It’s April? How did THAT happen?

I bet you have been wondering where I have been lately.

Well…

Honestly, I am trying to figure out how to get an extra 8 hours into my day. Apparently it is impossible.

imageI have the Calgary 50th Marathon Weekend coming up June first and to train for it has been a struggle. I am caught in that crazy cycle of too tired to train and need to train so I won’t be too tired. I KNOW you know what I mean.

So what am I doing about it? Well, my  new job has me on my feet all day – seriously all day and I walk tons. So that is great. I am also teaching a Learn to Run Class….but that doesn’t get me any serious miles. Tomorrow is my long run and I need to log 14km. Will I? Sure? I can visualize it. I know the route. I am reasonably certain I will do it.

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You know what I need? A new pair of Ghost 6. I am running in Brooks Pure Connects2 and its great for short distances but my muscles are just not strong enough to get me through a 14k with them. I will give it try though.

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Then guess what else I did?

I am hosting a 10k Trail Run in Emily Murphy Park! you can find the link to sign up here. and the details about the race here.

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Fly into Edmonton, I promise you a great race!

Oh…and then I did something else. (Clearly being finished University has given me some time to think of events to produce)

I am hosting a virtual run for Star Wars Fans, May the Fourth Be With You. It is a 5k, 10, or half marathon run that you do on your own time…hopefully May the 4th (Get it? May the Fourth? Force? Get it?). It costs $30 and if you are a Running Team member at DAWS you get 10% off. All proceeds from this race for to our Foundation Do Away With SMA. Come try it out. The medal is cool.

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What else is new? Well….I am running the Dumbo (a 10k and a half marathon) in Disneyland. I think you should join me for that too. That is bound to be fun.

But mean while…after my long run tomorrow, I will post some cityscapes and get back on track with my fitness. I need to be more accountable and I am just failing miserably. I need this for me.

Happy Running!

We have a Hulk!

The Edmonton Tourist:

DAWS is pre-selling bibs for the Avengers half marathon! Whaaaaat???

Originally posted on Do Away with SMA:

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That’s MY SECRET…DAWS is putting it’s name in the hat for 2014 Avenger Inaugural Half Marathon Bibs.

The Truth is… DAWS is shooting for charity bibs for the 2014 Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon at the Disneyland Resort.

We have been burdened with the Glorious Purpose…gunning for charity bibs for the Avengers Half Marathon.

How you might ask? Run Disney let’s charities sell bibs for the Inaugural 2014 Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. And…DAWS is putting it’s name in the hat for charity bibs for this race!!

If you’d like to run with us, let us know!!!

Runner Facts:

  • Each race bib for the Avengers Half marathon will be $285. This includes a 1 day/1 park ticket, taxes and race fees.
  • There is also a minimum 3-night hotel room accommodation attached to the race bib through Outlander Travel, our partner in this endeavor. Runners will need to arrange…

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My Olympic Training: Calgary 2014

As a kid I use to dream about being an Olympian. Not the kind of dream where I was an athlete and worked hard to advance so I could make the team. I was not THAT kid. I was the kid who would slide down a hill on my toboggan or Crazy Carpet and pretend that I was in Bobsled or Luge. I would skate at the local rink, flooded Tennis courts for non-hockey skaters and Hockey rink for those with a stick and puck. I would skate on either ice depending how I felt that night. My brother was always goalie and sometimes I was Karen Magneson – my Women’s Singles Figure Skating hero. I was never a good enough skier to fantasize about winning, I was too busy trying not to fall, but before bed every night, I would play out the role of winning a medal.

The closest I have ever come to playing out that fantasy is through running. It isn’t because I am a fast runner who wins my age division, don’t make me laugh. It is because of the participation factor and the opportunity to earn a medal at the finish.

If you have never had the chance to run/walk across the finish and have a medal placed around your neck, I recommend you give it a try. There is something very satisfying about training and the then completing an event. Lots of people I know, don’t care about the hardware. I have mine strung up on my office wall. It isn’t about winning, it is about the hard work and effort it takes to EARN them.

I had a conversation not that long ago with an employee. She had asked my opinion as a former educator about creating an even field where everyone gets a “good job” or everyone gets a valentine. Those two questions for me were separate, but not for her.

