the baby pushing its head against it.  I think I’m normal, but apparently my “measuring rod” is skewed.  Oh well, it’s been keeping me sane.  I’m also still going to the gym and lifting weights (albeit, very light weights, but weights nonetheless).  Up until about 34/35 weeks I had the energy to run probably five times a week and do weights maybe two to three times a week.  These last few weeks have been more difficult though, maybe because the baby flipped around and is now in the wrong position.  I’m now down to about two to three runs a week at best, though I’m trying to supplement with Spin classes.

Apparently working out is really good for the baby’s heart, so I’m hoping that my husband will come to his senses and see that I’m doing all this selflessly for the health of our baby, and that I’m not crazy, just a very dedicated mum 🙂

Lizzy B

RW: What is your running/racing background?

LB: I ran competitively in high school and then at U of T. During that time, my pbs were 2:16 (800m), 4:34 (1500m), and 9:53 (3000m). I was a part of U of T’s CIS championship women’s X-C team in 2002. While I was in grad school, I tried my hand at some longer distances and ran a 1:23 half marathon and 3:04 marathon. Since then I’ve struggled with various injuries and mostly run to keep in shape.

RW: how much running were you doing before you got pregnant?

LB: I was running about four times a week, usually five to seven miles at a time. Because of injuries, I was cross training a lot – swimming, rock climbing, and doing a “boot camp” class three times a week.

RW:  How did your running change once you realized you were pregnant?  Did you decide to keep running throughout? Why or why not?

LB: I ran up until I was 33 weeks along. I really wanted to stay in shape while pregnant, for my own sanity, for the health of my baby, and to make recovery after birth easier, ideally. I decided to stop because I was just getting too uncomfortable – the pressure on my bladder was bad throughout, but was getting worse – and because I was feeling a little off-balance and was worried about falling. I switched to the elliptical and walking, and continued with my boot camp classes.

RW: Did you have any questions on running and pregnancy which you felt you couldn’t find enough good information to answer?

LB: At times I wondered if all the pressure I felt on my bladder was causing any damage. I asked my midwives and they seemed to think it was fine, but advised me to stop if I felt uncomfortable. But “uncomfortable” was sort of relative…most of my pregnancy, running was a bit uncomfortable, but I felt good enough afterwards that I could put up with the discomfort. I found a fair amount of information online, though.

RW: How have you found running through pregnancy and how has it change throughout the trimesters?

LB: In my first trimester, I was lucky to avoid morning sickness for the most part, other than a bit of nausea here and there. I was really fatigued, but I mostly managed to continue running without noticing a huge difference in how I felt. By the beginning of the second trimester, I was already feeling the pressure on my bladder. I slowed down, too, both because I was feeling a bit more winded and because I just wanted to take it easy. (I stopped trying to keep up with my husband on runs!) During the third trimester, I started having some shin splints, probably due to the added weight. Despite all these complaints, I had some days where I felt pretty good, and knowing that I was staying active was empowering.

RW: Any big surprises or has running throughout basically played out as you’d expected?

LB: I thought I’d feel uncomfortable from the added weight, but I didn’t really expect some of the other aches and pains.

RW: Any good insights to others who may go through the same experience?

LB: Having friends who I knew had run through their pregnancies helped to normalize it for me – a lot of my non-running friends thought it was crazy or dangerous, so it was good to have the perspective from those who had been there. I think the cliché “listen to your body” really does apply. I wasn’t always the best at doing this, but in general, I set my expectations pretty low. Having battled injuries for so many of the past few years already, it wasn’t too hard to do! I wore a maternity belt (the Gabrialla belt) starting in the second trimester. I think it helped with round ligament pain a bit, but I can’t say for sure…

RW: Any other anecdotes/experiences you want to share?

LB: I have to admit to taking some pleasure in passing people while running with a big belly! I can’t say it happened that often, but when it did, it gave me a little boost. I guess the competitive spirit lives on! Soon I’ll be entering my toddler in road races…

Suzy G
RW: what is your running/racing background?

SG: Half-marathon PB: 1:23.23; Most recent 5K in 2008 was 18:45 on the track; Highlight of my running career: Being part of the winning CIS women’s X-C team at University of Toronto in 2002.

RW: how much running were you doing before you got pregnant?

SG: Before I got pregnant in 2009 I was running six days a week with coach Steve Boyd: a mix of workouts and long runs. Memorable workouts include 2×20 min (hard) tempo runs and intense 1 km intervals on trails.

RW: how did your running change once you realized you were pregnant? Did you decide to keep running throughout? Why or why not?