Everyone receiving a Valentine is important in life. Why? Social skills are how you navigate through life. If you cannot be kind to people for the sake of being kind, then your future home/career life will be very hard indeed. You don’t have to like everyone, but being kind and polite will get you far in this world. It’s about effort.

Effort in social skills and accomplishments is important. That old adage, Do your Best, isn’t just words, its meaning full.

I don’t think you should get a medal or a gold star for just breathing. I think effort needs to be applied. What do I mean by effort? That person needs to do their best work/job/attempt. There needs to show movement towards achieving more than they achieved yesterday. For example: I have set goals to achieve a faster km/min time with my running. I am doing the cadence and stair work recommended by my coach. I will still not be the fast group in the Calgary Marathon, so does that mean I am not deserving of a medal if I am able to cross the finish line? It isn’t like I am not trying, get swept and still expect a medal at the end. Cross the line one goal, Cross the line with a PR is another goal and being able to walk normally the next day is another goal.

To achieve this, I am doing speed work and distance work. I am also doing wall sits, planks, push ups and various other work to make my core strong. I also am focusing on nutrition.

I am realistic in my goals and know I will not win the first place age division. So does that mean I am not worthy of a “great job Robyn!”? The gal I was talking to said, ‘the world sets up for false expectations.” Does it really?

I think the world is a tough place and things need to be earned. There are consequences to actions. Great Effort = Great Rewards. Some people argue not always, but I disagree. You just may not see or acknowledge the reward.

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I ran three sets of stairs every time I passed a set on my run yesterday. I ran up and down each step except the last step, those led me to the top and yet I was still at the bottom of a hill, so I ran the hill too. My backside and hamstrings are feeling it today, but I was rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment. I celebrated with my coach and gave Hoff a big hug when I saw him. Did I win? No, of course not. My chapter 2 is not Ting’s Chapter 37. Ting is an amazing runner and is faster than I will likely ever be. He is also 20 years younger than I and has been running years longer than I. However, My Chapter 2 of my story is better than my Chapter 1. I am progressing and I am pretty happy about that. I try not to measure my success against others. Perhaps being 46 years old is the reason I don’t need to. I am secure in myself and focused on my own goals, I don’t need to worry about anyone else. I am competitive enough with myself, so beating my old time or distance is enough of a win for me.

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I was taught to do my best, and my best I did.

Calgary will be my Olympics and I am pretty excited about it.

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Cadence work and knee testing = confidence building

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I signed up for Disney’s Dumbo Double Dare. A 10k and a 21.1k back to back on the hottest weekend of the year.

Why? I want to prove to myself that I can be fast enough to run a half marathon at a Disney race. I hover around the end. There is a risk of being swept. And mostly, I need to over come my fear of running.

Fear of running you ask?

Since I slipped on those damn cups in Walt Disney World and injured myself, I have had an irrational fear of running.

I have 9 races this year, 2 half marathons and a bunch of 10kms. I need to get back in the saddle so to speak.

I have been talking with my speed coach Hoff. He is the 10k instructor at the Running room and great friend of mine. We have been talking about my goals for this year. I didn’t really have any targeted goals, just distance. I can do the distance but I want to increase my speed and lengthen my stride. I am not suppose to worry about either because it will come. I disagree. It won’t happen unless I put the work in.

That is where Hoff came in with some great advice. He suggested I do cadence work.

Huh?

I am supposed to run and warm up, feel comfortable then do a one minute interval where I count my left foot strikes. My first interval was 64.

Okay, Hoff, I did that. Then I ran without counting for a while and then did another interval, I counted 74. I did 10 more intervals and peaked at 85. I found I was averaging between 74 and 75 left foot strikes.

So what does this mean?

Every week I will attempt to increase my average cadence and peak out at over 85. This is supposed to help make me faster, increase my focus and he told me whenever I feel sluggish, start counting. It will increase my speed and take my focus away from pain and drudgery.

My goal is to peak out at 100. This will apparently help with my stride and speed over the long haul. It is the same as a fartlik except I have a different focus. This seems to work better for me and my OCD mind. I am interested in seeing how this will affect my running over the long term.

Friday, Hoff has me running stairs instead of hills. Hills will come later, meanwhile stairs will strengthen my hams and force my legs up higher than when I run hills. Also making my stride longer and stronger.

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I visualize myself crossing finish lines with time goals on the clock. This is new for me. Quite frankly, having a new focus invigorates me.

Thanks Hoff.

Happy Running!

Suddenly it was a lifestyle

39176_413620261539_5541464_nRemember way back when?? 2011 when I made the decision to move forward and change my lifestyle, I had hoped it would stick. It has taken me longer than I wanted but I haven’t gone back to that dark place where the weight piles on.

I am still losing weight.

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Shocking given my lack of focus, however, I have certain habits now that are healthy ones that haven changed. So that alone is what has seen me lose 7lbs in the month of January.

Cool.

Sure I went out for a lavish dinner when I was in WDW and had an appetizer, main dish, AND a dessert – along with 3/4 of a bottle of wine. My dinning partner had some of the bottle but was also indulging in other libations that were present at the start of dinner. I ate a churro, a couple of cookies and other than that, nothing outrageous. Why? I think food doesn’t hold that same appeal that it used to. I no longer think of food as a ‘treat’ or a ‘reward’. But I do enjoy it and make sure the calories are worthwhile. I am often heard asking “Is it worth the calories?” Dinner at the California Grill was a resounding YES, dinner at Captain Cooks? Not so much – so I played it safe, move vegetables less bread.

I was asked again recently how am I doing it? To be honest – I am not sure because I haven’t recorded my calories in a long while and I over indulged in sweet over Christmas and that is always hard because it is hard to ween yourself off of sweets – at least it is for me.

I do have a list of things I always do out of habit now. This makes it easier to cope. These are things my nutritionist encouraged me to do.

1. Weigh yourself once a week. Weight will fluctuate 7lbs in a week. Seems like a lot. But female cycles, water retention for too much sodium or not moving enough for a few days can really make a difference. any more than 5lbs is a warning to me to be more conscious about what I put into my mouth.

2. Keep track of your daily movement. I sucked at this until I go a Polar Loop. I lost about a dozen pedometers. The loop stays on my wrist and converts all movement to steps for me. I started out with a baseline and increase it by 10% per week.  When I was in WDW I was doing 37 thousand steps on average. That is 3x my goal. Pretty sure that is why it was okay with me eating a little more than normal – I was hungry and for good reason.

3. Eat enough protein. Protein keeps me from craving carbs. Who would rather eat a loaf of break than a steak? Well, I would, but by making sure I get enough grams of protein every day – I can reduce the carbs in my life. I no linger have them with dinner. I do at breakfast and lunch – lets face it, your body needs carbs. It is a quick energy and if you choose wisely, it will be good for you too. But protein feeds the muscles I am building and keeps me fuller…longer. The longer is good because my new job prevents me from snacking. This is good AND bad. Eating every 2 hours – smaller meals – is ideal for me. however, circumstances prevent me from achieving this. But I do get to drink more water than before. That is good.

4. Drink water. Don’t drink it all at once. spread it out during the day. Stop drinking your calories. This includes Juice, sugary drinks, frothy sweet coffees and smoothies. I admit to drinking alcohol. I enjoy wine and beer and scotch and rum, but not every day AND not binge drinking on weekends. If it doesn’t enhance my experience than I don’t drink it. So Alcohol is a rare beverage for me.

5. Eat different food every day. This shakes up your metabolism and keeps it cooking. Sure it is easy to eat cereal every day of your like. But changing it up keeps your body from becoming complacent. This is important. AND EAT more not less. Starving yourself and keeping yourself hungry puts your metabolism into survival mode. Not cool. You don’t want it saving your fat, you want it to USE your fat. Because quite frankly, you aren’t using it for anything useful anyways.

5. Don’t eat 2 hours before bed time. Breakfast is called Break-FAst meaning you fast all night and brake the fast by eating breakfast. The 2 hour window is because that is how long it takes your body to typically digest your dinner.