SG: I kept running while I was pregnant in 2009 for about two months (some indoor track workouts, some fairly easy group runs). At my first ultrasound I was told I was having twins and couldn’t find much information about running in a multiple pregnancy. I decided to back off until I could see the specialist but there was a long (two month) wait. I found that at three months I was getting big already and my pelvic floor was quite uncomfortable even with upbeat walking! I continued to walk briskly for about an hour a day (which actually raised my heart rate to levels I could only get to by running pre-pregnancy). My specialist ended up being an “exercise in multiples” expert and he said I could run to my heart’s content but by that time I found it was just too uncomfortable. I got back into it after the twins were born in 2009 thanks to a double running stroller that all my best running girlfriends purchased for me. I had hoped to continue this into my second pregnancy but unfortunately my first trimester coincided with an appendectomy that cost a month and half in recovery time. It was very difficult getting back into running after that recovery while being three months pregnant. Kingston streets are not safe for pregnant runners in the winter, so I joined a gym and did run through the second trimester on a treadmill but not at any significant pace. For me, that’s frustrating. I took a break until baby #3 was about six months old and then started running about 5K a day with a neighbourhood group. That dissolved almost immediately when I became pregnant with #4 in 2012 because this time around I find I was bigger earlier, more tired generally (could be the three kids at home, or my new business that opened just before pregnancy) and that my body feels “stretched out”. I couldn’t keep up with the group any more so I gave up. In December (five months pregnant) I missed running so much that I joined a gym and have been giving the elliptical a try about two to three times a week, but it’s not easy working full-time and making time for my three kids AND fitting in a workout. I’ve been paying the gym to store my shoes since February 1st which I’m not happy about. This is more due to running my business than a lack of desire to run.

RW: Did you have any questions on running and pregnancy which you felt you couldn’t find enough good information to answer?

SG: See above! If I’d read a reliable source that said it was ok to run in a twin pregnancy I might have, but I was quite nervous and really needed to hear it from a specialist who was talking about my pregnancy specifically.

RW: How have you found running through pregnancy and how has it change throughout the trimesters?

SG: I haven’t found it possible for me personally to run through pregnancy since that first experience except for the first two to three months.

RW: Any big surprises or has running throughout basically played out as you’d expected?

SG: I didn’t think it would be such a challenge re: the soreness. Most of my friends have not had this experience. I’m surprised how hard it was to get back into it after baby #3: I trained for an ran a 5K race in just over 20 minutes and it felt like I’d just run sub 18. I’m a running addict and I’m surprised how easily I’ve put it off. I’m not surprised how much I miss it.

RW: Any good insights to others who may go through the same experience?

SG: As long as there’s no medical reason not to, stay active! Taking the breaks during pregnancy really killed my running because it’s really hard to re-start once you stop. Keep reading a good, motivating blog and contribute: even writing about this makes me ache to go to the gym!

RW: Any other anecdotes/experiences you want to share?

SG: Post pregnancy running can be equally challenging, especially during those days where you’re breastfeeding eight times a day! It’s a lot easier if you go into it as a fit pregnant woman, trust me. Despite the C-section recovery it was easier to get back into running after the twins because I’d stayed fit. I’m committed to running again after #4 but I’m not looking forward to the uphill climb after all this time off.

Thanks Ladies!

That’s all for now.  Bottom line: if you’re pregnant – keep running if you can.  Soon enough you’ll find yourself running after someone else and you’ll be drawing on all of your refined speed and endurance training to keep up!

Wipeouts

I guess it was only a matter of time in this freeze/thaw/icy weather while running in the dark.  It wasn’t that bad, but of course it happened as soon as I’d taken off my gloves because my hands were too hot (I know… What???)  And it was probably karma as I was cutting the corner of my very honest 9 mile route by running through The Beer Store parking lot (hmmm… wonder if there’s anything I can get from them here… KIDDING!)  Anyway, as I said, it wasn’t too bad, but of course it bruised my ego and shook me a bit.  You fall hard as an adult!  One year-olds make it look so easy.  I stopped my watch (of course!) did a body check and figured I was fine to go on.  Which I was.  Here was the biggest damage – asphalt stuck in my palm.

I’ll admit – not very dramatic.  So I’ll tell you that one time I broke my arm while running.  On a beautiful spring day in full daylight.  My feet got trapped in a newspaper tie.

All this to say, a fall is likely to happen at some point in your life as a runner, and in this weather especially.   When it does, make sure you’re really not injured before resuming your run.  Otherwise, you’ll have to find an alternative way home (I hopped on a streetcar when I broke my arm and the kind driver let me ride free in my bloody state).  In most likelihood your pride will end up more injured than anything else.

As a reminder that it happens to some of the best runners and that you can still carry on after a fall, check out this clip.  One of my favourite racing videos which gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70UF82nysIU]

That’s all for now – stay safe and carry on!