6. Don’t skip meals. This makes you binge eat at a later time of the day. Not helpful.

7. Are you hungry? Are you really? Do you know where you are hungry? Odd question for some. I get hungry in my mouth. This means I need oral stimulation – quiet from the peanut gallery thanks. Gum or a mint helps, so does drinking water through a straw. I don’t know why, but it does. I also get heart hungry. Anger, sadness, broken heart will have me in search of food to feel that deep chasm. I now make myself sit in my emotions and feel it. It doesn’t last long and then its over. Numbing it with food just made me this fat in the first place. Hungry in the tummy? There you go! EAT! Never feel shame about eating. Eating is good for you if you eat for hunger. It is fuel.

Remember Food is Fuel not Therapy and you will make out just fine.

Meanwhile, I hope to lose another 50lbs this year. 7 down and 43 to go. Totally doable because it is now my lifestyle.

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3 letters no one wants to hear: DNF

This is the most painful post I have ever had to write.

I DNF the Donald Half Marathon and it hurts.

So why do I just not ignore it, but instead tell the world about it?

Well… I have always maintained that this forum is for me. It is a record of my achievements and failures. It keeps me accountable and provides an opportunity for growth.

I woke up half marathon morning scared. I mean TERRIFIED. it is something I have never experienced before. I realize now that anxious, nervous and apprehensive are not fear. Fear is a completely different emotion.

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I felt out of my element. I was not ready and worst of all, I was going it alone. I didn’t let myself rely on my team or friends.

I walked to the bus pick-up at my resort and boarded the bus with 70 other would be half marathon finishers at 3:00AM. We traveled together in the dark and sat in somber silence.

When I arrived at the EPCOT parking lot, I searched out my team and felt sick. Sick from fear, sick from apprehension and sick from aloneness. How can you be in a crowd of people you like and be alone? Good question but we have all been there and I cannot explain it. This was my first major race – I don’t count the local races because the volume of people just was not the same. Never before in my life had I run with 29 000 other people. For a girl who does not like crowds, this was intimidating.

I approached my team and the first person to catch my eye was Mitch. Relief flowed though my veins. I saw  Brian and we hugged like long lost friends…wait… we are. Teammates that I had knew but never meet before came and hugged me or chatted, photos were taken and jokes were told and the fear in my belly eased.

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We stood around for a long while before the long march to the corrals began. I was hot – too hot for a night race, the temperatures were typically what I finish my Sunday morning runs at. The humidity was high and my hair was a mass of curls. The mile walk to my corral (I kid you not – it was FAR) was lonely. I was the only one I knew. Other teams were floating around me, but I knew not a soul, nor was I in the head space to make friends like I did the previous morning.

I stood in corral P, the last one. 80 minutes away from the first corral. I remembered what Happy told me about standing – DON’T. So I sat amongst the thousands of people standing. Slowly we made our way to our start. The runners from the first corral were making their way to the finish by now. Soon there would be a winner and we hadn’t even begun.

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Donald Duck and Rudy Novotny sent us off. The crowd rushed forward. Soon I found myself in the middle of the pack. Not last, which was a surprise for me, but middle. My knee was throbbing from my run the day before when I had slipped on the uneven surface. I figured at this point I would be in agony by mile 12. However, at no point did I think I would get there.

We ran past Jack Sparrow and the Pirate ship out on the highway, We ran past puppets and birds and bands, we ran past first aid spots of chaff fixing stations and then we ran through the gates to the Magic Kingdom Parking lot. I was getting  closer to the Castle, my goal for the first part of this race. I ran for a while with the Team in Training Coach. Her calm quiet words soothed me as we approached the mile 3 water station. 3 miles in and I was on target. I was well ahead of the sweepers and I was feeling good except for the throb of my knee. I knew how to mentally block that feeling so I was good to see this thing to the end. I let myself think about seeing Mitch, Brian and my girl in Magic kingdom. I was excited to hear the cheers of people on Main Street.

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As I approached the water station I was shocked at the amount of cups on the road. I kid you not, it was ankle deep. To make matters worse, it was a Power Aid station. The road was slick with water from rain that night and greasy from spilled power aid, the waxy cups on the ground added to the complicated nature of navigating across. I wasn’t as careful as I should have been. Me, the girl who runs on ice, knew this would be fine.