Snow Run

Just a quick update on my long run this a.m.  Just realized I only have one more (next week) before I need to start taking it down for the marathon.  This one was a bit more about quality than quantity.  I was going for 1hr 45 min, with the last 45 min being tempo.  As those of you living in the Toronto area know, we’ve just had a ridiculous snow storm with around 30 cm of freshly fallen, sporadically shoveled snow.  So I did my first 55 minutes outside, contending with hurdles at every sidewalk break.

Typical snowbank of which I scaled about 30+ in that 55 mins – Hip Flexors!!!

Normally I say under these conditions, it’s effort, not pace that matters, but I really couldn’t get a quality tempo effort in, so I ended my run with 50 minutes here:

I averaged 6:35 miles for 7 miles.  That’s the English Premiere League I was watching.  My gym had a very sparse selection of channels that early on a weekend morning, and the boy-band videos I was watching made me think I was more tired than I was and I realized they were making me want to stop.  Things got better when I switched to soccer.

Total: 16.5 miles

Next up: my interview with a good friend, very accomplished runner and super cool lady.  Check it out in the next post…

Motivation

It’s the second week of February – the deepest we can get into the depths of winter, and I find myself uncharacteristically unmotivated to run.  At least to run early and long and hard.  My last two mornings have been a struggle to wake up at 5, and on one day I actually didn’t and had to make-do with an emergency lunch time run from work.  I’m checking myself for all possible reasons:

  • Am I tired from my 70 mile week last week?
  • Am I unable to enjoy my runs anymore while struggling with windchill and freezing skin?
  • Am I still recovering from my lingering cold?
  • Am I … Bored???

Luckily I’ve had a few crutches to turn things around.  One was that my kids stayed at my in-laws last night, so my husband and I took the opportunity to go out.  Here’s some of what I had…

Very yummy.  I find when you indulge it allows you to recharge your batteries and ask more of yourself later.  You have to relax and be good to yourself sometimes.  If life is always testing your will power and limits then you won’t have a difference between “on” and “off” and it all becomes a slow grind.  Work hard, play hard.  They complement each other.

The other thing that helped was meeting my very loyal group for my Wednesday workout this morning.  I had to go earlier in order to get to an early breakfast meeting, but knowing they’d be there doing the same thing got me out the door at my planned time for the first time this week.

Here’s a look at them in action – Hills – (I’m so proud!!!)

(I apologize for the pics – I was a bit shaky from having just done 8×400 m hills at 5 a.m.!)

And this is me and my MOST loyal running buddy – at any time. My sister Tanis.  She tells me I’m crazy all the time but then shows up and gives ‘er and I’m always impressed.  Just LOOK how happy we are at 5 a.m. in -12C weather.  I can’t think of a better way to start the day.

SO, I’m hoping this little lull in motivation has been just a little lull and I’ve shaken myself out of it.  I have my alarm set for tomorrow morning – here’s hoping I get my stride back!

 

How do you keep yourself going when your motivation lags?  Any good tricks to share?

 

Long Run!

Ok, as per my last post, I realized I needed to get a few of these in, so I got out the door early on Saturday morning to see what ground I could cover in 2 hours (before a 9 a.m. ballet class for Thing 2).  It was colder than I’d thought when I shot out the door at 6:30.  I definitely under-dressed my hands as my dollar-store gloves didn’t cut it and I had to pull my jacket sleeves over my hands as best I could for most of the run.  Regardless, I tried to run what I thought was my regular pace, but I felt sort of numb for the entire second half and had a warped sense of how fast or slow I was going.  I had planned on doing my last 3 or 4 miles on the treadmill at my gym which is about a mile (or more like a K) from my house.  All I was thinking for the last few miles was “just get to the gym to warm up”.  My hands and feet were numb and my face was frozen.   Once at the gym I did 3 miles on the treadmill and didn’t event take off my tights or long sleeve shirt as I tried to warm up!  I made it back in the door with JUST enough time to shower and turn it around to get to the ballet class.  My running time:

Definitely a PB for the past few years in terms of time on my feet.   I g-mapped my route and discovered that with my 3 mile treadmill run I totaled 18 miles.  That’s an average of 7:03 min/miles.  Not bad, I guess.  That exact run would give me a 2:11 time at Around The Bay.  I want 2:00 (or preferably 1:59).  Work to do, but I guess I’m putting it in.  I have to think that a few more degrees would have netted me a few more minutes – no??

What did I do after my monster run?  My day entailed the said ballet class, a kid’s dentist appointment, a birthday party, grocery shopping, baking banana bread, a few loads of laundry, dinner prep, feeding and clean-up, kids’ bath and putting them to bed.  You BET I deserved my glass of wine tonight.

It was gone before I thought to document it.  Here’s my banana bread though.  It has chocolate chips in it 🙂

I enjoy long runs generally, but I enjoy them more when I’m not freezing and when I can kind of lie down for a bit afterwards.  Anyway, it felt good and I’m going to try for a 20 miler before the marathon.  Yikes!  Come ON weather…!!!!