I was wrong.

Half way through the station I lost my footing and slipped. I turned my knee in such a way I was sure I would puke from pain. I walked through the rest of the station, took a deep breath and kept moving forward – which is after all Walt Disney’s famous quote – KEEP MOVING FORWARD. So I did. I started to run again.

With the water station behind me and the 5k marker ahead, I felt my knee cry out in pain be very step of the way. As I rounded the bend in the road to cross the 5k mark, I heard the words of Mike Scopa from Mickey Miles Podcast come back to me. He had injured himself before and kept running with big regrets. I had a week of work ahead of me and I don’t get to sit – how was I going to manage? 3 more strides and I knew I was done. The pain was getting worse. I crossed the 5k mark and stopped. Shoulders slumped and a defeated air over took me.

I hobbled over the the van at the 5 k and told him I needed medical. He pointed up the road and said its 1 1/2 miles that way. I replied with a “I will never make it. I am sure I blew out me knee”.

He was on the radio and in 5 minutes a brigade of first aid cyclers pulled up. One gal talked so calm and kind to me that I just started to cry. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. The disappointment from pulling yourself out from a race was more than I could bear. Even now writing this I am crying.

They asked me questions and and I told the I had tore my MCL before and knew I had done it again. The pain was the same – only this time I knew what it was. They wrapped my knee and asked if I could walk to the van. I said yes but when I actually began to move – I couldn’t get my leg to cooperate. How did I get from the water station to the 5k mark? I had heavy assistance climbing into the van.

The door shut and there was my journey done.

My dream of “One Day – running the Donald was over”

They drove me back to the finish line where the medical tent was. We had picked up people along the way – people who were swept because they were too slow. They were happy and pleased with their performance and there was me – sitting in pity and trying not to cry.

At the medical tent, everyone piled out before me and then people climbed in to asses my knee. I knew what was wrong, I explained what I was feeling and I told them what I needed. Aside from a hug – I needed ice and help out of the van. Stairs appeared and many hands helped me out and over to the bench where a medical personal assessed  further. He wrapped my knee with ice, taped my knee up and gave me water. As we sat there talking and deciding what to do next, a medal appeared around my neck.

I asked what this was for and the gal whispered into my ear “This medal is not for crossing the finish line, it is for the miles and hard work you put into before you even arrived here. It is for the pain and suffering you endured. You earned this as if you crossed the finish line. Wear it with pride.”

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Then I began to cry like my heart was broken. Pain more sever than the MCL injury. Ego is a tough thing to over come.

I made it back to my room, showered and iced my knee some more, took meds and limped over to meet my team. By the end of the day – I had enough hugs and support to feel better until the last one. We were parting ways until later that night when one member wrapped me up and hugged me hard – once again I cried from disappointment but comforted by his understanding. Mitch let me lean on his shoulder and use it in a way I had never relied on anyone before. I needed that sympathy and understanding. Once that was done, I felt better. It no longer mattered that I didn’t finish. It was over and I could move on.

For the first time I allowed myself to feel the disappointment instead of mask it. Feeling it let me move on quickly and look forward to the rest of the weekend. What a huge difference it made.

A week later with some distance behind me, I find I am feeling a bit scared to run. This tells me my knee isn’t ready. It will be soon and I have registered for the next race. I need to have a run with an excellent outcome, I am ready for some good.

Meanwhile, I love my team. Thanks you guys.

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So I ran a little race called the Minnie…

Originally posted on Me and Mo:

I am back from a whirlwind of activity at the WDW Marathon Weekend.

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I have no words, except it was more than I expected and more fun than I thought possible and bizarre in ways I cannot explain – but all great holidays are like that!

It started off with Toronto. My flight was cancelled because of cold. Whatever, the rest of Canada can function in -40 or colder and with WAY MORE SNOW – but somehow, Toronto needs to shut the airport down and cancel all flights, stack everyone’s luggage like cord wood and close its doors. Suffice it to say, I obviously have no idea how things are run – but I DO know taking 24 hours to Orlando sucked. It meant that I had to miss the 5k, that meant ChatterBox had to miss her ONLY RACE.

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That was very disappointing but my pal Mitch was…

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